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>What IS truth?

>We’re working on the March/April Magazine, a special issue about non- and historical fiction. (I’m thinking we should quote Pilate for the issue title but this is mostly Martha’s baby so I’ll have to run it by her.) Anyway, there’s going to be a fabulous essay by novelist Marthe Jocelyn called “Was the Pope Old?” Re the provision of “information” by a novel, Jocelyn writes “What I learn from a book depends on what the author chooses to tell me in what order with what emphasis–and what I happen to care about learning just at that moment.” Yup.

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.



  1. fourth musketeer says:

    >I'll look forward to that issue. I started a blog specializing in historical fiction for children through teens (and some history-related non-fiction as well).
    Check it out at

  2. >I love Marthe Jocelyn. She has a gentle but informed and intelligent voice. I'll look forward to what she has to say.

  3. >When I write historical fiction, I am always surprised when some imaginative leap I have taken proves to be true after further research.

    Historians are looking at facts and great movements of history. Novelists are more interested in setting human beings within those contexts.

    Or as my Smith College history professor said, "I know you are smart, but you ask the oddest questions." Yes, I did. So do all historical novelists.


  4. >Look forward to that issue, too! I have a particular interest in this question, as I just finished my dissertation research on the representation of ethnic Chinese experiences during the Second World War in youth literature. One interesting question—posed by a history professor in my committee—I discussed at my defense and am still considering is the relationship between the two concepts of “historical accuracy” and “truth” in these readings for youth.

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