After writing yesterday’s post, I was inspired to revisit some of my favorite “historical fiction” picture books. There are a lot of them out there. . . You know the type: based in history, focused on a real person and/or event of historical importance with some details added for story-flow and entertainment. Although they tend to leave out a lot of important facts due to their picture book format and lower reading levels, these books can play an important role in teaching social studies content to students of all ages.
One of my current favorite picture books that fits into this category is a recent find at the discount bookstore at the outlet mall – can’t beat those prices unless you are a lucky garage sale/thrift store shopper.
Dirt on Their Skirts by Doreen Rappaport and Lyndall Callan is a wonderful story about the 1946 championship game between the Rockford Peaches and the Racine Belles, two teams in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Told from the perspective of a young girl, Margaret, who is a huge fan of her hometown Racine Belles, this story shares the excitement and wonder she felt while watching the game with her family.
Photographs of some of the Belles and Rockford Peaches players (from the era as well as current photos) along with stats from the championship game provide students with additional information.
This great read not only presents a look into a bygone era but also leads students to reflect on what it takes to make dreams come true.
Check out Doreen Rappaport’s website for further information about her books (Martin’s Big Words, Abe’s Honest Words, and others).