Loving history has never been difficult for me. History has everything. Science, math, stories, geography, politics…you name it, and history’s got it. The way I fell in love with history was through traveling. Childhood trips to the forts that dot Western New York and southern Ontario were perhaps the most memorable, but my parents made history part of the itinerary wherever we travelled. Those historic signs that dot the roadways? My dad would make a point to stop and explore, possibly committing a few misdemeanors in the process. The interest my parents fostered was only increased as my reading ability increased. It was when I started chapter books that I found historical fiction.
Ann Rinaldi was my first love in historical fiction. With books ranging from the Salem Witch Trials to the American Revolution, Rinaldi showed me that history didn’t have to be the dry dates and facts I was learning in the classroom. On a librarian’s recommendation, I found the Dear America series. Written in the form of diaries from girls during different moments in American history, the series offered first-hand fictional accounts of real events.
The point is that history doesn’t have to be boring. History teachers can certainly incorporate new things into their curriculum, whether by building a longhouse during a unit on the Haudenosaunee or visiting a local graveyard to view local history. Parents can make a difference by taking children out to local historical sites, and by bringing history into the home, whether through books or television specials.
What makes you love (or hate!) history?