I have always been a history buff. Ever since I was in elementary school, I have consistently preferred reading historical fiction and nonfiction rather than more whimsical genres of literature such as fantasy and science fiction.
My first introduction to the historical genre was when my class in elementary school read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
Admittedly, A Christmas Carol has many elements of fantasy thrown in, I still thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
You could say it was thanks to this story that my love for the historical genre grew as I became older! I highly recommend reading a copy of A Christmas Carol when you have the chance, especially now since Christmas is upon us.
Pieces of literature I recommend for young adults interested in history definitely include A Christmas Carol along with The Great Gatsby (1920s, United States), Great Expectations (Victorian Era, United Kingdom), and Number the Stars (World War II, Denmark).
The Great Gatsby is a coming-of-age novel that explores being true to yourself and the ideology behind the “American dream” during the Roaring Twenties. Due to its immense popularity, it also received a movie adaptation but I highly encourage people to read the novel before watching the movie!
Great Expectations follows the life of an orphan named Pip. The novel focuses on exploring unrequited love, morality, and the struggles of forming meaningful relationships in spite of class differences.
Number the Stars is a novel set in WWII-era Denmark. The story revolves around a Jewish family from Coppenhagen and explores the importance of friendship, growing up in trying times, and finding bravery in difficult situations.
I believe that all of the themes in these books serve as very important lessons for young adults to explore and act out in their own lives.
Since I love reading about history, I have recently begun to write a young adult fiction novel about the Taishō period.
Primarily focusing on Japan-U.S. relations during that time, the story explores forming friendships despite cultural differences, coming of age in a rapidly changing world, and finding happiness in spite of the curveballs life can throw at us.
As a new writer, I find abundant value in studying the themes within other historical books and ponder how I can reflect what I have learned in my own work.
It is a very time-consuming process, but I am enjoying every moment creating something about a time in history that I am passionate about.
It's also quite fun to write in both English and Japanese!