My two bits says historical fiction is fiction, whatever reading level.
With young readers, it feels even more important that we shouldn't give
them the wrong impression that a fictional account – with fictional
characters and narrative – is a substitute for factual work.

On the other hand, I have a similar question.  We've flip-flopped a couple
times about where to class children's story books about holidays and
observance.  Many of these set up fictional situations – a guest not
familiar with our traditions who asks about the reasons for an observance –
which features a recitation of the relevant Bible story.  While the
framework is fiction, the core of the story is a non-fictional explanation
of the tradition.  Many kid's books fit that formula and could be as easily
classed with fiction as with non-fiction.

Our decision, for the time being, has been to put these in with fiction,
but tie them together with non-fiction items on the same topic through the
subject headings.

Lee Jaffe, Temple Beth El, Aptos

Dear Hasafranim,

I just came along a grey area that makes me want to rethink a few things
about classifying YA historical fiction, specifically biographical fiction.
Someone donated this older book, Bar Kochba, by Amram Whiteman. I have very
little on the period for kids, so I thought why not.

For very young kids, it seems acceptable to place some historical fiction
in with the history or biography it covers. Same with bible stories. For
adults, of course, I wouldn't consider such a thing, but what about for
tweens and YA? Should I place this fictional account of Bar Kochba with
fiction or with the history of the period, with a classification
identifying it as fiction so that it's in the same area?

I'm also beginning to wonder about fictional accounts of biblical figures
such as David or Amos. Right now they're in bible stories, but for older
kids, should they perhaps be in fiction instead? Is this a grey area for
others, or is there a standard practice where teen literature is concerned.

Rachel Haus
Library Director
Congregation of Moses Fisher Library
Kalamazoo MI
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