“The genre of historical fiction in the field of children’s literature includes stories that are written to portray a time period or convey information about a specific time period or an historical event” (ReadThinkWrite).
"Imagine standing next to George Washington as he crossed the Delaware, able to feel the December chill and fear the ice flows in the river. The purpose of historical fiction is to breathe life into such events so that they are more than facts on the page. It gives personality to portraits and depth to the lives of everyday people. Historical fiction is categorized as taking place more than 50 years in the past and based on research rather than the personal experiences of the author. It also must capture the spirit of a bygone era and not use historical settings to explore contemporry issues or ideas." (John Brigss, eHow Contributor)
Characteristics of Historical Fiction
1. Accurate historical detail relating to the setting (geography, customs, beliefs, culture, society, habits) as well as to characters and events.
2. Characters may be real or fictional, but are portrayed in such a way that they fit the times. Their lives and actions are shaped by historical times and details, not vice versa.
3. Story lines may focus on a particular historical event or time period or they may follow the life of a character. Novels may raise difficult social or moral issues through the plot. (Saricks 82)
Criteria/Guidelines for Selecting Historical Fiction Books
1. The historical facts must be correct and true without being overbearing to the story.
2. The dialogue, thoughts, actions, and motivations of the characters must be true to the time period of the story.
3. The setting, characters, plot, mood, word choice, and themes need to be interesting to keep the attention of young readers. (Scholastic)