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by Archaeology Newsroom

Reflections on historical fiction for children

This article examines the problems, endemic to historical fiction for children. Historical fiction is often used by teachers as a vehicle for escaping from the routine of teaching history in the traditional way. The Time factor. The present time is the basic temporal point of reference to a child. By teaching the past we ask children to realise and define their position in connection with the present time of their personal history and the succession of the periods of the past. Consequently, fictional time must appear as a whole so that the reader would be able to recognize through the perennial evolution of history certain elements of himself and of his time. The Historic Quality of Historical Fiction. A multitude of anachronisms have been recorded in the content of historical fiction for children. These anachronisms have not usually to do with the wrong incorporation of historic data within a certain period, but they are “distortions” in portraying human types of the past. History is used as scenery in which people of the past move about with feelings and attitudes belonging to the present. The restoration and representation of a historic period requires the knowledge and conclusions of other related sciences; only then can the socio-economic relations, behaviour and psychology of the people who lived at a certain time in the past be correctly evaluated and represented without distortion or misunderstanding.