Historical Fiction Picture Books
The Tensions Between Genre and Format
Historical fiction picture books represent a small subset of titles in the broader scope of the format. However, these books are important to both readers and educators. As books are used in educational settings it is critical to assess their effectiveness in helping teach children. This is especially true of historical fiction which generates its own unique challenges. To deeply assess historical fiction picture books we gathered and analyzed a sampling of 126 titles to assess trends in the genre. We found that there were multiple conflicts between the genre and format. There were many books in the sample that struggled with directing the content to a young audience, giving a accurate portrayal of race issues, and maintaining general authenticity and accuracy in the writing. There were also some notable examples of historical picture books that did not display these faults, showing that with the right content and approach, historical fiction picture books have the potential to be invaluable tools for teaching children.
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