I Wasn’t Alive When. . .Consider Your Audience


6th graders alive today are only 11 or 12 years old, which means that many were not alive on 9/11/01, when the Twin Towers fell in New York City. For them, the story of 9-11 is historical fiction.

References to 9-11 go over their heads. They don’t know anything about Jurassic Park, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones. Walking on the Moon? Ancient history since it took place in 1969.

Here’s a quick look at the Wikipedia entries for

Read through the entries and think about these years as the only context that sixth graders have.

1947 6th Grade Class in Lakewood, Ohio.

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  • Sandra Stiles
    November 19, 2012

    I teach 6th graders. I do a 3 day lesson on the events of 9/11. My first book “Steps to Courage” came about because I was teaching 6th graders on that day and they were discussing what they would do if they were in the towers. Most of them had never heard of or seen the towers before that day. It made me wonder what would happen if there were teens in the towers on that day. Today eight middle schools in my county carry my book and three teachers use it for their unit on 9/11. I keep 8 copies in my room and the media center has 3 copies. They are consistently checked out. The reason is because students today know nothing about 9/11 and they learn so much through my fiction. I spent several years researching for it. When I refer to things such as Jaws and Star Wars in my Language Arts class I usually show a clip. Like the clips, writing historical fiction gives kids a look at the past and interests them researching history. My recent unit on Dr. Seuss’s books, focusing specifically on “The Butter Battle Book” and comparing it to the Cold War has prompted 23 kids to research The Cold War or Berlin Wall for their History Fair. We need more people to write more historical fiction.

  • Darcy Pattison
    November 20, 2012

    It is indeed funny to us adults what kids will consider “historical fiction.” 2001 as historical fiction? Oh, yes!