Each year, on the first day of school, nearly every history teacher faces the task of explaining why his or her students should study history. Many reasons have been given. One is that lessons exist in the past from which contemporary society can benefit and learn. Another is that exploration of the past allows us to see the origins of our customs, ideas, and institutions. Concepts such as democracy, ethnic conflict, or even things as trivial as fashion or mores, have historical roots. 

Reasons such as these impress few students, however. If anything, these explanations seem remote and dull to young minds. Yet history is anything but dull. And therein lies what is perhaps the most compelling reason for studying history: History is filled with great stories. The classic themes of literature and drama— love and sacrifice, hatred and revenge, injustice and betrayal, adversity and overcoming adversity – fill the pages of history books, feeding the imagination as well as any of the great works of fiction do. The story of the Children’s Crusade, for example, is one of the most tragic in history. In 1212 Crusader fever hit Europe.