Laura's Blog

The Power of Historical Fiction for Teens

February 27, 2018

I’m getting so excited about the NoVA Teen Book Festival on March 10th—so many wonderful YA writers are coming. Check out the schedule: http://novateenbookfestival.com/schedule

For me, it’s always such sustenance to spend time with other authors, hearing their ideas, their sense of story, how they create, where they find inspiration.  I was recently treated to a pre-festival, podcast dialogue with the extremely talented Caroline Tung Richmond. Guided by the gracious Kara Oakleaf—director of George Mason University’s amazing annual October literary festival, Fall for the Book http://fallforthebook.org/     —we shared our research/writing process and love of history. Caroline has written fascinating WWII novels, both factual and alternative. Her companion books, The Only Thing to Fear and Live in Infamy, create a disturbing and heartbreaking American world that might exist had the Allies lost to the Axis powers.  It really was a fun conversation—I learned a lot listening to Caroline!

Although our imaginations take different paths once we’ve done all our research into a time period, our goals are the same. Caroline and I both hope to infuse our teen readers with our enthusiasm for the stunning epic pageant that is history. We both seek to humanize all those dates, battles, empires, rebellions, and philosophic trends that teenagers must learn in school. To put a human face, a beating heart, an engrossing OMG what’s-going-to-happen-next involvement into those syllabus timelines.

History, after all, is a very human drama—at its core, it’s not as much about an epoch’s leaders, but about the fears, the grit, the heartbreaks, the valor of ordinary citizens who have to live through the wars and political movements those leaders oversee. Where do they find their courage? What moves them to act? What mistakes, what passions, what losses, what joys? Historical fiction helps readers imagine, to contemplate what they might do in the difficult and often death-defying plotlines of past eras, to empathize and to worry about the fate of a novel’s characters. Emotional engagement! Just like any compelling story.

And the great thing about well-done historical fiction? Readers can actually learn a lot (about day-today-life, the lingo, the food, the pop culture, the attitudes of a time period) without realizing it—through osmosis!  They’re just reading a good book.

To those naysayers who claim historical fiction is too hard of a sell to teens? Look at all those teenagers who know every single word of Hamilton!

Here’s our podcast:

https://soundcloud.com/user-806669177/interview-with-lm-elliot-and-caroline-tung-richmond-for-fall-for-the-book 

Hope to see you on March 10th!  BTW, if you’d like to order signed books, (whether you can physically attend the festival or not), you can do so with its main organizers, the fantastic indie bookstore, One More Page. Hamilton and Peggy! will also come with a Schuyler sister pin of your choice.  (I am proudly showing my Peggy pin in the photo below) 

Here’s the link to order autographed copies of my, Caroline’s, and the other authors’ books: https://www.onemorepagebooksstore.com/nova-teen.html

MomatOMP.png

Other Blog Posts


And Peggy...The Schuyler Sisters Ninja!

Posted by laura on August 7, 2018


My Favorite Historical Sisters

Posted by laura on August 5, 2018


A Revolutionary Woman Journalist

Posted by laura on July 11, 2018


Angelica's Elopement

Posted by laura on June 27, 2018


Guest Blog: In Appreciation of Thomas Kail

Posted by laura on June 22, 2018


Happy Father's Day to America's #1 Founding Father

Posted by laura on June 17, 2018



The Hurricane that gave us Alexander Hamilton

Posted by laura on May 14, 2018



Lafayette's Love, Adrienne

Posted by laura on April 26, 2018


THE FINAL AND OFFICIAL COVER

Posted by laura on April 16, 2018


THE FOURTH COVER OPTIONS

Posted by laura on April 11, 2018


The Room Where Peggy Happened: The Library

Posted by laura on April 9, 2018


The Third Cover Options

Posted by laura on April 8, 2018


THE SECOND COVER OPTIONS

Posted by laura on April 6, 2018


The First Cover Options

Posted by laura on April 4, 2018


HOW A COVER GETS MADE

Posted by laura on April 2, 2018


Guest Blog: Theodosia Writes Me a Letter Every Day...

Posted by laura on March 28, 2018





Lucy Knox: Romantic and Patriot

Posted by laura on March 20, 2018



Happy Birthday, Richard Varick!

Posted by laura on March 15, 2018


Uncle Johnny, the “ Good Dr. Bones”

Posted by laura on March 12, 2018


Peggy as a YA Heroine

Posted by laura on March 7, 2018


Guest Blog: The Power of Letters

Posted by laura on March 5, 2018


Happy Birthday, Baby Caty!

Posted by laura on March 4, 2018



The Power of Historical Fiction for Teens

Posted by laura on February 27, 2018


To the Students of Parkland

Posted by laura on February 26, 2018


Guest Blog: From the Editor, Katherine Tegen

Posted by laura on February 25, 2018


Happy Birthday, Gentleman Johnny!

Posted by laura on February 24, 2018



Peggy's Romantic Life

Posted by laura on February 22, 2018


A Long Song for George Washington

Posted by laura on February 19, 2018


24 hours until Event at Politics and Prose!

Posted by laura on February 18, 2018


Guest Blog: 5 Fun Facts about George Washington

Posted by laura on February 16, 2018


Guest Blog: Historical Galentines!

Posted by laura on February 12, 2018


Fun for Sunday Afternoon!

Posted by laura on February 11, 2018


Countdown to Launch on Galentine’s Day!

