Tag Archives: Historical Fiction

Picture Book Historical Fiction

Picture Book Historical Fiction

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The Matchbox Diary

Sometimes a social studies or history book can be overwhelming. It’s hard to keep the people and places and dates straight. There just seem to be SO MANY! On the other hand, when people are telling stories about their experiences and memories, we can be so entertained and our attention so focused that it is easy to laugh or cry right along with the storyteller.

The books below are history books that tell one small piece of history at a time and use beautiful and compelling pictures to help tell the tale. They emphasize the storytelling over the facts, even though the facts are where the story begin. These books are often so short they can be read in one sitting. Reading them, it is easy to put yourself in the place of the characters you are reading about. You are not memorizing the name of a battle or the date it took place, you are imagining what that event was like for a person who lived at that time and experienced what was going on.

Choose a book below to transport yourself to another time and place. Live for a minute in someone else’s shoes!


Books:

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Follow the Drinking GourdLet the Children MarchShow WayThe Matchbox DiaryA Single PebbleAmelia and Eleanor Go for a RideAround America to Win the VoteBlacksmith's SongDiana's White House GardenFairy Floss the Sweet Story of Cotton CandyFish for JimmyGrandfather's JourneyHeroes of the SurfKnit Your BitMailing MayUnspoken a Story from the Underground RailroadWind Flyers
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A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

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A Long Walk to Water

Part of this story is about a boy named Salva. He lives in Sudan, a country in Africa, during a Civil War that happened there in 1985. The other part of this story is about a girl named Nya and takes place in Sudan right now.

When we say “The Civil War” here in America we are referring to our own Civil War that happened 150 years ago. The Civil War in Sudan was only 25 years ago. During the War in Sudan many people were killed, children were made orphans and families were separated. In order to get to safety many people WALKED to Ethiopia or Kenya.

When you are reading Salva’s part of the story you hear about how he slept on the ground at night and could hear lions hunting around him:

Marial was gone – vanished into the night. He would never have wandered away from the group on his own. His disappearance could mean only one thing. Lion. (page 40)

Salva even has to cross a river infested with crocodiles. Some of the people do not make it across the river. On the other side of the river is a desert…which the people also have to walk across. Can you even imagine surving a journey like that? I can’t.

Nya’s part of the story is about how she walks twice a day, EVERY DAY to a pond to get water. Nya carries the water in a plastic jug and balances it on her head to walk home. That’s what she does every single day; once in the morning and once in the afternoon. The pond is so far away from her home that she has no time to do anything else. No school. No playing. Just walking – carrying water to keep her family alive.

A Long Walk to Water shows you how Salva’s story and Nya’s story are related even though they take place 25 years apart.

There are parts of the book that are hard to read and very, very sad. Some parts are scary. In the end, though, this is a book about really good things. It is about people looking after each other – even if they are stangers to begin with. It is about trying hard and doing your part and it is about hoping for something better.

The really great thing is that A Long Walk to Water is based on a real boy named Salva – you can see his picture with the author on the book jacket or in the video below. (He’s grown up now.) At the end of the book there is a letter to you from Salva that I think you’ll like to read. The best thing he says is, “Stay calm when things are hard or not going right with you. You will get thorugh it when you persevere instead of quitting.” (page 117) Those are pretty powerful words when you realize they come from a kid who survived a situation much, much more difficult than anything we will probably ever face.

water-for-sudan-logo

  • Linda Sue Park’s Official Website
  • Linda Sue Park’s Blog
  • Watch the PBS Need to Know Episode “The Lost Boy of Sudan” – it’s about Salva himself.
  • Water for Sudan – Salva’s own organization that drills wells to provide water to people Southern Sudan.
  • IndyPL Kids’ Blog Booklist: Kids Changing the World – Like You! – Listed here are books about ways you can give back to your community as well as books about kids, both real and imagined, who have made a real difference.
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