Saturday, April 28, 2012

Historical Fiction-Building the Bridge

"Inspired by a true story."  Don't you love when you see that on a book cover?  Curiosity takes over and building the bridge from fiction to true historical facts begins!

I just finished reading, An Elephant in the Garden, by Michael Morpurgo (the same author as Warhorse).  It is centered around Dresdan during World War II.  There was great concern about what would happen to the animals in the zoo if German bombers came to attack.  Would the larger animals be able to break out of their cages and roam out into the town?  The book is centered around one zookeepers decision to protect her family and an elephant during World War II.  The best part...the author encourages you at the end to Google the following..."Belfast, zoo, elephant, World War II."  What do you find?  A newspaper article written in March 2009 that shows a photo of the "mystery" woman and a story about the Belfast Zoo's 75th Anniversary in which managers are trying to identify the woman known as "the elephant angel."  


I am excited to not only share this article with my group of fourth graders, but to see the curiosity that develops from this event in history.  There is also a picture book that is inspired by this true event...warning...you will cry when reading it.  It is called, Faithful Elephants: A True Story of Animals, People, and War. The article, the picture book, and the novel...they create quite a bridge to our past!

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