My publisher wants me to change something in a historical nonfiction picture book. They've got good reasons and it would definitely simplify things. Still, I'm hesitant to go beyond what I've already done (simplified some things, exaggerated others) to actually put a person where he wasn't, doing things he didn't do.
On the other hand, I've seen some large liberties taken in historical PBs that appear to be nonfiction. For instance, when I got to the end of AMELIA AND ELEANOR GO FOR A RIDE I was surprised to find out that the basic story never happened--that the one time Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart flew together in a plane, other people were present and Amelia wasn't even the pilot. And with THE CAMPING TRIP THAT CHANGED AMERICA, the author pretty much made up everything Roosevelt and Muir did and said, beyond the fact that they went camping in Yosemite.
I'm starting to think that parents, teachers, librarians, and reviewers don't look very closely at whether historical picture books are fiction or nonfiction. But what do you all think?