History, the Holocaust and children’s historical fiction

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 2013, the NSW Premier's Young People's History Prize was won by Australian novelist Jackie French's historical novel Pennies for Hitler. French's young adult novel, Dingo: The dog who conquered a continent, was also one of the three works shortlisted for the prize. No history/literary wars broke out over these historical novels. This article considers why children's historical fiction is considered 'good' (or 'good enough') history when so many adult historical novels are not. Beginning with a brief overview of the competing claims about the 'fictiveness' of history, this article then uses French's Pennies for Hitler as well as her novel Hitler's daughter (1999) as case studies to test what Australian children - French's main readership - would actually learn about Nazi Germany, the Holocaust and the Second World War from historical fiction. It concludes with a reflection about why the pleasures of childhood reading are denied adults, who are perhaps encouraged to treat history like work instead.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Children's historical fiction
  • The Holocaust
  • History


Dive into the research topics of 'History, the Holocaust and children’s historical fiction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this