Updates. An Important Date. Undaunted
A quick note here, responding to the question I’ve heard often during the holidays and the start of the new year.
“When will the next book be out?”
The final book in the Norwegian resistance trilogy has undergone a series of revisions, refinements, readings, and re-readings. It is now in the hands of my editor. The next phase will be copyedit readings before an advance reader copy goes to print. Then it’s on to reviewers, more corrections.
So, although there are still many steps underway, including cover art, things are on track to release MARI’S HOPE in 2017 as planned. As the pieces fall into place you can receive further details by signing up for my newsletter in the side bar >>>..
AN IMPORTANT DATE:
January 27 is the 72nd anniversary of the day that Russian forces liberated Auschwitz. This annual Holocaust Remembrance Day is an important day to reflect on the consequences of allowing the darker side of human nature to gain power. Few of even the youngest survivors of the concentration camps are still with us, and their voices must never be forgotten. Now, more than ever. I wrote some thoughts about this and recommended books on the topic in a post on my picture book blog several years. It is not too harsh a topic for any age if discussed openly and honestly. Check the post HERE.
In school visits I discuss the category “historical fiction”, an apparent oxymoron. History is a tabulation of facts: verifiable, able to be authenticated through reliable sources. Fiction, on the other hand, is constructed out of the imagination. Labeling a work of literature as historical fiction is an open acknoweledgement, a warning of sorts, that readers should approach it with the clear understanding that they have a responsibility to take what is read with a grain (or truckload) of salt. If the novel is well-written, every word will appear to be true. The historical facts and events will be woven into the fabric of the story in ways that reinforce the credibility of the work.
The designation as historical fiction is a directive to the reader to pursue the “actual facts”, if so inclined; to read the backmatter and authors’ notes, to explore referenced works and resources. If unwilling or unable to do so, the only option is to view every aspect of the book as fictional.
I’ve been thinking about this a great deal as new labels are applied to public media: “alternate facts”, “fake news”, and others. Facts are facts. They can be proven or disproven. When statements are made that are in clear conflict, reliable sources can be used to determine which reflect reality. Which do not. The statements that cannot be proven are not facts at all, alternate or otherwise.
Like the label “historical fiction”, anything labeled “alternative facts” should be viewed as suspect and essentially fiction until and unless due-diligence and research are completed to confirm them as ACTUAL facts.
“News” may not always get the facts right, but credible journalists avoid making those errors at all costs and publish corrections promptly. “Fake News” is not news at all; it’s propaganda. It intentionally blends facts with fiction to make it appear entirely true– not to entertain but to distort, confuse, and manipulate the reader. Again, the burden falls to the reader to consider the entire “news” as false/fictional unless and until each element is verified though reliable sources.
If elementary students can understand these concepts, and apply the processes to sort and verify fact from fiction, then our adult population can (and must) do the same. As a teacher I never accuse a child of lying. As multiple traditional news agencies have decided, we can’t read the minds of others to determine their intent. Instead I point out when a student is “misrepresenting reality”- making statements that conflict with the real world. Enough euphemisms. Things that are not real are not any kind of facts or news.
I for one won’t give up on the human capacity to recognize right, wrong, and reality.
If you are on Twitter, you should be following @MerriamWebster. They are actively responding to various vocabulary-distortions as they arise.