Literary Genres: Historical Fiction

Adler, David and Michael.  A PICTURE BOOK OF SAMUEL ADAMS.  Illus. Ronald Himler.
	New York: Holiday House, 2005.  ISBN 0-8234-1846-4 hb. $16.95   Gr. 3-5   Juv FIC

                Words and illustrations work together in this introductory book to give a child a lively 
overview of the extraordinary life of the patriot, Sam Adams.  Beginning with his birth, and ending 
with his governorship and death, the text propels the reader through the dawn of the American Revolution.
	Mary Olmsted, Librarian, Tahquamenon Falls School Library, Newberry, MI

Adler, David A.  ONE YELLOW DAFFODIL: A HANUKKAH STORY.  Illus. by Lloyd Bloom.
    San Diego:  Harcourt, 1995.  unp.  0-15-202094-2 pb. $6.00    Gr. 2-8+      FIC  or    E

     Morris Kaplan lives a secluded life as a florist who is generous with his flowers.  Two children often buy flowers on their way home from school.  One day, when he gives them extra flowers for Hanukkah, their mother invites him to celebrate with them.  He explains that he hasn't celebrated the Sabbath or Hanukkah since he was a small boy in Poland.  The children insist and he celebrates with them.  Eventually, he explains how he lost his family in the holocaust and how a flower saved his life.  Readers are satisfied with the realistic ending and know that flowers saved his life again.  This is a picture book suitable for older students and adults.  It makes an excellent read-aloud wherever the holocaust is studied, even in junior and even senior high schools.  Adler's picture book is a Hanukkah story which provides information about that holiday but it is also a Holocaust story.   Libraries which do not have the hardcover edition, should own  the paperback.
     Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center

Barrow, Randi. SAVING ZASHA.New York:  Scholastic Press,  2011.  229p.
ISBN 978-0-545-20632-7 hc. $16.99     Gr. 4-7    J FIC

In the aftermath of World War II, brothers Nikolai, Mikhail, who live on a farm in rural Russia, find a wounded soldier and his German Shepherd. Anything German is hated by Russians after the war; the brutality of the German soldiers and the hardships suffered in the war. Saving Zasha, the last German Shepard in Russia, is dangerous. The boys, their sister, and mother court disaster if discovered, to save one of a breed whose numbers were decimated by starvation, abandonment, illness and service in the military. The storyline will interest dog lovers while they learn about a part of history not found in their history books. This would be a good gift and an excellent choice for large or small library collections.
Barb Ward, Retired Children’s Librarian, Dickinson County Library, Iron Mountain, MI

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010.  48p. ISBN 978-0547225708 hb. $17.99  Gr. 3-6   J FIC

      Before even reading the first page of this book, the cover grabs your interest.  The book presents “cures” for illness such as coughs, colds, sore throat, wounds, stomachaches, headaches, and fever.  Reachers get a choice of three cures for each ailment, and then guess which one worked on the patient.   Information on the following page reveals the actual cure and the reason for its success.  Beccia is also the illustrator of this unconventional book for upper elementary readers.  The humorous illustrations let readers enjoy the gross subject matter without getting squemish.  This book is full of science and historical information, making it a study in pure fun
Mary Koshorek, Librarian, Spies Public Library, Menominee, MI

 Brood, Arthur.  THE MUD, 2007.  116p.
            ISBN 9780-9494851 pbk. $6.99    Gr. 3 - 6    JUV     

            Take a trip back in time to 1912, when the automobile was quite an oddity,
to join Henry and Robert in their money-making venture of pulling cars out of the mud hole near the family farm.  Henry comes up with the idea to feed water into the mud hole, keeping it from drying up and extending his chances to make more money.  He also jumps at the chance to see autos close up and talk to the owners.  Eventually, Henry finds that there are consequences to dishonest behavior, but it doesn't diminish his love of the automobile. 
            Anyone with mechanical interests will thoroughly enjoy this book.  There is a "Did You Know?" section at the end of each chapter with facts about autos of the time period.  The double-spaced text makes reading very easy and the vocabulary is well suited to the 8-12 year old audience, especially boys.
Lynette Suckow, Youth Services, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI

Cheng, Andrea.  THE LACE DOWRY.  Asheville, NC: Front Street, 2005.  113p.
             ISBN 1-932425-20-9; hb., $16.95.   Gr 5-8   Juv.

              Andrea Cheng’s The Lace Dowry is set in 1933 Hungary.  My first impression was that this is the kind of story adults choose, but that bores kids.  My impression, was not as harsh by the end of the story, but I don’t see this as ever being a popular read.  Cheng does address some universal coming of age issues: establishing an identity separate from one’s parents, combating mean peers, trying to imagine one’s future.  The slice of historic Hungary is interesting.  Cheng compares an urban family that is just rising into a middle class with a rural family that is struggling as it produces beautiful lace traditionally made in Halas, Hungary.
            Ellen Moore, Library Assistant, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI

    Illus. by Bonnie Christensen.  Boston: Houghton, 1999.  63p. 0-395-91208-3 hb.
    $15.00.  98-11912.  Gr. 4-8+    FIC

    This prose poem is written as the journal of a 13-year-old boy who accompanies his father from their farm in Tennessee to the Confederate army and subsequently into the battle of Gettysburg where the father is killed..  Then he goes home to tell his mother.  The words provide a picture of life on a nineteenth century farm, the tedium and horror of war, and the sense of personal and collective  loss.  The language is poetical, the imagery is rich, and the wood engravings evocative of the period.  Even though the vocabulary is not typical of a boy his age, it does not seem incongruous.  A map showing the journey from Silver Bluff, TN to Gettysburg, PA and the afterword explaining the battles and the place of young soldiers in the Civil War are informative.  Use this book with Hesse's OUT OF THE DUST  (Scholastic, 1997) as a model of  prose poetry writing for students to follow in their own writing.  Read the book aloud to teach the concept of  prose poetry, to bring the Civil War to life for history classes, or just for a good read aloud.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Cullen, Lynn.  NELLY IN THE WILDERNESS.  New York: Harper, 2002.  184p.
    0-06-029133-8; hb. $15,95  0-06-029134-6 lib.bdg., $15.89     Gr. 4-8     FIC

    Eleven-year-old Nelly Vandorn who lives in the Indiana wilderness near Fort Wayne in 1821 with her older brother and parents, loses her mother.  When her father goes off, men at the fort tell Cornelius that their father has probably gone off to start a new family.  When their father returns with a young bride, the siblings make a pact to make Margery’s life miserable.  This is not difficult because Margery, a professor’s daughter, is inept and cannot translate what she reads into practical action.  When Margery becomes pregnant their worst fears are realized.  There is lots of action in the book.  John Chapman stops by several times and saves Nelly’s life, Pa gives her a “critter” to love but the mountain lion cub soon becomes too big to handle, Cornelius goes to the forbidden fort to be near a girl, Nelly has a yearning to learn to read, and ttle by little Margery becomes part of their lives until tragedy strikes.  This is a satisfying book about the hardships of frontier and pioneer life.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Curtis, Christopher Paul.  ELIJAH OF BUXTON.  New York:  Scholastic Inc., 2007.               
        341p.  ISBN 10-0439-02344-0 hb. $16.99     J FIC     Gr. 5-8.

        Through the small adventures of Elijah Freeman's everyday life, the author interjects bits of black history, new to most American readers because the story takes place near Windsor, Canada in the settlement of Buxton.  This settlement consists of freed slaves who have escaped from plantations in the southern states.  Elijah has the title of being the first baby from Buxton born into freedom.  The story is written as Elijah’s narrative, in a southern dialect similar to what a former slave would be expected to sound like.
        The stories in each chapter are quite humorous.  When Elijah plays a joke on his mother by using her dislike of frogs against her, she comes up with an equally sneaky prank for him.  Curtis develops his characters well, especially the Preacher, whose integrity is questionable from chapter to chapter.  This story will hold the interest of older elementary readers and gets very exciting toward the end.  Curtis, author of two Newbery award books, THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM and BUD, NOT BUDDY lives up to his storytelling reputation.
        Lynette Suckow, Youth Services, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI

 Donaldson, Joan.  A PEBBLE AND A PEN.  New York:  Holiday, 2000.
    157p.  0-8234-1500-7; hb., $15.95.   00-21777    Gr. 5-12     FIC

    This is an unusual historical fiction book about a subject for which readers will have little prior knowledge.  According to the Author’s Note, Platt Rogers Spencer was a famous master “penman” from the mid 19th century who lived in Ashtabula, Ohio and was called “The Father of American Penmanship.”  Spencer taught penmanship in his seminary to young men who intended to be clerks or copiers in a day when all business entries had to be made by hand with pen and quill.  Matty was harassed by the male pupils and her only friend was Phineas who disappointed her at the 4th of July dance by drinking.  This bothered Matty because her father was an alcoholic and Mr. Spencer was a reformed alcoholic and active temperance member who did not allow drink on his farm and would dismiss any student who did so.   If Matty does not tell Phineas’ secret he won’t reveal hers.
    When fourteen-year-old Matilda, Matty, received her eighth-grade diploma, her mother wanted her to get married because she now had more education than most girls of that time.  However, Matty was not interested in marrying the widower with seven children whom her mother was pushing on her.  With a written recommendation from her teacher and help from her brother, Matty ran away from their Michigan farm and went to Mr. Spencer’s seminary.  During her stay at the seminary, Matty was afraid her mother will find her and make her come home.  Then Matty received a letter from her brother, Abe, asking her to come home for an emergency,  Matty has a decision to make.  Will Matty give up her dreams?
    Donaldson creates an authentic setting for her story and the physical book is adorned with penmanship examples of Latin mottoes complete with designs.  There is a bibliography.   Sometimes the old world tone of this book may not appeal to all readers but those who enjoy it will learn more about those times.  The author lives in Fennville, MI and the main character was from Manlius, Michigan so the book fits into Michigan collections.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center

Durbin, William. THE DARKEST EVENING.  New York: Orchard Books, 2004.
    ISBN 0439373077 hb. $15.95     Grades 6+    Juv. Fic.

