When I was progressing through my Library Science courses on collection development, I remember the emphasis that was put on books with author notes. We were encouraged to look favorably on historical fiction books, biographies, and folktales, that included this back matter. When author notes are shared, the writer’s point of view is clarified. In addition, his or her credibility ranking trends upward.
Personally, I agree wholeheartedly with the inclusion of author notes. In fact, before the story ends, I always turn to this story for a first glance at these details. At the book’s conclusion, I re-read these notes with great interest. Sometimes my only regret is that there aren’t more primary sources referenced here. I would be happy to see a photo, diary entry, or even a map.
A few summers back, I enrolled in a course taught by personnel employed by the National Archives. The course title was “Teaching with Primary Sources”. Of all the courses, I have taken over the years, I can say this was one of my favorites. I am also very aware of how computers have made so many more primary sources available to us and all of it just a few clicks away.
In Flight of Arrows, Lori Benton’s author notes, delivered exactly what I was looking for at the story’s end. Her notes expanded my knowledge of the story’s setting and characters. I was ready to delve into more books about this time in our nation’s history.
I’m sure it’s not an easy decision to include back matter. Additional pages are costly and do readers really care? If it was up to me, I would never skimp on author notes. They are as important as great covers and quality bindings.