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Transcript of Historical Fiction
February 20, 2014
What is Historical Fiction
Historical Fiction are stories used to draw the reader into the past. The story is fictional but based on real life events. Giving the reader the ability to feel what the characters are feeling, be drawn into the drama, and relate to the setting.
Setting: Most important element.
Time: Authentic period in history.
Place: Real historical location
Conflict/Dilemma: Characters are involved in a realist situation for the given time period.
Characters: Characters may be fictional or mixed with real characters. Characters are portrayed realistically making the readers believe they are real.
Dialogue: Language used should be appropriate for given time period.
Description: Vivid descriptions of the characters, events, and setting. The author should explain historical information.
Plot: Based on real events mixed with fictional events. Should make sense for the time period.
Theme: Universal human themes. Examples include:
Accuracy: Should be accurate for the time period without distortion.
Types of Historical Fiction
Fictionalized Family Stories
Fictionalized Stories Based on Research
Based on the author's memories. An example includes:
The Book Thief
By, Marcus Zusak
Real stories passed through family generations. An example includes:
Sara, Plain and Tall
By, Patricia MacLachlan
Stories written based on people from earlier times. An example includes:
By, Milton Meltzer
Well Known Authors
Patricia Reilly Giff
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Suzanne Fisher Staples
A Boy Called Dickens
Publisher and Date
Suggested Age Group
John Hendrix (Illustration)
Schwartz & Wade Books - New York
Picture Book - Historical Fiction
Ages 4 through 9
A Boy Called Dickens is based on real incidents of a great novelist Charles Dickens. Hopkins (2012) stated, "Narrates the tale of twelve-year-old Charles Dickens who, despite poverty and long hours of factory work, still has time to discover and share the stories of other residents of 1824 London"(p. 1).
Applying The Characteristics
A 12-year-old boy named Dickens is living in poverty in old London alone. His family is in jail because they could not pay money back. Although he works 10 hour days at Warren's blacking factory, he does not give up on his passion for stories. He creates his own stories of people he knows and tells them to other boys. Charles Dickens grows up to be on the greatest novelists.
1824 - London, England
Third Person Narrated
A 12-year-old boy who yearns for books and aspires to be an author lives in poverty in London and works long hours at the blackening factory.
Charles Dickens(young) - Portrays the novelist Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
Foreman at the factory
Charles Dickens (father)
Follow your dreams
London - old, foggy, silent, cold, gray.
Streets are crowded with pick pockets, ladies, old men, young gentlemen, proud girls, lawyers, clerks, and shop keepers.
Thames River - thick and black.
Dickens - skinny, young, patched jacket.
"Historical Fiction must first tell an engaging story, have rounded, complex characters with whom children can identify, and impart a universal theme that is worthy and thought provoking without being didactic" (Lynh-Brown & Tomilinson, 2008, "Chapter 9, Evaluation and Selection of Historical Fiction").
When Choosing a Historical Fiction Book
Ask Yourself These Questions
Can you tell fact and fiction apart?
Looking at the author's note, can you find what sources were used?
Do the characters make the readers feel connected?
Is there a significant theme?
How smoothly is the historical setting and events applied to the story?
Are the details vivid and authentic?
Lynh-Brown, C., & Tomilinson, C.M. (2008). Essentials of Children's Literature. Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database.
Mitchell, D., Waterbury, P., & Casement, R. (2003). Children's Literature. An Invitation to the World. Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database.
Hopkinson, D. (2012). A Boy Called Dickens. New York, NY: Schwartz & Wade Books