    Marxist recruiters come to Fintown, Minnesota boasting of utopia that is just waiting to begin in Karelia, Russia, a Communist-Finnish state.  With hopes of a better future for the family, 12-year-old Jake Maki emigrates there with his idealistic Finnish-American parents and sister. Being very skeptical of the promises made, Jake fights with his parents to try to convince them to stay in Minnesota.  And when the family arrives in Karelia, Jake isn't surprised to find that promises were not fulfilled.  Housing proved to be inadequate and they find themselves dealing with a slow, complicated bureaucratic government to which they voice their concerns.  Then, “The Red broom" starts to “sweep away” potential enemies of the state. After Jake’s father and brother are swept away, Jake knows immediately that he is obligated to find a way for the rest of the family out of the country.  As his mother grieves the loss of her husband and son, Jake and his sister care for her and the home until their courageous escape.  This adventure will appeal to readers who enjoy stories of courage under hardship.  This is an important work for middle and high school libraries and public libraries in the upper Midwest.
    Amy Becker, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI

Durbin, William.  THE SONG OF SAMPO LAKE.  New York: Lamb/Random,
    2002.  217p.  0-385-32731-5; hb., $15.95  2001-008617  Gr. 4-8    FIC

    Fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “The Little House” books will enjoy this book about homesteading in the early 1900s.  Matti Ojala’s Finnish immigrant family finally makes enough money from working in the iron mines so they can purchase a farm to homestead even though it is rocky and swampy.   The nearby lake is called Sampo Lake in honor of the Finnish National Epic, the Kalevala, which weaves itself through the story.  Conflicts in Matti’s life are the death of his favorite uncle and working on the farm even though Timo is the oldest son who will inherit the farm.  Durbin fills his books with colorful characters and this book is no exception. Black Jack, a bachelor, is one such unique character.
    To learn more about Durbin, consult his website at   Durbin’s next book is about disenchanted Finnish-Americans who traveled to Karelia during the Great Depression.  Although Durbin is not Finnish, he lives in Minnesota where, like Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, there is a high Finnish population.  The book will be extremely popular in those areas and in Washington state where Holm’s OUR ONLY MAY AMELIA (Harper, 1999) is popular and in iron mining areas in Michigan and Minnesota where THE JOURNAL OF OTTO PELTONEN: A FINNISH IMMIGRANT  (Scholastic, 2000) is popular.   Finnish customs like Midsummer and saunas are a natural part of the book.  There is a three-page glossary of Finnish words like “sisu” which means “strength, courage, tenacity, and integrity.”  Matti and his family certainly have plenty of that.  Readers don’t have to be of Finnish descent to appreciate this book.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

    My Name is America series.  New York:  Scholastic, 2002.  169p.
    0-439-15306-9 hb. $10.95   Gr. 4-9     FIC

    Durbin hooks his readers in the first paragraphs by describing an unusual cure for a snakebite suffered by the protagonist.  The setting is the Jackson family farm in the Oklahoma panhandle in Cimarron County beginning April 7, 1935.  Told in the first person by a teenage boy, readers leave Oklahoma for California with the Jackson family.
    Dust permeates every phase of this book until readers can feel and taste it.  Durbin weaves statistics and details seamlessly into the text.  For example, Durbin shares Burma-Shave signs into the text by having family members choose their favorite one and he lists the pittance each family member makes for picking fruit in their effort to get money to pay taxes on the farm so they can return some day.  There is a strong sense of home and family in this book.  Family members have dimension to them and readers will sympathize with C. J. when his grandfather dies and when his father has to go to jail for defending his youngest son.
    Much of what happens in the book is distressing, like the practice of advertising plentiful jobs so orchard owners have a surplus of workers and can pay less as well as the child labor customs. Other interesting topics include: jackrabbits, crop failures, windmills, Hoovervilles, discrimination against Okies, strikes, a Federal camp, Model-Ts, Route 66, radio programs and movies, and Steinbeck and Zane Grey.  This realistic picture of what life was like in the 1930s will be useful for providing a glimpse into an economically distressing part of our history.  Use in the classroom with Koller’s NOTHING TO FEAR (Harcourt, 1991) which also has a male protagonist and Hesse’s Newbery winner, OUT OF THE DUST (Scholastic, 1997)     which has female protagonists.  Peck’s Newbery honor book, A LONG WAY FROM CHICAGO (Penguin, 1998), and Newbery winner, A YEAR DOWN YONDER (Penguin, 2000), have a similar time frame but do not provide the same type of overt historical details.  Peck’s A LONG WAY FROM CHICAGO (Penguin, 1998) and A YEAR DOWN YONDER (Penguin, 2000) provide a less distressing view of the depression in Illinois.  An auto road atlas of Route 66 folds out at the end of the book.  Seven pages of black and white photos complete this book in a similar manner to other books in the series that are listed.  The “Historical Note” is also informative.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

    HIBBING, MN, 1905.  Dear America series.  New York: Scholastic, 2000.  173p.
    0-439-09254-X; $10.95     00-21919    Gr. 3-7    FIC

    This diary begins May 2, 1905 when fourteen-year-old Otto Peltonen, his mother, and two younger sisters leave Finland for America to join their father and husband in Hibbing, MN and it ends Oct. 1, 1907.  Readers learn about working conditions on the Mesaba Range, living in a company town, why areas where people live around mines are called locations, low wages, bribing for good positions in the mine, providing their own supplies, strikes, strrikebreakers, blacklisting, injuries, deaths, why Finns were branded as radicals, as well as socialism, education, the status of women’s suffrage, and temperance.
    Upper Peninsula residents will identify with the community sauna, reading aloud from Tupa Tales, fishing for whitefish and walleye, dear hunting, picking blueberries, Juhannus Day celebrations, and eating pulla and cardamom rolls.  Scandinavians will eagerly look for family names like Almquist, Halonen, Haskenen, Heikkila, Jarvvela, Karo, Kerkkoonen, Koohala, Koskela, Lahti, Lamppa, Laurila, Lehtimaki, Makela, Maki, Mattson, Nurmi, Rasmussen, Sippolaa, Swenson, and Vallinmaki.  Over a dozen black and white period photos and maps locating the Mesaba Range and Hibbing add to the value of this book.
    Information is included about the author, an educator who lives in Hibbing, who has written three historical fiction books, one of which has won several regional awards.  Fourth grade teachers in Michigan can use this book to help students understand historical iron mining.  If small libraries in the Great Lakes area cannot afford all the books in this series, they must purchase this one.  In public libraries where retired miners are patrons, librarians should suggest this book to seniors for family reading and discussion.  Library budgets in the Upper Peninsula and Minnesota mining communities discussion.  Library budgets in the Upper Peninsula and Minnesota mining communities should stretch to more than one copy if possible.  DON’T MISS THIS ONE.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI
    32 years of experience as school library media specialist
    24 of those years in a mining town, 11 years in a school built using part of the Mather B Mine.

    RAILROAD WORKER.  My Name is America series.  New York:  Scholastic, 1999. 190p.
    0-439-04994-6; hb., $10.95.  098-47705    Gr. 3-7   FIC

    Durbin makes the drudgery and excitement of building the transcontinental railroad come alive through the diary of a fifteen-year-old Irish boy.  Sean's diary is a gift from his mother who had died in childbirth several years previously while his father was off fighting in the Civil War.  The diary begins on August 6, 1867 in Omaha, Nebraska after Sean leaves his brother, aunt, and uncle in Chicago and joins his father who is a  track boss for the Union Pacific Railroad.  Readers learn about a varietiy of jobs as Sean experiences them: water boy, dish swabber, butcher, grader, snake hunter, snow shoveler, and spiker.  One particularly gross job was to wash the tin plates that were nailed to the tables.  Sean swiped them with a wet rag between shifts and didn't have time to get all germs that gathered around the nailhead.  Sometimes in their haste, men walked on the tables to come and go.
    Danger is not minimized and there is enough grossness to spice up the story: scalpings, nitroglycerin accidents, fights in shanty towns and between the Irish and Chinese, frostbite, shoddy workmanship, derailments, runaway flatcars, explosions to deliberately kill Chinese workers, laying tracks over the grave of a young girl, the scandal of railroad barons who are cheating the government, and a kidnapping.
    Durbin does not avoid the drinking, womanizing, and fighting of the railroad workers but does not elaborate on those happenings.  Even Sean's father, not a drinking man, gets drunk on his wedding anniversary and gets into a fight the same day the next year.   Durbin also does not avoid the racial tensions of the time.  Although Sean mentions the feelings of workers, including his father, about the Indians; it is tempered by remembering his mother remind her husband that the Indians were here first.  Feelings of the time against the Chinese workers is also tempered by Sean's observations that maybe the Irish are jealous that the Chinese accomplish more with their smooth steady work habits, boiling water for tea and avoiding diarrhea, and ability to stay neat and clean compared with the white workers.
    Incidents are told with humor.  The letters from his brother in Chicago describing events at school, especially with his geography teacher, are especially humorous.  When Sean cleans out the "Lincoln Car,' a passenger car once used by the president, he says "I told myself that if anyone ever invited me to stay in a fine place like this, I would be polite enough to pick up after myself."  When he meets Brigham Young he says "And everyone says that Brigham Young's home is as big as a hotel.  No wonder, with all those wives."
    A number of famous people pass through the story.  "Today was the third anniversary of President Lincoln's assassination.  The men who served in the Union army were more quiet than usual."  "We just heard that the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson failed by a single vote.  For the last week the telegraph wires have been humming with news of Johnson's trial."  Gen Jack Casement, who is on the job supervising the construction, pays the workers out of his own pocket when Durant is late.  Generals Grant and Sherman (under whom Sean's father served during the Civil War) passed through on their way to "straighten out the financial mess that Durant has got the U.P. into and work out a peace treaty with Red Cloud at the same time."   A bet between Charlie Crocker and Thomas Durant is made about which team can lay tracks the fastest and Leland Stanford and Durant both missing their spikes at the joining of the rails ceremony in Promontory, Utah.  Readers also learn the secret of how Buffalo Bill could be a perfect marksman.
    Information is imparted with a poetic turn of the phrase.  On his way home,  Sean says,  "It used to take a half a year to sail the eighteen thousand miles from New York to San Francisco, but these iron ribbons can take a man across the whole country in only a week."
    A scaled map of the route of the Union Pacific Railroad across Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah is included.  The epilogue makes the characters seem even more real as readers learn how Sean, John, and their father and others spendthe rest of their lives.  The epilogue touches on the Northern Pacific Railroad, Chicago Fire, George Pullman, Eugene Debs, and Cyrus McCormick, topics of further study for students. A section called "Life in America in 1867" compares the transcontinental railroad with space flight, the importance of the telegraph in sending the golden spike message to cities in the U.S. and describes their celebrations, the vision of Theodore Judah, and the politicking and graft of the "Big Four" including the Credit Mobilier, and the concept of Manifest Destiny.  As usual in this series, period maps, drawings and photos help readers understand the historical events.
    Michigan librarians will be interested to know that the main railroad timbers were shipped in from their forests.  Pair this book with Yep's Newbery Honor Book,  DRAGON'S GATE (Harper, 1993), about a Chinese boy's role in building the railroad.  This well researched, well written account of the building of the transcontinental railroad from the viewpoint of a young worker is highly recommended for school and public libraries.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center

