Historical Fiction Picture Books

The Tensions Between Genre and Format

  • Rachel Lynn Wadham Brigham Young University
  • Andrew P. Garrett Garrett Brigham Young University
  • Emily N. Garrett Brigham Young University
Keywords: Historical Fiction; Picture Books; Literary Analysis

Abstract

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.

References

References

Balit, C. (2003). Escape from Pompeii. New York: Henry Holt and Company.

Bodren, L. (2006). Across the Blue Pacific. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Brown, J. (1998). Historical fiction or fictionalized history? Problems for writers of historical novels for young adults. ALAN Review, 26(1), 7-11.

Bruner, K. E. (1988). Stereotypes in juvenile historical fiction. School Library Journal, 35(1), 124.

Carver, N. L. (1988). Stereotypes of American Indians in adolescent literature. English Journal, 77(5), 25-32.

Corey, S. (2002). Milly and the Macy’s parade. New York: Scholastic Press.

Courtot, M. (2009). [Review of Back of the Bus by A. Reynolds]. Children's Literature, Retrieved from The Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database.

Cowling, D. (2002). Hallelujah Handel. New York, NY: Scholastic Press.

Edmonds, L. (1986). The treatment of race in picture books for young children. Book Research Quarterly, 2(3), 30-41.

Egan, K. (1982). Teaching history to young children. Phi Delta Kappan, 63(7), 439-41.

Freeman, E. B. & Levstik, L. (1988). Recreating the past: Historical fiction in the social studies curriculum. The Elementary School Journal, 88(4), 329-337.

Gilbert, L. (2014). "Don't be uneasy, my children": Finding strength in stories of the enslaved. Social Studies and the Young Learner, 27(2), 18-21.

Greengrass, L. (1998) [Review of The Bus Ride by W. Miller]. School Library Journal, 44(10), Retrieved from Academic Search Premier.

Hall, D. (1979). Ox-Cart Man. New York: The Viking Press.

Harms, J. & Lettow,L. (1994). Criteria for selecting picture books with historical settings. Social Education, 58(3), 152-154.

Howell, J. (2014). Popularising history: The use of historical fiction with pre-service teachers. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 39(12), n.p.

Kent, P. (1997). Quest for the west: In search of gold. Brookfield, CT: The Millbrook Press.

Kiefer, B. Hepler, S. & Hickman, J. (2007). Charlotte Huck’s children’s literature. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Logan, C. (2002). The 5,000-Year-Old Puzzle. New York: Melanie Kroupa Books

Lysaker, J. & Sedberry, T. (2015). Reading difference: Picture books retellings as contexts for exploring personal meanings of race and culture. Literacy, 49(2), 105-111.

Miller, W. (1998). The bus ride. New York: Lee & Low Books, Inc.

Ransom C. F. (2000). Danger at sand cave. Minneapolis, MN: Carolrhoda Books, Inc.

[Review of Across the Blue Pacific by L. Bodren]. (2006). In Publishers Weekly, 253(22), Retrieved from The Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database.

[Review of Escape from Pompeii by C. Balit]. (2003). In Kirkus, 19, Retrieved from The Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database.

[Review of Hallelujah Handel by D. Cowling]. (2003). In Kirkus, 20, Retrieved from The Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database.

Reynolds, A. (2010). Back of the bus. New York: Philomel Books.

Rochman, H. (2010). [Review of Benno And the Night of Broken Glass by M. Wivott]. Booklist, 106(17), Retrieved from The Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database.

Rochman, H. (2004). [Review of Mississippi Morning by R. V. Zee]. Booklist, 101(4), Retrieved from The Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database.

Rochman, H. (2001). [Review of The Other Side by J. Woodson]. Booklist, 97(12), Retrieved from Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database.

Rycik, M. T. & Rosler, B. (2009). The return of historical fiction. Reading Teacher, 63(2), 163-166.

Short, K. G. (2012). Story as world making. Language Arts, 90(1), 9-17.

Sonderling, E. (1997). A knock at the door. Austin, TX: Steck-Vaughn Company.

Youngs, S. & Serafini, F. (2011). Comprehension strategies for reading historical fiction picturebooks. Reading Teacher, 65(2), 115-124.

Weisman, K . (1997) [Review of Quest for the West: In Search of Gold by P. Kent]. Booklist, 94(7), Retrieved from The Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database.

Wivott, M. (2010). Benno and the Night of Broken Glass. Minneapolis, MN: Kar-Ben Publishing.

Woodson, J. (2001). The Other Side. New York, NY: G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

Zee, R. V. (2004). Mississippi Morning. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.
Published
2019-06-27
How to Cite
Wadham, R., Garrett, A., & Garrett, E. (2019). Historical Fiction Picture Books. Journal of Culture and Values in Education, 2(2), 57-72. Retrieved from https://cultureandvalues.org/index.php/JCV/article/view/38

Most read articles by the same author(s)

Obs.: This plugin requires at least one statistics/report plugin to be enabled. If your statistics plugins provide more than one metric then please also select a main metric on the admin's site settings page and/or on the journal manager's settings pages.