Books make history adventure for kids—December 11, 2009
When my children were in elementary school, they enjoyed reading “choose your own adventure” stories. In these books the reader is given a chance to select different paths, and the outcome of the story changes depending on the choices made along the way. Before beginning, they would arm themselves with a stack of bookmarks. Each time they had a decision to make, they stuck a bookmark in so they could come back to that page and try the alternate path to see how the story changed.
We have some new books in the children’s department that work the same way, but these titles are all non-fiction. The series is called “You Choose Books,” and each book is “an interactive history adventure.”
In each book, the scene is set in the first chapter, and then the reader is given a choice of three paths to follow. Each choice the reader makes changes the outcome of the story. The introduction states, “In this book, you’ll explore how the choices people made meant the difference between life and death. The events you’ll experience happened to real people.”
Each book is illustrated with photographs from the time period. You’ll also find a final chapter with more information about that time in history, a time line of events, suggestions for further reading, a glossary of terms used in the book, and suggestions for other points of view to explore. There are also instructions for using an Internet site called FactHound to locate quality web sites related to each book.
Three of the titles in our collection are written by Allison Lassieur. “The Battle of Bull Run” lets you decide if you want to fight in the Confederate Army or the Union Army, or watch the battle as a civilian bystander. In “The Wild West,” the reader has to decide if he wants to explore the West as an outlaw, find adventure as a lawman, or seek his fortune in Deadwood in Dakota Territory. When you read “The Dust Bowl,” you can opt to try to stay on your farm, leave your farm to find work elsewhere, or be a government photographer in the Dust Bowl.
“The Titanic” by Bob Temple lets readers travel with the rich in first class, with the poor in third class, or as a crewmember. In “World War II” by Elizabeth Raum, the reader chooses to join the forces fighting the Germans in the Netherlands, signs up for the Canadian military, or serves with the American armed forces.
History really comes alive with this interactive approach. Look for these titles in the children’s department of the library!