Friday, October 29, 2010
You Say Fantasy, I Say Historical Fiction
One of my daughters had to select a historical fiction novel for a book project at school. She had selected a book that just wasn't working for her so she asked her teacher if she could base her project on Rick Riordan's The Heroes of Olympus: The Lost Hero that had just come out and she was dying to read. When her teacher identified the likely genre of the Riordan book as fantasy rather than historical fiction, my crafty child insisted that the book is based on mythology which, in turn, is based on the customs and beliefs that defined ancient Greece. Her clever teacher acquiesced but insisted that part of the project will have to focus on those customs, beliefs and myths. So why do I love this story? My daughter thinks it's because I'm proud that she was such a persuasive advocate for her position. I am certainly impressed by her creativity, advocacy and, yes, even the way she's mastered the art of manipulation. However, I really want to hug the teacher! It would have been so easy to enforce the strict letter of the law here but instead she seized on the opportunity to engage a child. My daughter is now excited about her book project and she is loving her book; she is also feeling as though she is an active participant in her own education and she is enjoying a connection with her teacher. This one decision on the teacher's part is more significant than she may have realized but not at all taken for granted. Good teachers can and do make a difference.