Posted by laura on February 9, 2018


Guest Blog: Favorite Sisters in Fiction

Posted by laura on February 7, 2018


Happy Birthday to Aaron Burr, Sir

Posted by laura on February 6, 2018


Guest Blog: Discoveries in the NYPL by Mabel Hsu

Posted by laura on February 5, 2018


Guest Blog: The Creation of a Book Trailer

Posted by laura on February 2, 2018


Today and McCarthy

Posted by laura on February 1, 2018


A Schuyler Sisters Super Bowl

Posted by laura on January 31, 2018


Meet Peggy Schuyler!

Posted by laura on January 28, 2018


The Youngest Soldier of the Revolution

Posted by laura on January 26, 2018


Happy Birthday, Daveed!

Posted by laura on January 24, 2018


Guest Blog from Moxii

Posted by laura on January 21, 2018



Happy Birthday Benedict Arnold - January 14, 1741

Posted by adminC on January 10, 2018


Happy Birthday, Alexander! January 11

Posted by adminC on January 10, 2018


Happy Anniversary George and Martha!

Posted by laura on January 6, 2018


"The Hard Winter" when Peggy met Hamilton

Posted by laura on January 1, 2018


Happy New Year's!

Posted by laura on December 31, 2017


Duck and Cover Mindset

Posted by laura on October 9, 2017


Happy Birthday Fahrenheit 451!

Posted by laura on October 4, 2017


Banned Books & President Eisenhower

Posted by laura on September 28, 2017


Knocked Over By a Feather: McCarthy and Book Burning

Posted by laura on September 24, 2017


Librarians in the Battle of “Fake News”

Posted by laura on September 21, 2017


McCarthy to Trump Connections

Posted by laura on September 19, 2017


Fourth of July....And Peggy!

Posted by laura on July 4, 2017


Coming September 2017: SUSPECT RED

Posted by laura on April 17, 2017


Thoughts on Veteran's Day

Posted by laura on November 11, 2016



Leonardo the Writer

Posted by laura on April 19, 2016


A Live Look at Verrocchio

Posted by laura on April 18, 2016


The Teacher Behind Leonardo

Posted by laura on April 16, 2016


Happy Birthday, Leonardo da Vinci!

Posted by laura on April 15, 2016



The Town of Vinci

Posted by laura on April 12, 2016


Leonardo’s Top 5 Most Imaginative Inventions

Posted by laura on April 11, 2016


Valentine's Day During the Renaissance

Posted by laura on February 14, 2016


Valentine's Day Activities!

Posted by laura on February 8, 2016


Historical #WCW: Artemisia Gentileschi

Posted by laura on February 3, 2016


Anniversary of the Joust

Posted by laura on January 29, 2016


Great Falls Friends & Neighbors Event

Posted by laura on January 14, 2016


My New Literary Friends to the North

Posted by laura on January 4, 2016


Ti Amo, Piombino

Posted by laura on December 28, 2015


The Holidays in Renaissance Florence

Posted by laura on December 23, 2015


Florentine Decorations

Posted by laura on December 15, 2015


Just in Time for Holiday Shopping!

Posted by laura on December 4, 2015


A Very Renaissance Thanksgiving

Posted by laura on November 26, 2015


NCTE Thanks

Posted by laura on November 23, 2015


#TBT: Another guest blog!

Posted by laura on November 19, 2015


Guest Blog: Researching DA VINCI'S TIGER

Posted by laura on November 17, 2015


NCTE 2015

Posted by laura on November 17, 2015


Exciting News!

Posted by laura on November 13, 2015


So What Did Leonardo Really Look Like and Act Like?

Posted by laura on November 9, 2015


Get Your Plato On!

Posted by laura on November 7, 2015


The Ambassador

Posted by laura on November 2, 2015


#TBT: My love of horses

Posted by laura on October 29, 2015


The Lady Behind the Portrait

Posted by laura on October 28, 2015


LORENZO, Il Magnifico: The defacto ruler of Florence

Posted by laura on October 26, 2015


Throwback Thursday: My first trip to Florence

Posted by laura on October 22, 2015


The Kick-Butt Abbess

Posted by laura on October 21, 2015


Santa Croce: The Site of the Joust!

Posted by laura on October 20, 2015


Meet Florence’s “Prince of Youth”

Posted by laura on October 19, 2015


Some Loves Start Early!

Posted by laura on October 15, 2015


The Duomo Bells

Posted by laura on October 14, 2015


Leonardo's Other Female Portraits

Posted by laura on October 14, 2015


6 Things You May Not Know About Leonardo Da Vinci

Posted by laura on October 12, 2015


Epic Reads Discussion Guide

Posted by laura on October 8, 2015


Talk at the National Gallery of Art!

Posted by laura on October 7, 2015


First Reviews for Da Vinci's Tiger!

Posted by laura on September 27, 2015


NEW COVER for DA VINCI'S TIGER

Posted by laura on August 13, 2015


YA Sync Free Download of Under a War Torn Sky LIVE!

Posted by laura on August 6, 2015


Mark Your Calendars

Posted by laura on July 6, 2015


The Beauty of Synchronicity

Posted by laura on May 18, 2015


70th Anniversary of VE Day

Posted by laura on May 8, 2015


Why Write A Trilogy?

Posted by laura on April 14, 2015


Valentine's Day

Posted by laura on February 8, 2015


Listening to the Audiobook of Under a War Torn Sky

Posted by laura on February 3, 2015


A Wonderful Fall

Posted by adminC on October 29, 2014


close