Here at Casemate, our big goal is to publish exciting, informative and memorable books which mothers and fathers will pass on to their sons and daughters. Inspiring children and young people to learn about history is very important and a vital means to ensure the mistakes of the past are not repeated and that history’s great leaders and thinkers can still inspire us. We asked some of our authors how they would promote history to children.
Dan Daly favours the multimedia approach. ‘Short videos, short stories and whenever possible involve them in role enactment.’ Interactive historical learning is how Dan would inspire children, an approach he hopes would prevent ‘the tragic absence of historical knowledge in children and in education today, at least in the US.’
Andy Richards has a similar idea to Dan, emphasizing the entertainment aspect of learning. ‘Make it fun and exciting through storytelling rather than simply quoting dates, figures, and facts,’ he argues.
Damien Wright likes the idea of interactive learning, although for different reasons. ‘History is a living entity. It isn’t something that just happened in the past. It is inexorable and we are all part of it whether we want to be or not,’ he says. ‘I would tell children that we are all inescapably part of history. Everything is a result of something that has gone before or will be in the future.’
Geoff Coughlin and Roger Dunsford
Geoff Coughlin and Roger Dunsford, the authors of Three in Thirteen, agree with the previous authors. Roger wants children to ‘Walk the ground/sea/air – visit the excellent locations that commemorate the history.’ Geoff agrees, proposing children should be able to live and create history, ‘And by getting them involved through visits and talks with those that were there for as long as possible. Also, through hobbies and pastimes with an historical element, like Scale Modelling Now.’
Penny Legg thinks ‘The best way to promote history to children is by living it. Bring history to life so that they can see it in action and try things for themselves. Thus, re-enactors can be tremendously influential on how children learn about history and museums should involve their visitors to stimulate interest. The rise of history festivals like those at Chalke Valley or the War and Peace Revival in Folkestone allow children to see, learn and absorb.’
Interestingly, every single one of our authors wanted children to experience history for themselves through activities and stories. History should not be portrayed as a minefield of dates, names, locations and stats, but rather an immersive experience in which children can feel connected to the past. With history being a constant well of incredible stories, it is important to promote and inspire young people to learn with the same zeal as each preceding generation.