Saturday, October 25, 2014

Historical Fiction

Curtis, C.P. (1995). The Watsons go to Birmingham-1963. NY: Delacorte.

In 1963, ten year old Kenny and his family, the weird Watson’s, take off on a family road trip to Alabama. As the family travels to the deep-south, Kenny begins to hear the adults whispering about the scary events taking place to discourage those involved in the civil rights movement.  Even though his family tries to shelter Kenny and his brother and sister from the tragic events, the nightmare is suddenly brought straight to them. They are instantly put in the middle of a devastating event. Though many young readers may not fully understand the civil rights movement, they will identify with the family dynamics between Kenny and his siblings. The family interactions are very realistic for the time and place of this story. We slowly find out about the events taking place in the south during this time, though it is not at the forefront of the story.  The struggles Kenny goes through after witnessing a tragic event that directly impacted his family, shows us how a child might struggle with suddenly being thrust into a real-world situation and learning that life is sometimes dangerous and not always fair.
Great Resources:
Schlitz, L. A. (2007). Good Masters, Sweet Ladies. Boston: Candlewick Press.
For the children living in medieval England in the year 1255, life is not easy.  From the lord’s nephew to Giles, the beggar, this book shows the way of life at the manor.  Through monologues and dialogues that use language appropriate for the times, the way of life is slowly unraveled. As readers, we are not overwhelmed with many details and the circumstances of life at the manor, but we are quickly made aware of the way of life and the typical struggles for the time period. We quickly realize that it doesn’t matter what station in life the character was born into, there are struggles for each of them. The dialect and language of the times paints an honest picture of the way of life, but doesn’t overwhelm the reader and make it hard to understand. Historical details and background information are given to make the reader comfortable with the text and the time period.
Great resources:


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