It is important to know that for Paul, Gretchen, and I, we see the work of our presentation as collaborative, inquiry based, and on going. As of yet, we do not have a fixed product even though we have presented and held conversations. In this presentation we focused on the Seeds of America trilogy, March trilogy, and All American Boys. We, as panelists, suggested middle school and secondary cross-curricular, interdisciplinary, and integrated teaching objectives, classroom activities, and supporting texts that encourage historical and textual understanding and meaningful social action.
To begin, Paul gives his perspective: Both adolescent historical fiction and history illustrate and illuminate the human experience. High quality historical fiction inhabits this intersection of human drama and historical reality, while offering glimpses of truth, beauty, and meaning. Ironically, Chains—a book about the experiences of human “property”—is just such a novel providing the reader with a clear and well-researched historical infrastructure, but also a compelling story. Each chapter includes a primary source epigram and illustrative examples of the experiences of enslaved persons as told through the eyes of Isabel, the story’s main character. This book (and others of similar merit) is fertile territory for teaching ELA and Social Studies content, if teachers will but remove their disciplinary shackles.
Steven T. Bickmore, UNLV, email@example.com
Paul E. Binford, Mississippi State University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gretchen Rumohr-Voskuil, Aquinas College, email@example.com