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The world today is moving a the speed of sound and yet kids are taught the same old way with the same old books. Lets stop boring them to death!

CHILD-SIZED HISTORY: Fictions of the Past in U.S. Classrooms - Sara Schwebel

For more than three decades, teachers have been teaching the same children's historical novels in their classrooms, books like Johnny Tremain, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Island of the Blue Dolphins, and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Unlike school textbooks, which are replaced on regular cycles and subjected to public tugs-of-war between the Left and Right, historical novels have simply - and quietly - endured.

"As literature, the books stimulate children's imagination, transporting them into the American past and projecting them into an American future," explains Sara Schwebel, author of CHILD-SIZED HISTORY. "But as works of historical interpretation, many appear startlingly out of step with current historiography and social sensibilities, especially with regards to race."

In her new book, Schwebel traces the formation and impact of this canon and also provides practical guidelines for how to use this historical fiction in the classroom to deepen historical understanding.

Sara L. Schwebel is Assistant Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of South Carolina. She received her PhD in the History of American Civilization from Harvard University and has taught middle school English and history in Connecticut and Virginia. She is the co-author of The Student Teacher's Handbook, 4th Edition.

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