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From the Editor – April 2010

Although my only encounter with the Black Panthers was on the TV news, my childhood was roughly contemporaneous with that of Delphine, heroine of Rita Williams-Garcia’s One Crazy Summer, so I feel old age tapping me on the shoulder when I think about that book as “historical fiction.” It is, though, and as distant to the experience of today’s children as my parents’ childhood in the Depression was to me. But the Depression was also close at hand — we would hear about it frequently at mealtimes and holidays and be cautioned to appreciate what we had rather than to complain about what we didn’t. The past is always reaching into the present, itself always becoming the past.

Historical fiction is not only one excellent way to explain our parents (or grandparents) to ourselves, it can also explain ourselves to ourselves, allowing readers to consider what they might have done, or how they might have been different, in circumstances unlike their own. We don’t read historical fiction to find out “what it was like back then” so much as to get a fresh look at who we are now. And if I want to take another look at who I was then? All I have to do is remember what I was reading.



Roger Sutton
Editor in Chief

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.

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  1. […] we were!) to find the following passage. (Katie, our resident Nancy Drew, tracked its source to the April 2010 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.) I am especially fond of historical fiction and recently I was pleased to discover that Roger […]

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