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Distant Mirror: Reflections on Young Adult Historical Fiction

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Young adult historical fiction brings the past alive through stories of adventure, suspense, and mystery. The genre is both complex and controversial, encompassing novels that range from romance and fantasy to stark historical realism. The book examines the various approaches to young adult historical fiction and explores the issues that it has engendered. Part One focuses Young adult historical fiction brings the past alive through stories of adventure, suspense, and mystery. The genre is both complex and controversial, encompassing novels that range from romance and fantasy to stark historical realism. The book examines the various approaches to young adult historical fiction and explores the issues that it has engendered. Part One focuses on the broader issues spawned by the genre itself, including its various subgenres - the line between fiction and fact; to what degree must an author adhere to historical accuracy?; time boundaries; the diary format; the protagonist as the outsider; who is entitled to write what?; and literary concerns such as the relationship between accuracy and readability. Part Two explores issues of contemporary interest, such as race, class, gender, the immigrant experience, religion, war, and nationalism. Thought-provoking discussions of how these elements are treated in historical novels, with emphasis on how current cultural values have shaped the fiction, are presented. Finally, the question of whether novels in this genre are bound by anything other than their respective period setting is posed, and it is contended that there are features common to YA historical novels that not only set the genre apart from other YA fiction, but also contribute something unique to the larger genre. The genesis for much classroom debate, suggestions for class discussions and writing assignments as well as sample written responses of these debates from the authors' classes are included. Teachers, librarians, instructors of young adult literature courses, and teen readers will find this an insightful analysis of YA historical fiction.


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Young adult historical fiction brings the past alive through stories of adventure, suspense, and mystery. The genre is both complex and controversial, encompassing novels that range from romance and fantasy to stark historical realism. The book examines the various approaches to young adult historical fiction and explores the issues that it has engendered. Part One focuses Young adult historical fiction brings the past alive through stories of adventure, suspense, and mystery. The genre is both complex and controversial, encompassing novels that range from romance and fantasy to stark historical realism. The book examines the various approaches to young adult historical fiction and explores the issues that it has engendered. Part One focuses on the broader issues spawned by the genre itself, including its various subgenres - the line between fiction and fact; to what degree must an author adhere to historical accuracy?; time boundaries; the diary format; the protagonist as the outsider; who is entitled to write what?; and literary concerns such as the relationship between accuracy and readability. Part Two explores issues of contemporary interest, such as race, class, gender, the immigrant experience, religion, war, and nationalism. Thought-provoking discussions of how these elements are treated in historical novels, with emphasis on how current cultural values have shaped the fiction, are presented. Finally, the question of whether novels in this genre are bound by anything other than their respective period setting is posed, and it is contended that there are features common to YA historical novels that not only set the genre apart from other YA fiction, but also contribute something unique to the larger genre. The genesis for much classroom debate, suggestions for class discussions and writing assignments as well as sample written responses of these debates from the authors' classes are included. Teachers, librarians, instructors of young adult literature courses, and teen readers will find this an insightful analysis of YA historical fiction.

40 review for Distant Mirror: Reflections on Young Adult Historical Fiction

  1. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I've read all of the book that will be useful to my research being the first section of the book which examines YA historical fiction as a genre and the chapter on historical fiction concerning itself with war. While the authors offer some useful quotes from historical fiction authors and critics (as well as other sources to examine), the first portion of the book is more of an examination of the history of the historical novel than a presentation of new ideas. While they do seem to reject some I've read all of the book that will be useful to my research being the first section of the book which examines YA historical fiction as a genre and the chapter on historical fiction concerning itself with war. While the authors offer some useful quotes from historical fiction authors and critics (as well as other sources to examine), the first portion of the book is more of an examination of the history of the historical novel than a presentation of new ideas. While they do seem to reject some old definitions of what constitutes historical fiction, they do not offer new definition of their own. Perhaps this is not a flaw in a book of "Reflections", but I felt it unsatisfactory. Also, the chapter about war historical fiction (which I read part of) was some cross between criticism and summary. Useful when studying the books examined, but not a particularly useful tool for studying the general scope of historical fiction books that deal with war.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    Authors who are lazy with their details make me worried about their greater arguments and competency as scholars. My blog post on this book: http://mclicious.org/2013/04/28/schol... Authors who are lazy with their details make me worried about their greater arguments and competency as scholars. My blog post on this book: http://mclicious.org/2013/04/28/schol...

  3. 5 out of 5

    EvaLovesYA

    Brugt som brugbar kilde ifb. med mit speciale om Young Adult-litteratur (2017)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lara

  5. 5 out of 5

    Giovanne

  6. 4 out of 5

    Davila EichKong

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ariadna

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nikki Nicole

  9. 5 out of 5

    Julie

  10. 4 out of 5

    usui takumi

  11. 5 out of 5

    Osvaldo Lopez

  12. 4 out of 5

    Morals

  13. 4 out of 5

    Leo Gomez

  14. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Hudson

  16. 5 out of 5

    Diegowarmadow

  17. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Dunn

  18. 5 out of 5

    Disaurious

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kate

  20. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  21. 5 out of 5

    buffy

  22. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  23. 4 out of 5

    Pam Jahner

  24. 4 out of 5

    Niko Silvester

  25. 4 out of 5

    Roy Huff

  26. 4 out of 5

    Pam Trefftzs

  27. 4 out of 5

    Charlene

  28. 4 out of 5

    Johnathan Hamlet

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cassidy

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

  31. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

  32. 4 out of 5

    Molly Kiesig

  33. 4 out of 5

    Shelby

  34. 5 out of 5

    Junyoung Kim

  35. 5 out of 5

    Alice

  36. 5 out of 5

    Grace

  37. 5 out of 5

    BookDB

  38. 4 out of 5

    Terry Cross

  39. 4 out of 5

    Elengine

  40. 5 out of 5

    Heather

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