Making Curriculum Connections For Your Historical Novels, by Kathleen Benner Duble
As a writer of historical fiction for children, one of your biggest markets is going to be schools and their libraries.
Making presentations in classrooms is a wonderful way to supplement your writing income and promote your books to this audience.
So how do you go about making sure that school librarians and teachers notice your books and recommend them ahead of all the other historical fiction being published?
The first answer to that question is the easy one: Write a great book.
There is no other “best” way to get your work noticed by the staff that is going to invite you in for a visit or recommend your book to a student.
Good reviews, word of mouth, a strong story – this is the most important way to draw attention.
But by examining the school curriculum in your state, you can expand the number of people who are aware of your book and accelerate the time in which your book gets that notice.
Write to the school librarians in your area and make a point of letting them know how your book fits in with their educational guidelines.
Each state has its own set of benchmarks, and you can usually access them through the web.
Study them, and see where your book might enhance their educational program.
And while your book is historical fiction – and that will be the biggest selling point you will have with schools – don’t limit yourself just to the history connection.
There are many other areas where your book might apply to the curriculum.
What are they learning in science now?
Does your book have any science tie-ins?
Perhaps Albert Einstein is part of your historical plot.
Are you writing a book about Vienna in 1781?
Does Mozart make an appearance in your book?
Look at the curriculum guidelines for music and the arts.
Can your book be used as a tool to accompany these frameworks?
Post your book’s relevance to school topics on your website.
For each one of my books, I did a curriculum connection sheet for teachers and parents who home school, and a set of activities for book-clubbers.
For Quest, my story about Henry Hudson’s last ill-fated voyage, I made a math connection by asking students to figure out the longitude and latitude of Captain Hudson’s journey.
In science, I challenged them to consider the differences in navigational instruments in 1610 from what is being used today and asked them to decide how these new tools help or hinder sea travel.
For my book, Bravo Zulu, Samantha! I made a language arts connection by asking kids about military terms that have become a part of our everyday language – words such as “Roger” or “Combat Zone”.
Because my main character is really enamored of the Guinness Book of World Records, I provided a list of science experiments that students could try, and maybe set a new record of their own.
Don’t stop with your website.
Mention the guideline connections on Facebook.
Post about the relevance of your book to a specific subject on Twitter.
There are lots of opportunities out there to get teachers and librarians to take notice of your work. But you need to do the research and the marketing to make it happen.
Kathleen Benner Duble’s author website: www.kathleenduble.com
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Writing Historical Novels