Author: Fran Knight Revised Dec. 2016
ISBN 9781876678265 Revised December 2016: Literature to support the Australian curriculum for History
In the best traditions of teacher/librarianship, Fran Knight has produced another aid to supporting, extending and enriching the curriculum for teachers and students. Good literature can offer much in developing students' understanding of situations they cannot experience themselves, such as historical contexts. This book provides annotated lists of a wide range of books covering all topics in the Australian Curriculum: History from Personal Histories for the Foundation Year students to the Shogun Japan for Year 8 and Vietnam and the Environmental Movement of the 1960's. One of the challenges for many teachers in tackling the Australian Curriculum: History is their own personal knowledge of the topics they need to teach. Using the books listed provides an exciting approach to developing a rich understanding for teachers and students alike. For many teachers, developing their own understanding of the historical concept will be a necessary precursor to teaching it. Reading some of the titles on the list will be a wonderful aid for teachers to get the pick up some of the 'back-story' to a historical period. Who wouldn't want to read about Krakatau or the Indian mutiny during the English Empire? Alternatively you might be interested to read about the Feathered soldiers: an illustrated tribute to the Australian wartime messenger pigeon. Maybe a graphic novel of Auschwitz or a child-friendly Canterbury tales would be of interest. Reviewing this resourceful list, I found myself wanting to grab a pile of books and get reading. Fran's knowledge of literature spans a significant time. Her annotations are reliable and thoughtful. She understands how classrooms work and the variety of students within each class and so each section contains a variety of reading levels and styles of books - including graphic novels and picture books for senior students. She also includes links to Teacher Guides for books when available. Many titles are recent releases although a few are a little older, the majority being published after 2004. Some titles may require a little finding - for example in online booksellers offering second hand editions. Some may need to be accessed from specific organisations such as a regimental bookseller rather than your favourite bookseller but the search will be worth it. Some titles are also available in Google Book editions.
Reviewed by Diana Warwick