Explore American history through the lens of literature! By reading and analyzing historical fiction, young students will gain insights into topics from American history, as well as an appreciation for elements of literature. Reading selections are carefully chosen from a list of award-winning novels intended for middle school audiences.
Reluctant historians who love to read will find a path to understanding the past. History lovers who remain skeptical of literature study will find a gentle introduction to literary analysis. This interdisciplinary course will provide readers with diverse interests and backgrounds ample fodder for discussion, critical thinking, and creative response.
Books in this series may be easier to read and analyze than those studied in Lightning Lit 7 and 8, but some historical topics may be emotionally challenging for younger or more sensitive readers. LL7, LL8, and Historical Fiction classes may be taken in any order. This literature series complements the History of US series nicely. Minimal writing skills are required.
- fiction vs. reality
- early 20th-century immigration
- 1906 San Francisco earthquake
- Triangle Shirtwaist fire
- the rise of labor unions
- Spanish Influenza
- World War I
- The Great Depression
- Jim Crow laws
Learning activities include regular writing to communicate ideas via the discussion forum, videos and multimedia materials to support learning, use of web 2.0 tools to illustrate new concepts, and weekly participation in live webinars.
- Dragonwings by Laurence Yep
- Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson
- Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix
- Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
- Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
Most books are readily available at your local library or can be purchased online. Please note that while most of these books are available on Kindle or other ebook platforms, Dragonwings is not. Since that is the first book students will read during the class, it is important to acquire a print copy before the semester begins.
Note for sensitive readers: This class is designed to be appealing and academically appropriate for a wide range of ages. However, some historical topics may be emotionally challenging for younger or more sensitive students. The fictional protagonists face perilous journeys and some do not survive the dangers they face. Please review the book selections carefully to determine the appropriateness of this class for your student. In addition, if the overall class is appealing but a single book selection is concerning, students may skip the reading and associated webinars for that book.