Even though I’m in my mid-30s, I still spend most of my time hanging out in the children’s section of bookstores. By day, I’m the executive director at a local history museum. With a master’s in public history, I’ve long been interested in how people think about history, which is rarely the way academics want people to think about history.
It’s funny–I never thought I liked history until I got to college. My high school history classes were mostly taught by coaches and mostly forgettable. But once I officially became a history nerd during my years at Hendrix College, I realized that I’ve always liked history–it was just the history found in the books I read over and over again, not the history found in textbooks or classrooms. So as my studies in history continued, I found myself referencing the books I read growing up. Consumption as the leading killer in the 19th century? Of course–Ruby Gillis in Anne of the Island died of it. Britain as a colonial power in India? Well, didn’t Mary from A Secret Garden spend the first part of her life in India? Pioneer experience in Western America and the importance of the train? How could I not reference the Ingalls family? And the list went on. . .
This blog is a way for me to combine two of my passions–history and children’s literature. There are certain books–books that were considered contemporary when published and have now become historical fiction or books based on an author’s life that contain nuggets of history that shouldn’t be ignored. They’re like another type of memoir or diary or letter–a primary source that historians need to pay attention to. I love historical fiction too, but this blog is really for those books that didn’t necessarily need massive amounts of archival research because the author lived it.
For more on this particular idea, be sure to check out my very first post–my mission statement, so to speak. Or more glamorously, the Manifesto.