Erdrich, Louise.  THE BIRCHBARK HOUSE.  New York:  Hyperion, 1999.  244p.  
      0-7868-0300-2; hb. $17.99    0-7868-2241-4 lib.bdg.   Gr. 4-6+    FIC   PAULIN'S PICKS

      Told in the style of Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" books, this is the story of Omakayas, a 7-year-old Anishinabe girl (Chippewa/Ojibwa), who lived in 1847 on an island in Lake Superior off the coast of present day Minnesota..  In searching her family tree, the author found roots on Madeline Island and found the name of the heroine, Oh-MAY-kay-ahs in an old census.  The story begins with a brief passage about a girl child who is the only survivor of smallpox which killed everyone in her village.  The chapters take Omakayas, Little Frog, through seasons of the year and readers share in the activities of Anishinabeg family life: making a birchbark house; scraping a moose hide; making makazins; keeping birds from eating the corn; picking heartberries; gathering wild rice; and sugaring maple.  Customs are also woven into the total book: giving of names; offering tobacco as thanks; caring for infants; recounting visions and dreams; eating habits; and honoring plants and animal life.  A variety of wildlife from the woodlands habitat find themselves part of the story: a striped snake; squirrel; raccoon; crow; moose; bears; and a one horned deer.  Readers feel they know the heroine because they share experiences with her:  meeting bears; enjoying her pet crow, Andeg;  caring for her baby brother; tolerating her pesky younger brother; surviving another smallpox epidemic and mourning the loss of a family member;  learning to write her name in Zhaganashimowin, the white man's language;  having a vision; accepting her vocation as a healer; and learning the story of herself.  Erdrich does an excellent job of presenting the supporting characters; readers feel that they know this Anishinabeg family by their description, or own words, and actions.  Father, Deyde, tells stories, plays chess with his French father's set, wears a fancy earring, is gone part of the year, and chops wood for his family even though he is ill.  The older sister, Angeline, breaks the small mirror when she sees her face after having smallpox.  Pinch, the pesky younger brother is constantly in trouble but brings laughter, into their lives after the terrible winter.  Grandmother says "the soul of the Anishinabeg is made of laughter.  If there is no laughter, the soul dies."   Nakomas, Grandma, tells stories and shares her medicine.   Old Tallow, an eccentric, weaves her way through the book until she tells Omakayas a story which ties up all the loose ends of book and binds those two characters together.  Even the other members of the tribe appear to be real people.   The author's pencil sketches of Deyde and Old Tallow dispel preconceived notions what the Anishinabeg looked like and the text provides a real picture of a native family during the middle of the 17th century.
      Erdrich weaves several legends into the book with the same grace that Yep includes a story in STARFISHER (Morrow, 1991).  Deyde tells a ghost story, Grandma tells a story about her grandparents and one about how Nanabozho and Muskrat make an island, and Old Tallow tells a personal story.  Read stories aloud about  Manabozho/Nanabozho, from Leekley's classic THE WORLD OF MANABOZHO: TALES OF THE CHIPPEWA INDIANS (Vanguard, 1965, op) and have students enjoy Greene's MANABOZHO'S GIFTS (Houghton Mifflin, 1994). Which hopefully will be published in a paperback edition. A glossary and pronunciation guide of Ojibwa terms is helpful.  The end papers include a map of the island and another showing it's relationship to Lake Superior.
      Teachers and librarians, especially in the Great Lake States where there are Chippewa/Ojibwa, will be excited about this book.   Every fourth grade teacher who is responsible for Michigan history, and similar teachers in Wisconsin and Minnesota, will want to have a copy of this book to read aloud to students.  Every Upper Peninsula school and public library should own this book because the setting is so close and boundaries are artificial.   But this is not just a book with local color, it is a book that brings a native family to life so that children can appreciate the Anishinabeg who were here before the white man came.  Although Erdrich has written winning books for adults, this is her first book for children; may she write many more.  This book is a winner!  Place your order today.
     Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center

Frederick, Heather Vogel.  THE VOYAGE OF PATIENCE GOODSPEED. New York:  
    Simon & Schuster, 2002.  224 p.  0-689-84851-X; hb., $16.00    2001-049039    Gr.4-6    FIC

    Twelve-year-old Patience Goodspeed and her six-year-old brother lost their mother.  Now their father, Captain of the Morning Star, wants to take them on a whaling trip from Nantucket around Cape Horn.  Patience does not want to go along but would rather stay and study with Ms. Mitchell, the librarian/astronomist.  Papa's sister, Aunt Anne, gave her a journal that she begins in October, 1835 and ends in January of 1836. Even before they left port the children had a run-in with sailors Binyon and Todd, whom Thad renamed Bunion and Toad.  Numerous clashes with the men foreshadow their involvement in a mutiny.  On her thirteenth birthday, Patience opens the sextant sent along with the ship by Aunt Anne and Patience learns to use it to fix longitude using charts, the PRACTICAL NAVIGATOR, and the NAUTICAL ALMANAC.  Her biscuit baking and mathematical computations come in handy when the ship is taken over by mutineers.  Recipes for Patience's biscuits and Glum's Gingersnaps are included.  Although a 37-word glossary appears at the end of the book, many terms are also explained within the text.   "And thus began our first gam, what whalemen call a visit at sea...the captains and their boat crews would visit on one ship, while the mates and their crews gammed on the other."   There is a lot of information packed into this novel but it is integrated into the story in an interesting and unobtrusive manner.  This book compares favorably with Avi's Newbery Honor Book, THE TRUE CONFESSIONS OF CHARLOTTE DOYLE (Jackson/Orchard, 1990) in which Charlotte, thirteen years old, weathers a mutiny in the Atlantic in 1832.
     Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center

Gauch, Patricia Lee.  AARON AND THE GREEN MOUNTAIN BOYS. Illus. by Margot Tomes.  
    Honesdale, PA:  Boyds Mill Press, 2005.  64p. ISBN: 1-59078-335-2  hb.$16.95   Gr. 9-12   FIC

    Nine-year-old Aaron wished for the role of soldier in the fight against the British in 1977.  When the news reached his New England village that the British were advancing, his grandfather put him to work chopping wood to fuel the bread-baking ovens so the Green Mountain Boys and farmers could be fed. The tale, enhanced by pen and ink drawings,is based on a true story and stresses the importance of all contributions toward a worthy cause.
    Judy Bennett, Ironwood Carnegie Library Clerk

.  Dear America Series.  New York: Scholastic, Inc. 1996, 178 Pages.
      ISBN 978-0-545-23802-1, hb. $12.99.   Gr. 5-8,    Juv. FIC

      Abigail lives with her family in Valley Forge during the Ameican Revolution. A fine blend of fiction with true historical events and figures, the hardships and horrors of war are depicted without being sensational or macabre. Abigail's diary begins as a journal of normal daily life in 1777, the birth of a fragile tiny brother, and glimpses into life in the 18th century. Normal life ends abruptly when General George Washington brings his broken, starving army to Valley Forge to rest and recoup. Abigail, her family and neighbors are horrified at the conditions of the emaciated troops who are dressed in rags, bare feet leaving bloody trails in the snow. They witness the hangings of deserters and the devastating sight of soldiers with limbs being amputated without benefit of anestetic. Abigail and her family don't back away from the sacrifices and deprivations that war on their doorstep brings, and are true patriots.  This is a worthy edition in the Dear America series; perhaps there is more to be learned in this kind of fiction than in many history books.
Barb Ward, Retired Children’s Librarian, Dickinson County Library

    Boston, MA:  Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004.  226p.  ISBN: 0618434232
    $17.00 hb.   Gr. 5+     JUV FIC

    Prospero's daughter, Lavinia, with the talent like no other painter her father has ever worked with, longs for him to recognize this talent.  Lavinia, born a girl, is not the boy her father wanted to uphold his painting legacy. Lavinia uses one of her father's students to help reveal her paintings.  Once the truth is out, Lavinia must also get past the gender prejudices of others. What a wonderful book! Very well written and researched.  Hawes does a fantastic job of showing how a girl's life was very different  in the 1500's. I could not put the book down until the very end.  The words used by Hawes to describe Lavinia's fear about her mother's pending pregnancy made me believe I was transported five hundred years back in time. The author uses powerful vocabulary when Prospero gives Lavinia an ultimatum and she stands up for herself.  Bravo, Louise Hawes and thank you!
    Jan St.Germain, Director, Richmond Township Library

Heisel, Sharon E.  PRECIOUS GOLD, PRECIOUS JADE.  New York: Holiday,
    2000. 186p.   0-8234-1432-9; hb., $16.95.    98-27876     Gr. 4-7     FIC

    Told in the first person by 14-year-old Angelena, this story takes place at the end of the gold rush in Bounty, on Bunkum Creek in the Rogue River Valley.   Although no specific state is given, the author bio on the blurb states that the author  “.. lives near an Oregon town with strong historical connections to both the gold rush and Chinese immigration.”   The central conflict begins when Angelina and her younger sister, Evangeline, make friends with a Chinese girl named An Li, whose name is changed to Leeana in school.   This tolerance of Leena strains Angelina’s friendship with her best friend Liza and her relationship with her uncle and brother who become involved in racism and harassment which leads to murder.
    Through Angelina and her family, readers learn about a frontier school, courting, the role of children in society, family loyalty, friendship, and racism.   Information is also given about the reasons why the Chinese came to America, their religion, food, poetry, language, writing, death, and burial customs, and even about jade.  Authenticity is lent to the period with colloquialisms like “dang, tarnation, full of grit, skedaddle, all-fired, and biggest toad in the puddle.”  According to the author’s note, the Chinese immigrants were called Celestials “because China was known as the Celestial Empire.”  Without being didactic, Heisel talks about the similarities in families by comparing common traits in mothers and similarities between religions by comparing a Catholic church and Taoist temple.  The child’s eye view is very realistic and the characters are true to their time.  The setting, in terms of time and place, are realistic.  Difficulties for friendship across cultures, dangers from bobcats and snakes, murder, arson, and racism give excitement to the plot. This book has a female protagonist whereas Laurence Yep’s DRAGON’S GATE (Harper, 1994; Trophy pb.) and other books in his series, have male main characters.  Both provide upper elementary and middle school students with realistic descriptions of the relationship between the Caucasian and Eurasian immigrants in the U.S. during of the 1800s.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center

