If you are a historical fiction reader, then we’ve got some essentials for your archetype. Today, we created The Historical Fiction Reader Starter Pack that either you can identify with, or will help you to spot other historical fiction readers from a mile away!
You Read Number the Stars in Elementary or Middle School
Number the Stars is one of the first historical fiction books that many kids read in school. The story was written in 1989 by Lois Lowry, and it earned the Newbery Medal in 1990.
In the story, Annemarie Johansen and her Jewish best friend, Ellen Rosen, are living in Copenhagen when the Nazi occupation begins. The year is 1943 and Jewish people all around Europe are being forcibly sent to concentration camps. Ellen’s family flees Denmark and leaves Ellen to be protected by the Johansen family at all costs.
Number the Stars is a beautifully written story about the terror of World War II and the Holocaust, and it is a common book that has sparked many young readers’ interest in historical fiction as a genre.
THE HOLY TRINITY OF WORLD WAR II NOVELS
Chances are, you have read at least one of these best-selling historical fiction novels set during World War II.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is about Marie-Laure, a blind girl living in Paris as her father works at the Museum of Natural History. The Nazi occupation of France begins, causing Marie and her father to move to Saint-Malo carrying with them an important jewel from the museum. Following a parallel storyline in Germany, Werner is a technologically savvy orphan whose skill earns him a position to work for the Nazis and track the resistance to their occupation. Undeceived by the role that the Nazi’s play in the war, Warner begins a path to see the war for himself, which is also where he crosses paths with Marie.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah starts in France near the beginning of World War II. Vianne’s husband, Antoine, departs to fight along the Western Front. When the Nazis invade France, Vianne attempts to keep her family safe as they try to occupy her home. The story also follows Isabelle, Vianne’s younger sister, who falls madly in love with a French partisan. As Isabelle joins the French resistance, she becomes a target for Nazi intelligence. The Nightingale is a novel that gives the perspective of the life that women faced on the home front, a perspective that is more recently getting the attention it deserves.
The Book Thief is a widely popular historical fiction novel by Markus Zusak that is narrated by Death. The story follows Liesel in Nazi Germany after the death of her younger brother. Liesel lives with a foster family which is where her love for stealing and reading banned books begins. As World War II worsens, Liesel starts to understand the terrible actions of the Nazi regime as her foster family hides a Jewish man in their basement. Throughout the entire story, Death weaves its way in and out of Liesel’s life.
GOOGLE AND WIKIPEDIA ARE YOUR BEST FRIENDS
Though being a historical fiction reader can make you feel like you know it all, it’s okay to admit that there are some times when the author assumes we have enough background knowledge when we quite literally do not. Depending on the historical period that you are reading about, you might not know the historical context for the book. No need to worry because you have two wonderful best friends that can tell you anything you need to know: Google and Wikipedia.
Google and Wikipedia are great sources to give you an overview of the topic at hand, and they might even help to see if the author did their research when writing their book.
NORMAL TEXTBOOKS ARE BEYOND BORING!
Being spoiled by the vivacious pages of fully developed characters and unpredictable storylines can make it difficult to read those 40 pages in your history textbook. Though there are some age-old plot twists and people most definitely worth discussing in textbooks, there are very rarely favorite book tropes.
The tiny fonts, the boring language, the lack of pictures, please add a love triangle or something to help us get through the pages!
Featured image via 17thstreet.net