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Books categorized as 'Historical'

Jefferson’s Sons

jefferson's sons coverJefferson’s Sons by Kimberley Brubaker Bradley
Recommended for: Grades 4 – 7

This is the story of Jefferson’s slaves at Monticello.  Beverley and Madison are sons of Sally Hemings.  Jefferson has promised to free them at the age of 21. Sally is preparing her light-skinned children to live in the white world when they are freed.  But Jefferson is ageing – what will happen to his slave children if he dies before they turn 21?
Told in three parts by sons Beverley and Madison and another slave boy close to the Hemings family, Beverley and Madison love their father but puzzle at his words in the Constitution – all men are created equal.

Reviewed by: Mrs. McIntire

 

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The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog

inquisitors tale coverThe Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz
Recommended for: Grades 5 and up

“1242. On a dark night, travelers from across France cross paths at an inn and begin to tell stories of three children. Their adventures take them on a chase through France: they are taken captive by knights, sit alongside a king, and save the land from a farting dragon. On the run to escape prejudice and persecution and save precious and holy texts from being burned, their quest drives them forward to a final showdown at Mont Saint-Michel, where all will come to question if these children can perform the miracles of saints.” (Amazon.com) This book is so many things: funny, gross, gory, complex, informative, emotional, historical AND relevant to our times. It is truly an epic adventure.
2017 Newbery Honor Book

Reviewed by: Mrs. Waring

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Wolf Hollow

wolf hollow coverWolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
Recommended for: Grades 5-8

Annabelle lives a steady and peaceful life in rural Pennsylvania in 1943.  She helps her mother and father on the farm, and attends a one room schoolhouse with her younger brothers.  She and her family offer kindness and understanding to Toby, a quiet WWI veteran who wanders around town.  When mean Betty Glengarry moves to town, Annabelle’s world is turned upside down.  Betty’s nasty pranks cause injury and distress; eventually Betty herself goes missing and Toby is the one who is quickly blamed.  Annabelle is confronted with questions of secrets and trust, and grows up a lot over the course of this honest and sometimes brutal story.

Reviewed by: Mrs. Waring

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The War That Saved My Life

war that saved my life coverThe War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Recommended for Grades 4 and up

Ada and her younger brother Jamie lived in a flat in a poor part of London during World War II.  Their single mother, ashamed of Ada’s club foot, abused her and would not let her outside.  Jamie, on the other hand, had run of the neighborhood.  When children were being evacuated from London to live in the country for fear that the Germans would bomb the city, Ada secretly escaped her mother’s imprisonment and went with Jamie.  A woman named Susan Smith, who knew nothing about children, agreed under duress to take them in.  The placement was awkward for all involved, but they adjusted, made strides, and started to feel comfortable just when war broke out all around.  This book will grab you and you won’t want to put it down.  There are surprises and double twists right up to the ending.  The audiobook is also extremely well done.

Reviewed by: Mrs. Baumgartner

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Echo

echo coverEcho by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Recommended for: Grades 5-8

5 stories – told in a variety of folktale, fantasy, and historical fiction – are woven together in this moving novel. How does one enchanted harmonica tie together the fates of Otto, Friedrich, Mike, and Ivy? Each of their stories is full of love, loss, and the power of music. This imaginative book just won a Newbery honor and an Odyssey honor for best children’s audiobook. If you are a musician this book will really speak to you. Fans of good storytelling and historical fiction will love it, too.

Reviewed by: Mrs. Waring

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Full Cicada Moon

full cicada moon coverFull Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton
Recommended for: Grades 5 – 8

Mimi and her family move from California to rural Vermont where her father is a professor at the local college. Mimi feels she is an outsider in her new home. She is part Japanese and part African American. She has “boyish” interests – she wants to become an astronaut, enter the science competition and take shop. Mimi struggles to fit in, yet refuses to conform or back down from her interests. Mimi navigates her way through all her problems with grace, even though sometimes they anger her.
This novel in verse is simply and beautifully written.

Reviewed by: Mrs. McIntire

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The Hired Girl

hired girl coverThe Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz
Recommended for: Grades 6-9

14 year old Joan Skraggs longs for a life of literature and knowledge, but is stuck cooking and cleaning for her father and brothers on their early 1900s Pennsylvania farm. When her father burns her books as punishment, she runs away to Baltimore, and is taken in by a well-off Jewish family as their hired girl. In her new home she learns about faith, house-keeping, literature, art, and love. Joan’s personality shines through in this novel which is written in first person point of view as her diary. She is a complex and realistic teenager: impetuous, smart, kind, and naïve. By the end of the novel you will have made a good friend that you don’t want to leave.

Reviewed by: Mrs. Waring

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Murphy, Gold Rush Dog

Murphy, Gold Rush Dog by Alison Hart
Grades 3 – 6

Murphy escapes from his cruel owner, and the harsh conditions of being a sled dog pulling supplies to Nome, Alaska.  Murphy encounters Sally and her Mama, also new to Nome, and stays with them.
The Gold Rush is drawing all sorts to Nome, and daily life is very dangerous and hard.  Sally’s Mama soon feels they should return to San Francisco, but Sally, who has saved some money of her own, sets out with Murphy to stake her own claim to mine for gold so that they can stay in Alaska.  Sally and Murphy encounter harsh weather and many dangers while on their own, including an encounter with Murphy’s previous owner.  Will they even be able to make it back to Nome? I loved  this exciting adventure of a determined young girl and her loyal dog.

Reviewed by: Mrs. McIntire

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Murder is Bad Manners

murder is bad manners cover imageMurder is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens
Recommended for: Grades 5-7

Hazel Wong and Daisy Wells are best friends and students at a British boarding school in the 1930s. They love reading mysteries and dream of becoming detectives themselves. When Hazel finds a dead body in the school gym, their dream comes true. But as their hunt for the murderer continues, Hazel is not sure she has what it takes to solve deadly mysteries or put up with her bossy friend Daisy. This is a cozy British mystery that also touches upon feelings of being an outsider (Hazel comes to the school from Hong Kong and deals with a certain amount of racism from her schoolmates) and the complexity of friendship. I couldn’t put it down both because I wanted to see “whodunnit,” and I wanted to see how Hazel would stand up to Daisy. Hopefully, more Wells & Wong mysteries will be coming soon!

Reviewed by: Mrs. Waring

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The Year We Sailed the Sun

the year we sailed the sun coverThe Year We Sailed the Sun by Theresa Nelson
Recommended for: Grades 4-7

The year is 1912 and Julia Delaney is being sent to The House of Mercy orphanage with her sister Mary.  Their brother Bill swears to the girls that he’ll come for them soon, but trouble with the local gang is slowing him down.  The story moves easily between Julia’s struggle to keep the family together and the web of corruption that spreads over the whole city because of Mr. Egan and his Rats.  Fans of historical fiction will love this one.

Reviewed by: Mrs. White

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