 Helgerson, Joseph.  CROWS & CARDS.  New York:  Houghton Mifflin Co., 2009.
278p. ISBN 978-0-618-88395-0  hb. $16.00   Gr. 5-10    J FIC

             When he was twelve, Zeb’s father decided that the time had come for him to learn a trade. His suggestions are unpalatable to Zeb, who is somewhat allergic to work as well as the slivers he might encounter as a cooper (barrel maker). After he finds excuses to avoid working as a blacksmith, a livery boy and a preacher, Pa decides to find him work as a cabin boy on a steamer. There Zeb’s adventures begin. He takes up with a coniving riverboat gambler, meets an Indian who becomes a friend and has adventures to rival those of Huck Finn. Helgerson includes an afterword which explains the need for an apprenticeship in the 1800’s, and other historical information about living at that time. An early Americana dictionary explains the many colloquialisms in the book.  Folksy, fun and an adventure that will resonate with boys.
Barb Ward, Retired Children’s Librarian, Dickinson County Library

Hemphill, Kris.  A SECRET PARTY IN BOSTON HARBOR.  New York:  Silver Moon, 1998.  
    Illus. by John Martin and Dan Van Pelt. 88 p.   1-881889-88-2;hb., $13.95      Gr. 5-8     FIC

    For many middle grade students the historical event known as The Boston Tea Party is a vaguely interesting, but not clearly understood part of U.S. colonial history. If those same students read this book, they will live through not only the Boston Tea Party on that dramatic and frightening night, but also understand the events, emotions, and reasons that led to it.  The story is told through the eyes of eleven year old Sarah Turner, whose father owns a coffee house in Boston. There is enough drama (witness to murder), mystery (the reappearance of Sarah's scarf and ominous threatening notes), romance (with young Sam Adams), and suspense (the danger of Sarah disguising herself and participating in the tea dumping) to keep middle grade readers interested as they learn about and understand the circumstances thatbrought about this important historical event.  This  book is durably and attractively bound with a glossy picture of Sarah in front of a colonial ship and would make a valuable addition to a classroom collection of books that makes historical events understandable and accessible to middle grade students (grades 5-8).
    Ragene Henry, teacher, Sawyer Elementary, Gwinn Public Schools, Gwinn, MI

Henry, Ragene. AN ENDURING CHRISTMAS (MARQUETTE, MICHIGAN, 1850.) Cover art by
    Kathrine Waters. Marquette, MI:  Chickadee Press, 1999. 64p.  0-9670743-1-2 pb. $6.95    Gr. 3-5

    Based on a real happening in the early days of Marquette (December, 1850), Henry has written a gripping historical fiction story about Frannie and her six-year-old sister, Ellie, who live in a settlement on Lake Superior, newly renamed for Father Jacques Marquette, a French missionary priest.  This and other background information is seamlessly woven into the text.
    There is no sugar to make pull-taffy (recipe included at the end of the book); in fact supplies are dwindling and finally the residents realize that if the supply ship does not come soon, they will starve.  The men decide to kill the horses rather than let them starve.  They plan to keep most of the meat for the settlers but send some with several unmarried men (including Peter White for whom Marquette’s public library is named) who will travel overland by snowshoe to bring back provisions from Green Bay, WI.  That trip takes three hours one way by car today but had not been undertaken by white men at that time so it was a dangerous long shot.
    Frannie knows something is wrong.   Her mother frequently and wistfully looks toward the bay, there is nothing sweet to put on her porridge, and her parents talk in whispers.  Because of her sleuthing, Frannie learns of the survival plan and hides her old horse, Ben.  Frannie does not even tell her best friend, Lucy.   The plot hinges on Frannie’s dilemma as well as whether or not the supplies will come by land or lake in time to save the starving settlers.
    This book was written for Marquette’s Sesquicentennial celebration by Henry, a teacher in a nearby school system; author of THE TIME OF THE SHINING ROCKS. (Chickadee, 1999.)   After working with area students, Henry selected drawings by six middle and high school students to illustrate the book.  This carefully crafted book has enough detail to transport readers into the 19th century but not too much to overwhelm them.  The book flows well making it suitable for reading aloud during any season to students studying pioneer units but especially appropriate in December because the book ends happily at Christmas time.   The vocabulary is well within the range of fourth grade independent readers who study Michigan History.  A teacher’s guide for the book is: FROM SAPPHIRES TO STARVINIG HORSES:  A TEACHER’S GUIDE TO THE TIME OF THE SHINING ROCKS and AN ENDURING CHRISTMAS by Buzzo, Henry, and Turner. (Chickadee Press, 2000).
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center

Henry, Ragene.  THE TIME OF THE COPPER MOON.  Marquette, MI:
    Chickadee Press,  2001. 115p.  0-9670743-2-0 pb.  $9.95    Gr. 2-6    FIC

    Libby's friend Samantha talks her into attending Ms. Sullivan's HISTORY ALIVE! meeting where she is surprised to find herself in a gifted and talented program.  Libby's is not surprised to find that her nemesis, Nathan Westlake, is a member of the GT group but she is surprised that Ms. Sullivan wants her to be part of the group.  The project involves each student choosing a person, researching them, and then pretending to be that person.  Samantha wants to choose Charlotte Kawbawgum, a local Native American but Ms. Sullivan tells her that Libby needs to learn something new and since she has already given a report on Charlotte, she should choose another person.  Libby's experience traveling back in time to when iron ore was discovered in Michigan and meets Charlotte is told in THE TIME OF THE SHINING ROCKS (Chickadee, 1999).  In this new book, Libby does not travel alone; Nathan goes with her because they become entangled in the broken mirror and a flag that transports them back in time.  The two find themselves in the middle of a 1913 strike in a copper mine in Calumet, MI and Libby meets Big Annie, the woman whom she has picked for her report.  The tragic events at a Christmas party at the Italian Hall are part of the book.  This reviewer knows what happened at the party so the impact of the events is not as shocking as it would be to readers who do not know about this actual event.  At the end of the book Henry provides a bibliography, author's notes, and photos of the area.  Henry’s second time travel book and her third book help to bring history alive to intermediate and middle school readers.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center

Henry, Ragene.  THE TIME OF THE SHINING ROCKS.  Marquette, MI: Chickadee Press,
    1999. 80p.   0-9670743-0-4 pb.  $9.95   Gr. 2-6  FIC   Snowbound Books:  906-228-4448

    The author, a teacher with a reputation for excellence, has written a well-crafted time travel book in which a girl goes back in time to the birthplace of the discovery of iron ore in the Midwest. Using a school field trip as a vehicle, Henry explains the circumstances of the discovery of Iron ore through background information imparted by the teacher prior to, and during, the field trip.  The class visits the pyramid monument in a Negaunee park where it has been moved from the original location where an Ojibwa leader showed Everett and his men the location of the “shining rocks.”  A picture of that monument, as well as pictures of Marji Gesick, Charlotte and her husband Charles Kasbawgum; appear at the end of the book with a glossary of Ojibwa words and Charlotte’s report.  An author’s note provides further information about blending local history and historical fiction.
    Adult writer, Robert Traver (a Michigan Judge named Voelker,) wrote a historical fiction book, LAUGHING WHITEFISH (St. Martin’s, 1965), which is based on a real court case in which Charlotte Kawbawgum sued the mining company for the rights for a share of the profits.  Her claim was based on a paper given to her father which gave him shares in the original Jackson Mine.  Although the case was decided in her favor, Charlotte received no money.  An important outcome of that trial was that it was the first Michigan case to recognize  Native American traditions in a court of law, especially marriage customs.
    Henry uses questions from students to share information painlessly.  For example, Libby mispronounces Marji Gesick as Marching Geeses--giving the teacher the chance to pronounce it right for her, the class, and the readers.  The class know-it-all wants to know why the teacher calls Marji Gesick an Ojibwa chief and the plaque on the monument says he was a Chippewa which enables readers to learn that information also.  Because Marji Gesick had a daughter, Charlotte, there is someone Libby’s age to encounter when she travels back in time.  The vehicle for Libby’s time travel occurs when she climbs the monument and her sapphire birthstone ring and the silvery stone of the monument shine together to blind her while she innocently chants one of her many rhyming phrases:   “Michigian-swishigan, history-twistory, Spaark-ily park-ily.”  After her adventure, it is not easy to return back in her own time, but when she does, she is unconscious from falling off the monument.  Her time travel gives Libby a greater appreciation of an Ojibwa diorama at the Marquette Historical Society as well as gives her special insight when writing her report.
    Henry wrote this book because, although Michigan history books devote much time to the automobile industry, only a sentence, if any,  is devoted to the iron ore from which they are made.  This book is a boon to fourth grade Michigan History teachers who want to convey a sense of history in an interesting manner.  A teacher’s guide, available to help teachers achieve state writing standards while using the book, is FROM SAPPHIRES TO STARVING HORSES:  A TEACHER’S GUIDE TO THE TIME OF THE SHINING ROCKS and AN ENDURING CHRISTMAS by Buzzo, Henry, and Turner.  (Chickadee Press, 2000).
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center

Hess, Karen.  WITNESS.  New York:  Scholastic, 2001.  161p.  0-439-27199-1;
    hb., $16.95   00-054139    Gr. 4-8+   FIC      PAULIN’S PICK

    Written in the poetic style of her Newbery winner, OUT OF THE DUST (1997), Hess has produced another winner.  The large cast of characters and use of multiple voices is reminiscent of Wolff's BAT 6  (Scholastic, 1998) but Hess makes them more diverse and with separate identities so readers can more easily differentiate them.  Hess provides another identification aid by introducing characters before the first act with a picture, their name, and age.  The story takes place in 1924 in a small Vermont town in which inhabitants become involved with both sides of the KKK.  A 12-year-old African-American girl, a 6-year-old Jewish girl, and an 18-year-old Caucasian boy interact with a variety of adults.  Activities of the KKK become “up close and personal” when they infiltrate the everyday lives of ordinary people in a small town.  The adjective that best describes the impact of this book is "powerful."  This book is even more gripping that Hess’ Newbery winner.  Place this book at the top of your list.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center

