Over the past few years, I’ve noticed that the world history courses taught in school have been getting broader and broader in their scope. Far from focusing mainly on Europe, classes now delve into Asia, Africa, and Latin America, among other regions. On the one hand, I suppose this is a good thing, since it gives a truly global history rather than just a history of the West. On the other hand, though, with so many places and times to cover, no region or period is studied very thoroughly.
That’s where history and historical fiction titles come in. The books we write can help to feed curiosity that may go unsatisfied in a class that’s moving too quickly to go in-depth on any one topic. Perhaps a child’s world history class spends only two or three days on the Aztecs—but if that child is intrigued and hungry for more, she can go to the library, check out a stack of books, and read about the topic to her heart’s content. And who knows? Maybe what she reads about the Aztecs will spark her interest in other pre-Columbian civilizations in the Americas, and she’ll check out more books to learn about the Incas and the Olmecs and the Maya.
Satisfying curiosity. Sparking interest in a new topic. Giving children the history they can’t learn just from a textbook. That’s what those of us who write history and historical fiction for children do, and I’m constantly amazed by what our books can do.
Do you agree that good historical titles can feed a child’s curiosity or encourage a new interest? What are some other things that historical fiction for children can do?
Melissa L. is the YA Editorial Assistant for Wonders and Marvels. You can read more about her here: Editorial Staff.