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Working with the extract

This is an interesting account of how the writer came to write historical fiction. It explains her interest in storytelling and the need for happy endings. The writer's experience of storytelling as a child was very different from other children's. Her mother's stories were real and all about the horrors of growing up in Nazi Germany. These stories, although they were harrowing at times and the reality was harsh, did not frighten the writer. She wanted to know more and asked lots of questions. But being a child she also wanted happy endings. That feeling stayed with her into adulthood and so as a writer her published stories, although based on historical fact, use fiction in the quest for answers and truth.

Read and talk about this piece. Discuss the suitability of the writer's mother's stories for a small child. Are fairy stories free from violence and cruelty? Should children be protected from the harsh realities of the world? Do the pupils have any childhood memories of storytelling? Were there any stories that frightened them?

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