Holm, Jennifer L.  BOSTON JANE:  AN ADVENTURE.  New York:  HarperCollins, 288p.  
    0-06-028739-X; $16.95  0-06-028739-X lib.bdg. $16.89    0-06-440849-3; pb., $6.99   Gr. 5-9   FIC

    Jane Peck is not from Boston at all!  It is 1849, and Jane is living in Philadelphia, with her widowed father.  She is an unruly 11-year-old, throwing rotten apples, spitting with accurate aim, and loving her housekeeper’s cherry pie.  When a young medical student comes to live temporarily at their house, Jane is enamored.  When William mentions that she should be more ladylike, Jane enrolls herself in Miss Hepplewhite’s Young Ladies’ Academy, where she learns manners, embroidery, calling etiquette, etc.  Jane does well!   Meanwhile, her father is asking her what she is doing with her mind.   William goes away to the Oregon frontier and he and Jane occasionally correspond but when Jane is sixteen, he writes and asks her to marry him.  Thus follows the story of a sea voyage that takes180 days.  When Jane arrives in Shoalwater Bay, her fiancé is not there.  Jane is the only white woman, desperately trying to be a lady, living in a tent, with no clothes (cows have eaten them), fleas, visible ankles, etc.  As she faces all these daunting problems, she cites passages from The Young Ladies Companion, memorized from her days with Miss Hepplewhite. This is what makes this book unique, the transformation of a Victorian lady into a self-sufficient woman.  As it turns out, William needed a wife in order to file a claim, and when Jane did not show up, he married an Indian woman.  Jane discovers that William is not the man she has waited for all these years, and the men who have been helping her adapt to the frontier are the real treasures.  Holm provides a neat look at what was expected of women in the 1800s . . .and how the women of the frontier had to throw that by the wayside.
    Charlotte A. Wuepper, Media Specialist; Upton Middle School, St. Joseph, Michigan

Holm, Jennifer L.  BOSTON JANE: AN ADVENTURE  (4 audiocassettes)  New York: Listening
    Library, 2001.  6 hrs.15 min.  0-8072-0465-X; audio cassettes, $26.00.  Read by Jessalyn Gilsig.  Unabridged.

    Holm, author of the Newbery Honor Book, OUR ONLY MAY AMELIA (Harper, 2000) has created another feisty heroine in Boston Jane. The Chinook Indians in the Washington Territory call everyone from the East coast “Boston” because the first white people they ever saw were from Boston.  Jane has left her father in Philadelphia to join her fiancé, William, who had apprenticed to her father, a doctor.  Her father did not approve of her going by boat trip to Washington Territory.  Jane missed the first ship because her wedding dress was not finished, her maid died on the terrible ocean voyage, and when she arrived, William was not there.  A sailor from the ship was interested in her but she remained true to William.  While she waited for William she had to live with a group of crude men who offended everything she had learned at Miss Hepplewhite’s Young Ladies’ Academy.  Holm cleverly weaves in quotes from her text, The Young Ladies Companion, whenever Jane is in doubt about appropriate behavior and this ties the book together.  .
    Gilsig creates a very believable Jane and gives her the vitality that readers expect of the character.  She also provides voices to other characters that are appropriate and add to understanding the text.   Holm’s fast paced book with crisp dialogue and colorful characters comes alive on these cassettes. This is a good addition to school and public library audio collections.
    Mary Ann Paulin, Director, Superiorland Preview Center

Holm, Jennifer.  BOSTON JANE:  WILDERNESS DAYS.  New York: HarperCollins,  2002.  242p.  
    0-06-029043-9; hb., $16.99   0-06-029044-7; lib.bdg., $18.89   2002-1473     Gr. 5+      FIC

    In this sequel to BOSTON JANE: AN ADVENTURE (Harper, 2001), Holm continues Jane’s saga with the Chinook Indians and early settlers in Washington State in the middle 1850s.  This is a fast paced book with lots of action and readers are intrigued about what comes next.  In the first book, Jane came all the way from Philadelphia to marry William, a handsome doctor, but learned that he is not in Shoal Water Bay and has  betrayed her.  Jane arrived in April and the sequel begins in September after Jane has survived under primitive conditions and among crude men.  Her ladylike sensibilities, learned at in Miss Hepplewhite’s Young Ladies’ Academy, have been offended.
    Jane learns that her father has passed away and she goes into a funk that only locking her out of the cabin in a rainstorm can solve.  Jehu Scudder, the sailor she met on her sea voyage returns.  In the last book, Jane could not accept his attentions because she had a fiancé.   Now she rejects him because she attributes William’s greedy motives to him.  Jane is not a good judge of character and thinks a several times murderer is a “gentleman” because of his manners and clothing.  The hidden message, that “clothes do not make the man,” is absorbed by readers without being didactic.  Holm has the ability to create unique characters, crisp dialogue, and fast paced action.   Having Jane share her new friends with another “lady” is bad enough but the shock to readers on the last page will have them eagerly looking for the next installment.
    Mary Ann Paulin, Director, Superiorland Preview Center

Holm, Jennifer L.  OUR ONLY MAY AMELIA.  New York: HarperCollins, 1999.  253p.
    0-06-027822-6; hb., $15.95   0-06-4408566; pb., $4.95    Gr.  3-8    FIC         PAULIN'S PICKS

    Although this book was set in Washington state in 1899, it could have taken place in Michigan's Upper Peninsula or Northern Minnesota because it is about a Finnish-American farming and logging family.  Also familiar is a river for fishing and fun and a body of water large enough to accommodate a sea captain and his ship.  The narrator is May Amelia,  a 12-year-old tomboy in a family of seven brothers, one of whom is really a cousin.  The author used a great-aunt's diary to lend authenticity to her setting but used her own experiences (as a tomboy  growing up with four brothers) to put flesh on this first person narrative.
    Although everyone "is conspiring to make me a Proper Young Lady," May says "I do not think being a Proper Young Lady sounds like any fun at all."   May makes her own fun which often turns into mischief and sometimes gets her in trouble, like when she stepped in a animal  trap set by cousin Kaarlo, her nemeses.  Readers share May's secret place, commiserate with her when her papa is hard on her because she is a girl, understand her relationships with the boys in her family, worry about the brother who has a non-Finnish girlfriend, work with sheep named for neighbors, gillnet with an uncle, look forward to a new baby, and confront death.
    May Amelia has as much in common with Becky Thatcher, Caddie Woodlawn, Jo March, and Laura Ingalls as she does with Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, and Harry Potter.  She is spunky, or as the Finnish say, she has SISU, guts.   Besides being the only girl in her family, May is also the only girl her own age for miles around.  May has added responsibilities because a new baby is on the way and her birthday wish is that it will be a girl.
    Besides her parents and brothers, May has an extended family:  a storytelling sea captain uncle and his wife who comes to help out before the birth the new baby;  her maiden Aunt Alice who is spunky in her own right and who and shares city life with May; a witch of a grandmother, ironically named Patience; and numerous neighbors.  Although this seems like a lot of characters to keep track of, Holm provides a sense of who they are.
    Although there have been many books written about pioneer girls, this book has  a Finnish flavor as Holm smoothly interjects Finnish food, customs like the sauna, and Finnish first and last names into the story.  The vintage photos that begin each chapter add to the sense of time and place.  Readers will be curious to know whether or not they are family photos or just period ones.
    Fourth grade teachers of Michigan history can appropriate this book the same way they did Louise Erdrich's THE BIRCHBARK HOUSE.   (Hyperion, 1999) about an Ojibwa girl who lives along Lake Superior in Wisconsin.  This is an excellent example of historical fiction that can be read aloud to students or read by students in grades 3-8.  Holm's first novel should be owned by every Upper Peninsula  library and will make an excellent gift recommendation.
    Mary Ann Paulin, Director, Superiorland Preview Center
    *This book won a 2000 Newbery Honor book citation .

Houston, Julian.  NEW BOY.  New York:  Houghton Mifflin, 2005. 282p.
    ISBN:  978-0618-43253-0  hb. $16.00   YA Fic

    Rob Garret was living in Virginia during the 1950s when race relations were contentious and dangerous in the US.  Rob's parents were professional Negroes (as they were called then) who could afford to send 15-year-old Rob to an all-white Draper prep school in Connecticut. In acquiescing to attend the Northern school, he saw himself as a pioneer, a sort of Jackie Robinson. Cousin Gwen who lived in Harlem was his closest family member; she provided sensible advice and a comfortable place to visit during school holidays.
    While there was less overt segregation in the North, Rob quickly encountered ethnic prejudice in the boorish treatment of his newly-made acquaintance, Italian Vinnie, by several of the more privileged students. Cousin Gwen's advice of keeping out of trouble by keeping to himself worked well for Rob, but left him longing for home and friends.
    Woven into the story are facts about the Harlem jazz clubs, especially the famous Apollo and its rhythm and blues revues.  During Rob's Christmas vacation, he became involved in the anti-segregation movement beginning in the South. He learned about the sit-in at the Woolworth's lunch counter and wanted to become a part of that movement.  The story closely parallels the biography of the author, Julian Houston, who also grew up in Richmond, Virginia and attended school in Connecticut. He was a civil rights organizer in Harlem and is now an associate justice of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts.  This historical novel is an excellent resource for acquainting today's young people with the turmoil of integration in the 50s.
    Judy Bennett,  Ironwood Carnegie Library, Ironwood, MI

Hurst, Carol Otis.  YOU COME TO YOKUM.  Illus. by Kay Life.  Boston:  Houghton Mifflin, 2005. 
            137p.  ISBN: 978-0-618-55122-4  hb. $15.00.      Gr. 5-8   Juv Fic

