History. It brings back memories of dry accounts from high-school text books of dates, wars, and acts of Congress. Booooring! It always seemed that whoever wrote these narratives left out the story in his-story.
Elementary school didn’t seem this way; maybe because I had the help of historical fiction to prime my imagination. I thoroughly enjoyed the adventures of everyday life in the Little House on the Prairie books. Like a base coat of paint, the series prepped my mind to receive additional information about the time, place, people and events. I was prompted to ask questions of the period and my own family’s adventure to the U.S. in their horse-powered wagon.
Historical fiction doesn’t necessarily account every all-important event of the time, but it does place a character in a setting that makes the period come alive. Through a character’s perspective I sense the attitudes of the period. By caring for the characters, I have a better understanding of how events changed lives and affect us currently.
Unfortunately, I can’t take history from a book very well. Fortunately, history can be told through other mediums such as documentaries, film and museum exhibitions. And, fortunately I love a good story, which for me, is still a good primer for inquiring about important historical events.
by Veronica Walsh, children’s book illustrator