Fact-based fiction children’s books rings of an obvious oxymoron. Facts and fiction are contradictions and thought to be on opposite sides of the truth spectrum. Perhaps fact-based fiction can be explained with a more familiar phrase like “based on a true story”. Stories based on a true story are biographical in that the events took place in the past and they are recreated in a story. Oftentimes the main characters retain their real names and plays the roles as they were witnessed, remembered, or recorded. Based on truth stories usually follow closely to many of the actual event of some specific real-life stories. However, there are some areas where the truth gets a little fuzzy like some character’s names may be changed. Sometime this is done to protect the innocence or to avoid some legal implications of using them. Characters and events may also be added, and their significance may be inflated to fill voids in the story or to set up some actual events that needs some substantiating. Of course, there are other embellishments or omissions used to enhance the excitement, entertainment value and pace of the stories.
Fact-based fiction are also stories based on true stories. The stories are not necessarily biographical nor are they specific-life-stories based on truth. The facts are more general and common and may reoccur in other like characters or species. For example, it is true that all caterpillar pass through a life cycle of stages including the egg, caterpillar or larva, the cocoon, and finally the butterfly. This then would be the basis of the truth of caterpillars maturing to butterflies’ stories. But because the themes and plots are seldom based on some eyewitness account of one specific real caterpillar, it is fact-based generally verses based on a specific true story. The last part of the phase is fiction which in this case may mean that the author has full liberties to embellish as he or she pleases.
So, in what ways are fact based-fiction books beneficial to children? First, they present characters that give children a real-life reference. It helps children to attend to see something that they may see frequently appearing or occurs in nature in a story. Second, the real-life reference gives children some beginning insight to the character. Children may have some ideas of the characters and how their characteristics will structure how they will act within the story. This may help develop the children’s creativity or imagination. Third, the children can begin to see what lines exist between the real life and the character within the story. Children’s ability to distinguish harmless embellishments from dangerous real-life encounters or events may begin to become clearer. Fourth, the facts of the stories are being presented to the children. The stories are teaching the facts in ways that children can easily attend and retain. Last, fact-based fiction are excellent lead-in stories to expand children’s knowledge and skills. The entertainment and excitement of these stories may be used to introduce additional information and answer questions related to the stories. Seamlessly children may move from the fictional stories into knowledge that has immediate or future academic value. In these and other ways, fact-based fiction stories have great benefits in children’s books. Written by Mister Wilson-Cory The Caterpillar Children’s Books. https://www.corythecaterpillar.com
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