Thematic Thursday: Historical Fiction

It's Thursday, so I'm linking up with Comprehension Connection for Thematic Thursday.  This Thursday.  This week, we are discussing historical fiction in the classroom.

I have to say, I always hated historical fiction. Well, except for the old Royal Diaries series from my childhood.  Besides those, I am more of a science fiction gal.

But historical fiction is starting to grow on me.  I even regularly teach a historical fiction novel in my room. Gasp!  

Historical Fiction in My Classroom:

Every third quarter, our class reads Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai.  It's a beautiful verse novel about a girl escaping Vietnam at the end of the Vietnamese War, and her subsequent settlement in the United States.  If you plan on teaching this book, make sure you check out my teaching materials for this novel in my store.  I've found that enjoy historical fiction is all about connecting with the historical time period, and I think the Vietnam War is fascinating, and not so far removed that it feels like ancient history to the kids.  During the quarter, I also have students read a historical fiction novel independently.  I always have my librarian pull the newest, best historical fiction novels, and I create a book list organized by time period to help the kids make their selection. We also, of course, read and learn about the culture of Vietnam and the history of the Vietnam War prior to reading the book.

Here are some Vietnam War era resources that pair well with the novel (or just for the era in general):

  • New York Times Photo Set - This photo set shows poignant images of the Fall of Saigon.  These photos would be great used to draw inferences from in gallery walk, as writing prompt images, or just as an anticipatory set.
  • "Panic Rises in Saigon, But Exits Are Few" - A New York Times article documenting the panic in Saigon in the last days of the war.  This a a great nonfiction connection, and I have my students compare and contrast this to Ha's experience escaping in the novel.
  •'s Vietnam War section - Tons of resources here! Of particular interest is this Fall of Saigon video clip, which is a great visual to show the panic of this event. I use it to introduce the above nonfiction article.
  • Vietnam War protest music - There are SO many protest songs from the era! The following link takes you to a small playlist of some of them, no YouTube access required.  The lyrics of Vietnam era songs could be analyzed and interpreted with a close reading.

Here of some historical fiction novels on my to-read list:


What historical fiction novels do you love, teach, or can't wait to read?

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Jasper Roberts Consulting - Widget