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Field Trip! | American Education Week with Darlene Beck Jacobson

American Education Week is a week dedicated to celebrating our nation’s schools, teachers, staff and all the hard work they do to support the teaching needs of every student. It is a National Education Association (NEA) initiative to support education and the wonderful joys of learning.

To celebrate, KidLit TV took a field trip to the Barnes & Nobles in Menlo Park Mall to interview one of our supporting community members Darlene Beck Jacobson about her middle grade historical fiction novel Wheels of Change (Creston Books).

About Wheels of Change

Racial intolerance, social change, and sweeping progress make 1908 Washington, D.C., a turbulent place to grow up in for 12-year-old Emily Soper. For Emily, life in Papa’s carriage barn is magic, and she’s more at home hearing the symphony of the blacksmith’s hammer than trying to conform to the proper expectations of young ladies. When Papa’s livelihood is threatened by racist neighbors and horsepower of a different sort, Emily faces changes she’d never imagined. Finding courage and resolve she didn’t know she had, Emily strives to save Papa’s business, even if it means going all the way to the White House.

Darlene Beck Jacobson is a teacher and speech therapist working with Preschool and Kindergarten aged children.

“I can walk into the classroom wearing a chicken hat and still get hugs!” Darlene Beck Jacobson

During her interview she tells us about the book’s premise, how she uses her teacher guides in the classroom and why it’s important to ask children questions about the story directly.

Historical fiction is extremely important for children to read because it not only tells and connects them with their history, but takes them on a fictional journey based on real life events. According to an article on Scholastic:

It puts people back into history. Social studies texts are often devoted to coverage rather than depth. Too often, individuals – no matter how famous or important – are reduced to a few sentences. Children have difficulty converting these cryptic descriptions and snapshots into complex individuals who often had difficult choices to make, so myths and stereotypes flourish. Good historical fiction presents individuals as they are, neither all good nor all bad.

These books highlight a certain time period and can be used as fun, interactive study guides for classrooms. If a child doesn’t enjoy history as much as other students, he or she might be interested in learning from a work of fiction, rather than a history textbook. What are some of your favorite historical fiction novels? Let us know!

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