            This story of a family embarking on a new life as innkeepers during the early 1920's is a delightful tale that enlightens and educates readers on life during this critical junction in American history.  Frank and Jim Carlyle are 10 and 12 years old when their father and uncle decide to take on the venture of running a large hunting lodge on Yokum Pond in upstate New York.  Their mother, actively involved in the women's suffrage movement, and the boy's aunt are more reluctant to about this new venture, but follow their husbands dutifully. 
            Young readers will find the story of the father's first attempts at driving an automobile hilarious and may be surprised that their mother is the one who becomes more comfortable with this new mode of transportation.  Their mother's involvement in securing the woman's right to vote sometimes proves embarrassing to the boys but at the same time, they are quietly proud of their mother's convictions and courage.  Frank and Jim have to go to a new school and readers will learn that fitting in as newcomers to a small school is no different in 1921 than today.  The hard work of running a lodge combined with the opportunities for adventures living in a wilderness area are good lessons for young Frank and Jim.  The story has a surprising and sad conclusion but it fits with the reality of life during this period when medical knowledge and medications were very limited.   Carol Otis Hurst is the author of several books set in different periods of American history, all of which have been very positively reviewed.  The accompanying pencil-drawn illustrations by Kay Life complement the story and help readers' picture the characters and their adventures.
            Mary Cary Crawford, Retired Library Director, Escanaba Public Library

Kerwin, Anna.  LADY OF PALENQUE:  FLOWER OF BACAL.  The Royal Diaries series. 
    New York:  Scholastic, Inc., 2004. 196p.  0-439-40971-3 hb. $10.95   Gr. 4-8   JUV FIC

    Based on factual information, The Royal Diaries bring the reader into to world of ancient Bacal, a part of the Mayan empire in 749 A.D.  The story is confusing at first because the character and place names do not use the phonetic rules of English.  They are distracting for the first two chapters; then readers will become engrossed in the story of Princess Green Jay and her adventure.  The story covers the long and physically demanding journey through jungle and across water to a neighboring kingdom where the princess will marry a king to form a political alliance.  There is historical information, a glossary, and photographs in the back of the book.  This is a great story from a great series.
    Lynette Suckow, Youth Services, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI

Kinsey-Warnock, Natalie.  A DOCTOR LIKE PAPA.  Illus by James Bernardin. New York: HarperCollins,
    2002.  73p.  0-06-029319-5 hb.  $14.95   0-06-029320-9  lib.bdg.  $14.89     Gr. 2-5     FIC

    Eleven-year-old Margaret finally gets permission from her mother to accompany her father on his doctoring rounds.  The year is 1918 when women were not doctors, when Margaret’s young uncle comes home from World War a changed man, and during an influenza epidemic.  Margaret’s experiences are realistic and intriguing but gruesome.  The setting is Vermont apple country.   This chapter book moves at a fast pace and provides a view of those times.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Kinsey-Warnock, Natalie.  LUMBER CAMP LIBRARY.  Illus. James Bernardin. New York:
     HarperCollins, 2002.  87p.  0-06-029321-7; hb., $14.95    2001-039684    Gr. K-4      FIC

     Eight-year-old Ruby loves her father, a lumberman, and when he dies she is devastated.  They sell their piano and move to town where she continues going to school until she has to give it up to help her family.  When she tries to trade raspberry pies for books, she gets a delightful surprise.  Her goal of becoming a teacher also has unexpected results.  Although this book is set in Vermont in 1912, it could have been set during lumbering days in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, in Wisconsin, Minnesota,  Washington, or Oregon.  The story is fast paced, the characters are well drawn, and the vocabulary is easy to read but not simplistic.  This historical fiction story, in the tradition of the Little House books, is an excellent chapter book for primary school readers or  intermediate remedial readers.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Lasky, Kathryn.  MARIE ANTOINETTE: PRINCESS OF VERSAILLES. Royal Diaries series.
    New York:  Scholastic, 2000  235p.  ISBN 0-429-0766-8 hb. $10.95   Gr. 4-8+       J FIC

    On January 1, 1769, thirteen-year-old Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna, daughter of Empress Maria Theresa of the Holy Roman Empire, begins her diary.  Readers learn about her proxy marriage to the Louis Auguste, the Dauphin or heir to the throne of France, who will become King  Louis XVI.  When she goes to France to marry the Dauphin in person a month later, she finds an overweight pimply fifteen-year-old who would rather work with the Royal locksmith in the forge than become involved with palace intrigue which involves the King's mistress Madame Du Barry and the refusal of his wife and Louis' three aunts to acknowledge her at court.  A bit of foreshadowing occurs when the porcelain head of a figurine smashes into pieces when it falls off Maria’s bureau in Austria and when she sees dead family members in the hall of mirrors at Versailles.   At the end of the book there is a historical note explaining how and why Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI were guillotined.  A family tree for the Hapsburg-Bourbon dynasty and pictures of people and places are included.  Readers will be interested to know that modern princesses are not the only ones who don't have any privacy.  In Marie’s case, she was watched when she dressed and when she gave birth to her children.  Readers learn about life at Schonbrunn and Versailles in the sixteenth century.  The book is an interesting read for anyone but it is especially recommended for French classes.  Other books in the Scholastic series are Lasky's ELIZABETH I:  RED ROSE OF THE HOUSE OF TUDOR (1999), Gregory's CLEOPATRA VII:  DAUGHTER OF THE NILE (1999), and Meyer's ISABEL:  JEWEL OF CASTILE (2000).
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center

Lester, Julius.  PHAROAH’S DAUGHTER.  San Diego, Silver Whistle/Harcourt,
    2000.  182p.   0-15-201826-3 hb.  $17.00      Gr. 6-10.   FIC

    In this fictional account of the early life of Moses the Pharaohs daughter, Meryetamun, rescues Moses from the Pharaoh’s order to kill all Hebrew baby boys and decides to raise him as her own.  However, Almah, Moses’ sister, observes the rescue and follows Meryetamun to the palace and offers her mother to nurse the baby.  Almah ends up being adopted by the Pharaoh and is thrilled to be a part of palace life.  The story was meticulously researched in an attempt to show what Egypt was actually like more than three thousand years ago.  The names given in the story are an approximation of what they might have been.   Moses’ name is actually “Thutmosis” in Egyptian and “Habiru” in Hebrew.  There is an interesting twist to the biblical story.  Almah becomes totally Egyptianized  and even becomes a priestess in the Egyptian religion while the Pharaoh’s daughter gradually becomes more sympathetic to Hebrew ways and eventually goes with Moses to Sinai to become the biblical “Miriam”.  The author states in his notes at the end of the book that he wants to show that the negative picture of ancient Egypt given in the book of Exodus is not historically accurate.  Unfortunately, the character development is shallow and transitions too pat.   Almah’s immediate delight in palace life is very rosy despite the bloodbath that has just taken place with the soldiers killing baby boys in her hometown.  The story is told in the first person from the perspective of Almah and Moses but there is an overuse of  “I” that interferes with the flow of the story. There is an excellent glossary and bibliography that even includes websites.   It’s best use is for the historical content.
    Barbara Berry; retired school library-media specialist

 Maguire, Gregory.  THE GOOD LIAR.  New York: Clarion, 1995; 1999.
    129p.  0-395-90697-0; hb., $15.00    98-1981     Gr. 3-7       FIC

     The vehicle for telling this story which takes place during the Nazi occupation of France is a letter by three girls who have a class project to interview someone who lived during World War II.  The girls interviewed some "old ladies with blue hair" but found their comments limited.  Then they saw an artist on TV and wrote to him.  The text of the book is the letter Mr. Delarue sends to the girls, telling them about his childhood with his two brothers when they were 8, 10, and 12-year old boys in a small occupied French town and their interaction with a German soldier and two Jewish refugees.   Despite this contrived vehicle, the story is interesting and the twist at the end is unexpected but plausible.  Fat Marcel, the letter writer, and his brothers make up stories just for the sake of seeing who can tell the biggest lies but they find that their mother is the best liar of them all, even though she has not entered their contest.
     Mary Ann Paulin, Director, Superiorland Preview Center
     Author of 3 publications about Holocaust materials; developer of Holocaust bibliographies;

MacPhail, Catherine. UNDERWORLD.  New York: Bloomsbury, 2005.  284p.
          ISBN: 9781582349978 hb. $16.95.     Gr. 6-10      Juv.

           Is it just a legend or is it true?  The five students on a  school field trip to the wild islands off of the coast of Scotland wonder if the "worm" living in the caves they are now trapped in is lurking near by. This story is interspersed with text of a WWII German soldier trapped in the same caves so many years ago.  The student's ordeal and how they deal with one another keeps the reader in suspense until the end of the story.  The author is from Scotland and the text contains "English" words some readers may be unfamiliar with. This story will appeal to middle school students.  This book is the first U.S. edition.
          Denise Engel, Wakefield, Public Library, Wakefield, MI

MacCall, Michaela. PRISONERS IN THE PALACE. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books,
        2010.  362p. ISBN: 978-0-8118-7300-0 hb. $16.99.   Gr. 6-8   JUV

        This is a very delightfully written book about they young Princess Victoria. The story loosely chronicles the year before Victoria's coronation and how her mother and her mother's comptroller controlled and manipulated her. The story is based on many documented facts, however, the main character, Elizabeth Hastings, is completely fictional. The story details the life of a maid in a Royal Victorian palace. Rich with mystery and suspense, this story gives an enjoyable look into Victorian Royalty and allows the reader to see Queen Victoria as a regular person before she was the queen.
        Melissa Coyne, Patron, Munising School Public Library, Munising, MI

Meyer, Carolyn.  ANASTASIA:  THE LAST GRAND DUCHESS. The Royal Diaries series.  
    New York:  Scholastic, 2000. 220p.  0-439-12908-7; hb. $10.95.      Gr. 4-7     FIC

    This is Meyer’s second diary in the Royal Diaries series, set off by the gold edging on the pages.  The other book was about Isabella of Castille, known for bankrolling Columbus.  Anastasia’s diary begins after the Winter Ball in January, 1914 given by the Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna Romanov in honor of her four granddaughters.  Through the diaries, readers learn about the royal princesses and their royal life, their father’s abilities as a war leader and Tsar, their brother’s hemophilia, their mother’s relationship with Rasputin, World War I, and the Russian Revolution.  The diary ends on May 6/19, 1918 before they are taken to “The House of Special Purpose” where, according to the epilogue, they are executed on July 17.  The epilogue also explains that Alexi and one of the grand duchesses were missing and shares information about Anna Anderson who died before DNA testing could determine if she really was Anastasia.
    Helpful back matter includes an epilogue, which explains life in Russia in 1914, a historical note, a Romanov family tree, information about the Russian language and calendar, a glossary of characters, and an author biography.   Black and white photographs show the family, palaces, Rasputin, and finally President Yeltsin at the burial ceremony of the remains of the Tsar Nicholas II in 1998.
    Tanaka and Breuster’s ANASTASIA’S ALBUM (Hyperion, 1997) uses excerpts from Anastasia’s letters and photos taken by Anastasia.   The two books work well with each other but if you can only choose one, the album is outstanding.   Although it is reported in this title that Anna Anderson’s DNA test after her death shows that she was not Anastasia, this fact does not appear in the Meyer book.  The Royal diaries are useful to bring history to life but in this case, the album has already done so admirably.  However, those with funds to purchase all the diaries in this series will wish to do so because of popular demand.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center

