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Creating interest in history

It is important that young people today learn about history, at the world, national and local level.

However, getting them passionate about long ago names and events in a textbook can sometimes be a difficult task.

Learning about the past does not need to be limited to traditional classroom lectures and texts.

Sometimes the seeds of interest can be planted by other means. For instance, many in younger generations did not appreciate the sacrifice of America’s World War II veterans at Omaha Beach on D-Day until they saw the opening scenes of Steven Spielberg’s film “Saving Private Ryan.”

While a film is no substitute alone and does not suffice for a thorough education of history, it can often serve as a starting point to an investigation of a subject for many.

Along those lines, an author has taken an approach to get young readers interested in history here in Lawrence County.

Kathy Cannon-Wiechman, of Cincinnati, has written novels for the Highlights Foundation, with the goal to “make history come alive for young readers.”

Her latest, “Not on Fifth Street,” is set against the backdrop of the 1937 in Ironton.
Based loosely on the stories of her father, who lived in the city at the time, and thoroughly researched locally, the book incorporates historical facts into the tale she has created about two young brothers dealing with the flood.

The 1937 flood was a major event, affecting towns from Pennsylvania to Missouri along the Ohio’s course and claimed hundreds of lives. But, 81 years removed from the present, its impact is not fully understood by many today.

Cannon-Wiechman’s book makes the story accessible, providing a vivid account of the disaster that struck Lawrence County and puts the readers at the scene.

We are thankful authors like her have made it their mission to bring history to today’s youth and we hope that it inspires readers in the area to further explore the rich history that took place in the area around them.