The word ‘history’ contains the word ‘story’, and as Rudyard Kipling once said, “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.”
I agree. Consider these historical facts:
• Back in Shakespeare’s day, plays had to be written out by hand.
• Before the Civil War, abolitionists helped American slaves escape to Canada.
• In WW II Germany, children in the Hitler Youth movement were encouraged to spy on their own parents.
Books like The Shakespeare Stealer and Shakespeare’s Scribe (Gary L. Blackwood), Underground To Canada (Barbara Smucker ) and Behind The Bedroom Wall (Laura E. Williams) bring these facts to life and make them memorable. So do picture books like Will’s Quill (Don Freeman) Henry’s Freedom Box (Ellen Levine) and Best Friends (Elisabeth Reuter) which cover the same topics.
From time to time, I’ll be recommending books that encourage children to absorb history through historical fiction.