Montgomery, Claire and Monte.  HUBERT INVENTS THE WHEEL. Illus. by Jeff Shelly.  New York:
    Walker & Company, 2005.  184p.   ISBN: 0-8027-8990-0 hb. $16.95    Gr. 4-7    Juv Fic

            HUBERT INVENTS THE WHEEL is a very funny look at inventions; how new technology can change a culture; and the historical significance of something as simple as a wheel. When Hubert invents the wheel in ancient Sumeria, it takes everyone awhile to realize it would be best used as a rolling object instead of a round piece of furniture.  Young readers, between the age of 8 and 13, will find this book funny and entertaining.  
            Melissa Coyne, Patron/Volunteer, Tahquamenon Area Library, Newberry, MI

Myers, Anna.  ASSASSIN.  New York:  Walker &Ccompany, 2005.  212p.
ISBN 0-8027-8987 hb. $16.95    Gr. 7-11   YA FIC

        Myers uses historical fiction to transport readers into the 1860’s during the Civil War and the presidency of Abraham Lincoln.  The author reveals the events of Lincoln’s assassination through the eyes of Arabella Getchel, a fourteen year old White House seamstress, and John Wilkes Booth, a zealous Confederate.  Arabella moonlights at the costume department at Ford’s Theatre, where she eventually meets the actor, Booth.  The very different perspectives of the two characters, told in alternating chapters, keeps readers involved in the whole story.   Readers who want to more history of the Civil War era and President Lincoln’s assassination, should read the nonfiction publication of GOOD BROTHER, BAD BROTHER:  THE STORY OF EDWIN BOOTH AND JOHN WILKES BOOTH (2005).
        Lynette Suckow, Youth Services, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI

Myers, Anna.  TULSA BURNING.   New York: Walker and Company, 2002.  152p.
    0-8027-8829-7 hb. $16.95   2002-23457   Gr. 6-9   FIC

    Growing up poor in Oklahoma in the early 20th century, fifteen-year-old Noble Chase works hard to help his parents eke out a living and learn what it means to be a man.  Left penniless when his abusive, alcoholic father dies; Noble and his mother move into the home of the local sheriff to care for his invalid wife and their large home.  However, Noble is acutely aware of the sheriff’s interest in his mother and of his cruelty and bigotry.  Noble’s best friend is Isaac – a young black man who lived with his kind mother in their well-kept house.  Isaac, a college graduate, now works in the “Black Wall Street” of nearby Tulsa.  When Noble learns that Isaac is seriously injured while attempting to halt a lynching at the start of a riot, he risks his own life to rescue him.  In the process, he witnesses the destructive effects of racism.
    The author’s note at the end of the book gives a brief overview of the horrific Tulsa race riot of 1921.  When it was over, more than 1000 African-American homes and businesses were destroyed.  The death toll was never accurately determined, though estimates place it between 27 and 250 people, mostly African-American.  This book sheds light on a relatively unknown, terrible incident of American history.  It captures the prevailing attitudes of the time.  It explores the best and worst of people.  Characters stay true to their personalities, even if they are unpleasant.  This is a good choice for middle school.
    Maureen Booth; Library Media Specialist, Southfield High School, Southfield (MI) 

Orlev, Uri.  RUN, BOY, RUN.  Translated by Hillel Halkin.  Boston, MA:  Houghton Mifflin 
    Co., 2003.  106p.  0-618-16465-0 hb.  $15.00   Gr. 6-10   YA FIC

    Based on a true story of a nine-year-old boy who escapes the Warsaw Ghetto, this story tells what it's like to be a child during World War II.  Srulik is a Jewish boy whose father prepares him for inevitable separation from his family by giving him a Polish name.  His travels take him through the region under the protection of several caring adults who believe he is a Polish orphan.  When they find out he is Jewish, they send him on his way again to save themselves from persecution.
    This story exhausts the reader because Srulik is constantly on the run.  It brought out a point that few readers today would think about; Jewish boys were circumcised, which made it easy to identify them.   Jewish girls had no physical differences and were more likely to survive by blending in with other nationalities.  Readers will marvel at Srulik's will to survive.
    Lynette Suckow, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI

Park, Linda Sue.  A SINGLE SHARD.  New York:  Clarion, 2001.  152p.
    0-395-97827-0  hb. $15.00    00-043102   Gr.  5-9   FIC

    A small village on the west coast of Korea in the 12th century is the setting for this book.  Tree-ear, an orphan of probably a dozen years, lives under a bridge in the summer with the one-legged Crane-man, named because he has one leg and looks like a crane when standing.  In the winter, they live in a hole in the ground.  Tree-ear's secret passion is watching Min, the best of the potters in Ch'ulp'o, work at his art.  When he breaks one of Min's objects, Tree-ear offers to work off his debt, all the while hoping that Min will teach him to throw pots on the wheel.  But Tree-ear's jobs are cutting wood for the kiln and gathering and preparing clay.  When his time is up, Min takes him on as a helper and Tree-ear is given food and clothing, both of which he manages to share with Crane-man.  Tree-ear’s relationships with Min, who can’t accept him because he can’t replace his dead son, and with Min’s wife, who offers kindness, are as touching as his relationship with Crane-man.  Tree-ear is excited when the government's emissary comes to check out the works of all the potters and to extend a commission.  Min does not win the commission but wins the chance to take further items to the emissary in the far away city of Songdo.  The title comes out of Tree-ear's trip to Songdo to deliver the special vases.  Readers learn about pottery making, persistence, loyalty, kindness, and hard work.  Because the subject and setting will not draw readers to this story, reading it aloud will make it assessable to children.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI
    *Editor’s Note:  This is the 2002 Newbery Medal winner

Patneaude, David. A PIECE OF THE SKY. Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman & 
Company, 2007.  178p. ISBN: 978-0-8075-6536-0, hb.   Gr. 4-5   JUV.

             APIECE OF THE SKY is good historical fiction which begins in 1856 and travels to the present.  The reader is introduced to characters from the past as they journey over rough terrain in search of a meteorite. The huge meteorite was partially buried for the past 30 years, but the searchers, a young boy and a scientist, discover it. The scientist gives young Matthew a “piece of the sky” as a token to keep.  So begins the story, which shifts to the present as young Russell, a descendent, sets off with his friends, Phoebe and Isaac, to hunt for the rock.
            Russell is not searching for himself, but to make a connection with his grandfather, whose memory is rapidly fading. The young people are also trying to help a man who was wrongfully accused of murder. He has come back to vindicate himself and help in the search. However, there are others who would kill to find the meteorite. The story is rich in history of an area that is still waiting to be explored.  The transfer from past to present is smoothly accomplished.  The character development adds personality to each character as they struggle through personal issues and discovery.  The story leaves you with a feeling there are many hidden treasures still waiting to be found. I would purchase other books by this author.
               Jana Aho, Media Assistant, Gladstone School and Public Library

Rinaldi, Ann .  AN ACQUAINTANCE WITH DARKNESS.   San Diego: Gulliver/Harcourt, 1997.  
    291 p.    0-15-202197-3 pb; pb., $6.00   0-15201294-X; hb., $16.00    Gr. 8+    FIC

    Emily Bransby Pigbush is one of the most engaging young characters in historical fiction. In this novel, Rinaldi makes the end of the Civil War, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and the practice of  body snatching absorbing plots for this well-crafted story.  The heroine has the characteristics of most l4-year olds; namely, unpredictability, changeability and moodiness.  But she is also insightful and much more astute than her peers as she sees her mother through a long illness and endures the death of her father in the War.
     After her mother's death, Emily's childhood friends, Johnny and Annie Surratt, invite her to live with their family.  Her uncle, Dr. Valentine Bransby, will not allow it.  She blindly insists that she will live with the Surratt's, not knowing they are involved with John Wilkes Booth, later to murder President Lincoln.  Eventually, Emily is forced by law to live with her uncle, but does so under protest.
     Uncle Valentine, a dedicated doctor and researcher, may be involved in suspicious activities involving grave robbing.  Emily is horrified when this is hinted to her and does not understand her uncle's motives.  Before the Civil War, cadavers were not readily available for medical research.  Thus, many serious physicians had to resort to somewhat deceptive practices to obtain them.  When Emily discovers her uncle's involvement, she vows to run away.  Robert, Dr. Bransby's assistant, becomes friendly with Emily, but she refuses to believe the positive things he tells her about her uncle. Robert knows he is a fine doctor with the best motives.  The tension between Robert and Emily makes their last adventure together very exciting.
     The main and supporting characters are believably drawn. The plot, which could have been rather maudlin, turns out to be exciting and plausible due to Rinaldi's careful and extensive research.  Not only is she very accurate, but the reader learns much about medical research at this point in American history.   Historical fiction fans, age l2 and up, will find this a fascinating and rich experience.  Once again, Ann Rinaldi scores a hit with young readers.
    Ellie Schellhase, Media Director/Librarian,  Westwood High School, Ishpeming, MI

Rinaldi, Ann.  GIRL IN BLUE.  New York:  Scholastic, 2001.  310p.
    0-439-07336-7;  hb., $15.95.   00-041945    Gr. 6-10     FIC

    Fourteen-year-old Sarah runs away from a Michigan farm in 1861 because her father abuses her and plans to marry her to a crude neighbor who wants her to raise his children and work on his farm.  Sarah goes to her widowed aunt’s home in Flint, disguises herself as a boy, and enlisted in the 2nd Michigan Regiment as Neddy Compton.
    While disguised as a man, Sarah nurses the wounded, kills a confederate officer during a battle, and engages in a musical program for the entertainment of the soldiers.  Because of her successful mimicry of Topsy in UNCLE TOM’S CABIN, Sarah is invited to Washington to join detective Allan Pinkerton’s spy network.  Sarah’s job posing as a female assistant to Rose Greenhow, a famous Southern spy, brings a romantic twist to the story.  Although her time spying on Greenhow and her relationship with Capt. Sheldon, who is also on the case, are at times confusing, the story is interesting.  Although readers agree with Sarah’s choice at the end of the book, the ending has dismaying elements.  As usual, the author’s note tells about the historical characters who appear in the book and includes a bibliography.   Rinaldi placed Sarah in the 2nd Michigan Infantry because that was the regiment where the famous Debrah Sampson fought disguised as a man and was also the regiment where two other women went along with the army.    Fans of Rinaldi will devour this book and teachers and librarians will happily add this book to bibliographies of the civil war period.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center

