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Books categorized as 'Historical'

True Colors

True Colors coverTrue Colors by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock
Recommended for: Grades 4-6

A 2 day old baby was left on the doorstep of 63 year old Hannah Spooner’s house, wrapped in a tattered quilt. The tiny girl’s eyes were as blue as the quilt and that bright December day, so Hannah named her Blue. In this warm-hearted story set in a small Vermont town in the 1950’s, the reader feels 10 year old Blue’s longing to find out about her real family and who she really is. Life on the farm that summer becomes very busy as she searches for clues about her family, takes care of the cows and chickens, helps the town’s newspaper publisher, deals with bullies and tries to reconnect with a seemingly-changed best friend. The town is full of unforgettable characters who love Blue, but who also seem to have some secrets of their own. Blue’s journey is full of unexpected twists and turns, but what stays with the reader is the importance of family and love.

Reviewed by: Ms. Fisher

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Bo at Ballard Creek

Bo at Ballard Creek coverBo at Ballard Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill
Recommended for: Grades 3-6

It’s 1924 and imagine yourself living all the way up in the Alaska territory in Ballard Creek, a tiny village of gold miners and Eskimos. Blacksmith Arvid and Jack the camp cook, tough but tender-hearted miners, take in an abandoned baby girl and name her Bo. She grows up as a fun-loving tomboy who delights in her very interesting neighbors and the activities of her community. Bo learns the Eskimo language and customs, goes riding in a dog sled, learns wilderness survival skills and even gets chased by a bear. Her warm and loving family expands when they take in a mysterious lost little boy who doesn’t speak. Bo’s adventures will remind readers of the Little House series- it’s a real slice-of-life story with great details of life in pioneer days. Fascinating!

The author herself grew up in an Alaskan mining town and spends her time between her city house in Fairbanks, Alaska and in summer, her little house in a small village on the Yukon River.

Reviewed by:  Ms. Fisher

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One Dead Spy:The Life,Times, and Last Words of Nathan Hale, America’s Most Famous Spy

one dead spy coverOne Dead Spy by Nathan Hale
Recommended for: Grades 4-6

This is the first in a new graphic novel history series called Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales.  One Dead Spy is the story of the Revolutionary War soldier, Nathan Hale, who was captured by the British and hanged.  He is famous for having said, “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”  The story is told by Nathan, with comic relief supplied by the hangman and a British soldier.  The author picked a fascinating story from American history, and he tells it with a lot of humor, tons of facts and figures, and plenty of action.  If you like history and comics, you’ll love this book!  Also check out the second book in the series, Big Bad Ironclad! A Civil War Steamship Showdown.

Reviewed by: Mrs. Waring

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Heart of a Samurai

heart of a samurai coverHeart of a Samurai by Margi Preus
Recommended for: Grades 4 and up

The journey of Manjiro is an amazing one.  In 1841, the 14 year old is shipwrecked and stranded on an island with his Japanese fishermen peers.  Rescued by an American whaling ship, Manjiro learns English, and quickly becomes a surrogate son for the kind captain.  He travels to America and attends school in New England.  After living his formative years away from his home, he serves on another whaling ship with the hopes of making it back to Japan.
This book, based on the true story of Manjiro, was utterly fascinating.  I learned so much about Japanese history, whaling, and the power of curiosity and perseverance.

Reviewed by: Mrs. Waring

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War horse

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo
Recommended  for: Grades 4-7

Joey was a farm horse cared for by gentle Albert until Albert’s father sold Joey to the British cavalry during World War I.  Albert is too young to enlist but vows to find Joey when he is old enough to join.  During the war, Joey has many caretakers both kind and cruel. He suffers many losses & hardships and sees the terrible toll war takes on men and horses of both sides. Will he ever be reunited with his friend Albert?

Reviewed by: Mrs. McIntire

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Roberto and Me

Roberto and Me coverRoberto and Me by Dan Gutman
Recommended for: Grades 4-6

This is another book in the baseball time-travel series of Joe Stoshack (“Stosh”), who visits and tries to help well-known baseball players of the past. In Roberto and Me, Stosh goes back in time to help Roberto Clemente, a great humanitarian as well as ballplayer, who died while attempting to airlift supplies for earthquake victims in Nicaragua in 1972. Stosh goes back in time to warn Clemente not to get on the plane, which will crash, killing all people aboard. This book was enjoyable to read, as are all the books in this series. One difference in this book is that Stosh travels to the future in addition to the past. Read the book to find out what he discovers!

Reviewed by: Mrs. Teixeira

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Dead End in Norvelt

Dead End in Norvelt coverDead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
Recommended for: Grades 5 and up

2012 Newbery Award Winner
It all starts when poor Jack Gantos dooms his own summer fun by inadvertently firing his father’s Japanese rifle.  Next thing he knows, he’s in Miss Volker’s kitchen watching her melt her own hands!  Jack’s summer gets more and more interesting as he helps his father dig a fake bomb shelter, reads a series of history books, helps Miss Volker type up obituaries, and visits dead bodies at the morgue with his friend Bunny (all the while gushing blood from his nose).
Melding fact and bizarre fiction, this book is laugh-out loud funny, informative, and poignant.  Highly recommended for older boys who like history.

Reviewed by: Mrs. Waring

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Tulsa Burning

Tulsa Burning by Anna Myers
Recommended for Grades 5 and up

Fifteen year old Noble (Nobe) Chase grew up in a world of abuse and hatred.  Based on the Tulsa Race Riots of 1921, Anna Myers has woven a riveting story of a boy’s experience with the loss of his father (the abuser) and dog (shot in front of him by the sheriff). Nobe has to make hard choices to survive and to save his friend, an African American, from a KKK lynching.  This compelling story is a fast paced page-turner, that will put the reader right in the middle of the civil rights issues.

Reviewed by: Mrs. Baumgartner

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The Scrimshaw Ring

The Scrimshaw Ring by William Jaspersohn
Recommended for Grades 4 – 6

This book, from the Family Heritage Series, is based on a true story about Rhode Island in 1710.  William, an imaginative boy, tells many tales of pirates and sea dragons to his parents after his daily play along the shore.  When left alone with the cook one day, William experiences a real meeting with some gruesome pirates, and has an object to prove it to his parents.  Jaspersohn’s description of the pirates – right down to the smell and toenails, makes the reader grimace.  Well illustrated with paintings, this book is a great introduction to history and has an endpiece about the value of heirlooms to historians!

Reviewed by:  Mrs. Baumgartner

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Breaking Stalin’s Nose

Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin
Recommended for: Grades 4 and up

2012 Newbery honor book
Ten year-old Sasha Zaichik dreams of becoming a Young Pioneer and following in his father’s footsteps to become a good communist in the service of Comrade Stalin.  However, the night before the ceremony, their communal home’s doorbell rings, and his dad, a member of State Security (secret police), is suddenly arrested and taken away. In the course of a few hours, Sasha’s world turns upside down. Now, he himself is considered an enemy of the state.  This short chapter book has wonderfully atmospheric black and white illustrations, and is a page-turning thriller based on historical facts.

Reviewed by: Mrs. Teixeira

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