How can we make children understand how it was during Martial Law? World War I? Pre-Hispanic times? Through time travel, of course! Not the dangerous, techie-gadgety, lightning-necessary kind. Just the in-the-comfort-of-your-own-home type—books!
You may have already read some without realizing it. Historical fiction is a genre all on its own, and that means that there is a wealth of materials out there that go under this label. In general, historical fiction employs historical elements (such as real-life events and people) in its narrative.
Besides being a literary treat, reading and utilizing historical fiction has many benefits.
Reinforce lessons in history with historical fiction as a teaching tool. Teachers could use it as a springboard to discuss Social Studies of History topics, as an alternative teaching method for linguistically inclined students, and as a way to review concepts and topics discussed in class.
Makes history come alive. Since the past is brought to life by historical fiction, readers can have a deeper connection with history. While enjoying the adventures and conflicts of the characters, children will understand the context of a historical event, person, or place. They will also analyze multiple perspectives, and realize the complexity of historical issues, as depicted by the characters in the narrative.
Enrich the imagination of readers through stories, especially those that fill gaps in history and try to answer what-ifs of the past. It will give them the idea that behind every bit of historical information lies a story – and that they are free to rework and imagine the outcomes.
Adarna House offers a variety of books under the historical fiction genre. These include the Batang Historyador series that narrates fictional lives during different political periods of the country through the eyes of children characters.