Rubalcaba, Jill.   THE WADJET EYE.  New York, Clarion, 2000.
    156p.   0-395-68942-2; hb.,  $15.00   Gr.  5-9    FIC

    In Ancient Egypt during the Cleopatra era, young Damon, a medical student, must first deal with his mother’s death making sure that she is buried appropriately.  Then he sets out with his close friend, Artemas, to find his father who is serving in Spain with the Roman army under Julius Caesar to give him the news of her death.  Artemas, whose interest is in becoming a soldier is a shart contrast to the scholarly Damon who merely wants to be reacquainted with a man he barely knew. There is lots of adventure - a near brush with death as the ship they are on heads toward a deadly whirlpool, a close encounter with sharks,  a chance meeting with Cleopatra herself who gives them the protection of the Wadjet Eye and, finally, battle in Spain.  Along they way both characters grow as they find their individual destinies.  The characters are well developed and there is lots of humor along with the adventure.  There are excellent notes on places and customs of this time as well as a glossary of terms and a bibliography.   This title is a well researched fun read in the historical fiction genre!
    Barbara Berry; retired school library-media specialist

Rylant, Cynthia.  OLD TOWN IN THE GREEN GROVES.  New York:  HarperCollins,  2002.  
    164p.  0-06-029561-9; hb., $15.990-06-029562  lib.bdg., $15.89     Gr. 3-8    FIC

     Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote nine “Little House” books and between books four and five, the family moves directly from Plum Creek to Silver Lake.  But the real family lived in Burr Oak, Iowa between those locations.  Those who know about Wilder’s life, know why Wilder did not write about her life between the winter of 1875 and the fall of 1877 when she was eight years old.  This painful time in Laura’s life was when her baby brother was born and died and Laura thought she might be given to a childless couple.  During this time Pa gives up farming because of the grasshopper plague and moves the family to a town in Iowa to work in a hotel—with disastrous results.  A Newbery medal winner, Rylant, has been able to capture the spirit of Wilder’s style.  An ad for each of the nine books and this one appears on the back cover in the form of the front covers.  There are dozens of books about the Wilder ancestors and small libraries can’t afford to purchase all of them but this one is different because it fills a gap in the original story.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Sherman, M. Zachary.  BLOODLINES, A TIME FOR WAR. Illus. by Fritz Casas.
      Mankato, MN, 2011.  ISBN: 978-1-4342-2558-0 hb.   Gr. 4-7    JUV

      A Time for War is an historical book that addresses the universal themes of overcoming fear and accepting responsibility. Several pages contain historical facts about WWII.  PFC Michael Donovan and his fellow American paratroopers are dropped into German-occupied France during WWII, in an effort to capture the town of Carentan. Like so many other soldiers, Donovan's first reaction when confronted by the enemy, is to run.  He is trapped in a deserted farmhouse by German soldiers. Ashamed of his cowardice, he struggles to overcome his fears. Inspired by Sargeant Anness, Donovan finds inner strength and courage and becomes a real soldier.
      Joyce Hoskins, Co-librarian L'Anse School Public Library, L’Anse, MI

Thomas, Jane Resh.  THE COUNTERFEIT PRINCESS.  New York:  Clarion Books,
            2005  197p.  ISBN: 0-395-93870-8  hb. $15.00    Gr. 5-9    J FIC

            Iris is a "spitfire" - a young woman determined to maintain her family legacy during the times of turmoil in England when forces battled to control the throne in the 1500's.  After her parents are taken to London as prisoners, Iris is released from the secret cupboard by family servants.  This sets her on a journey that will take her from working in the kitchen of a roadside inn to sitting next to the future Queen of England.  Her close resemblance to Elizabeth I provides Iris an opportunity to gain back her family's estate, but not without physical and emotional risks.  Young readers will find the pace of this story keeps their interest and the history lesson it introduces might entice them to read more about this period in English history.  
            Mary Cary Crawford, Retired Library Director, Escanaba Public Library

 Weyn, Suzanne.  DISTANT WAVES: A NOVEL OF THE TITANIC.  New York: Scholastic
Press, 2009.  330p.  ISBN 978-0-545-06572-4  hb. $17.99    Gr.6-12    YA FIC

         A clairvoyant and her daughters search for a place to live after she is widowed and plans to make a living as a clairvoyant who communicates with the dead. In their journey their lives are touched by the brilliant inventor, Nikola Tesla, and other real-life people and places that were famous in the first years of the twentieth century. The tragedy of the sinking of the Titanic occurs at the end of the book. The sisters are on that fatal voyage. Will the sister be among the survivors or the lost one thousand five hundred and seventeen people lost? The historical references and descriptions of real people are well referenced and further explanations are worthy of reading in the author’s notes of What’s Real in Distant Wave.  The subject and book jacket should attract interest in the novel.
Barb Ward, Retired Children’s Librarian, Dickinson County Library

Whelan, Gloria.  ANGEL ON THE SQUARE.  New York: Harper|Collins, 2001. 293p.
    0-06-029030-7 hb., $15.95  0-06-029031-5 lib.bdg., $15.89     Gr. 5-9     FIC

    This is not a happy book but Whelan, Michigan author and National Book Award winner, tells it with style and grace and her usual turn of the phrase.  Any reader who knows about the Russian Revolution will know how the book has to end for the Tsar and his family, but will be interested to know about Ktya's involvement and the ray of hope that ends the book.   When the story begins, Katy is twelve years old and Mikhail, Misha, an orphan friend of the family who lives with them, is sixteen.  Life changes when Misha goes to military school and Katya and her mother leave their comfortable mansion and summer dacha and move to the Alexander Palace so her mother can become lady in waiting to the Empress Alexandra.  Because Misha has shared his  revolutionary views with her, Katya sees the world differently from her mother.  Although Tzar Nikolai is like a father to her and the Grand Duchesses are like her sisters, especially Anastasia/Stana, Katya does not like the war and how it is affecting the country.  All the elements of history are here, Alexei and his hemophilia, Rasputin and his influence on the Empressthe Tsar's well meaning blunders in governing and conducting the war, the thoughtlessness of the nobility, the Tzar’s abdiction and exile in Siberia, and the roles of Kerensky and Lenin.
    By her eighteenth birthday, Katya and Russia have changed immeasurably.  Through her story, readers experience World War I and the Russian Revolution from several perspectives.  Readers who want to see photos and excerpts from Anastasia’s letters will enjoy Tanaka’s ANASTIASIA’S ALBUM (Hyperion, 1997.)   A fiction book for further reading is Meyer’s ANASTASIA: THE LAST GRAND DUCHESS.  (Scholastic, 2000.)  Libraries already owning those books will also welcome this title.  Those books focus on Anastasia and share more detail about the exile and death of the imperial family than are included by Whelan who arranges that Katya and her mother are not allowed to be with them at the end.  This is a fine piece of historical fiction.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

    2002. ISBN 0-06-623815-3; hb. $15.99 ISBN0-06-623816-1l lib.bdg. $15.89    Gr.  3-7    FIC

    Louisa May Alcott’s father always had a scheme in the works, usually projects that were cerebral, morally uplifting but not labor intensive for him.  The work was left to his wife and daughters and that is apparent in this book.  Ten-year-old Louisa wrote in a journal during the eight months in 1843 when her family settled on a farm called Fruitlands.  This book is based on the nine remaining journal entries the real Louisa wrote during that time.  Whelan, a National Book Award winner, uses an effective device in having Louy write in a secret journal that appears in italics.  Excerpts from the real journal appear in regular type.  Laura tells about missing Mr. Thoreau and Mr. Emerson from their old home in Concord.  Mr. Emerson does come and visit and gives money to his friend Bronson to survive.  At the end of the book there is a section where readers can learn what happened to the people mentioned in the book.  Fans of Alcott’s LITTLE WOMEN will find this especially fascinating,
    Mary Ann Paulin, director, Superiorland Preview Center

Whelan, Gloria.  RETURN TO THE ISLAND.  New York:  HarperCollins, 2000.
185p.  0-06-028253-3  hb.  $14.95   Gr. 4-8   MICH FIC

    This is the third in a series set on Mackinac Island by Michigan author, Gloria Whelan.  The year is 1818.  James, a young nobleman from England, arrives at the island to ask Mary to marry him and return to England.  Although Mary enjoys the company of James, she loves her farm and White Hawk better.  Eventually, James falls in love with the local doctor's daughter, Emma, who marries James and leaves for England with him. Young girls will enjoy this story of Mary's challenges to survive in the often harsh Upper Michigan weather and her love for White Hawk.  Even though this is the last book of a trilogy, it can be read and enjoyed on its own.  I would make this a priority purchase for Upper Michigan libraries.
    Linda Cooley, Director, L’Anse Area School Public Library

Wilder, Laura Ingalls.  LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS.  Illus by Garth William.
    Special Read-Aloud edition.  New York:  Harper, 2001.  238p. 0-06-029647-X; hb., 
    $19.95   0-06-029648-8; lib.bdg., $19.89     Gr. 3-6+      FIC

    There are two questions that need to be asked before purchasing this book.  Is this just another way to market Wilder or are there reasons why this edition is necessary.  First of all, there is no question that this title has “most-favored treasure” status.  It would be nice, but not necessary, to have a large print edition for ease of reading aloud so the reader can have more eye contact with listeners.   The best use of this book is that it will be purchased by Libraries for the Blind and Physically Handicapped because many of them are adding books for younger patrons.   The large print edition of this book, published in 1987 is out of print.  This book will be read and relished by children and grandparents alike.  This book was compared with the regular 1953 edition.  Although both books have 348 pages and the table of contents is exactly the same in title and pagination, the text on individual pages does not have the same placement on the pages.  However, a comparison of the first and last lines of each paragraph show that are the same in both books, so it is assumed that both books have exactly the same text.  Purchase for large print collections, family gifts, or nursing home libraries.
    Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center

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