Author, editor, and School Library Journal blogger Marc Aronson tackles the question of "fictionalizing nonfiction" in two separate posts at SLJ's Nonfiction Matters (Part I and Part II). I was hoping he would do this! I'm finding the articles must-reads so far. In Part II, Aronson writes,
But I mention this war of words to say that our concerns -- how much fiction can you put into history -- are embedded in a long, complex, and fascinating academic debate on very similar issues. One problem in children's literature, I believe, is that we look for a ruling, a policy, from a reviewer, a teacher, a librarian -- as if these were issues that could be resolved with mandates -- instead of realizing that what we do for younger readers links to big questions scholars have long wrestled with.
This is fascinating stuff. Until I read these posts, I wasn't thinking in bigger-picture terms. Now I'm thinking, "Of course!" and want to find several books (for adults) that Aronson mentions: Simon Schama's Dead Certainties and Aronson's own Beyond the Pale: New Essays for a New Era.