These works of historical fiction from Junior Library Guild expertly blend fact and storytelling, tackling figures such as magician Chung Ling Soo and events such as Operation Pied Piper.
Today we look at two fabulous historical fiction works exploring historical periods unfamiliar to most Americans. First up is a starred review of Michelle Moran’s Rebel Queen, which tells the story of the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Specifically, it tracks the exploits of Rani Lakshmi, the queen of a smallish kingdom in northern India called […]
Two exciting and very different historical novels today. First, a medieval murder mystery set in 1350 England. A 17-year-old is called home to run his family’s Manor after his brothers and fathers are killed by the plague. That’s hard enough, but then a young girl is murdered. We are not the only ones singing the praises […]
I’ve written about my regard for Kristin Hannah‘s novels before. The last one I read and reviewed was Night Road, and we also reviewed Fly Away in 2013. Hannah has a way with contemporary family stories. She writes deeply emotional women’s fiction with great characters, usually facing loss or tragedy. This year she brings those […]
Considering that it is based on a police case from almost 30 years ago, it is astonishing how much currency Joyce Carol Oates’s new novel has. A black teen is found beaten and apparently raped, naming only “white cops” as the perpetrators before lapsing into silence. The ensuing polarized reactions on the parts of the […]
My Near-Death Adventures (99% True) By Alison DeCamp Crown Books for Young Readers (an imprint of Random House) $16.99 ISBN: 978-0-385-39044-6 Ages 9-12 On shelves now Children’s historical fiction novels often divide up one of two ways. In the first category you have your important moments in history. In such books our heroes run about […]
The War That Saved My Life By Kimberly Brubaker Bradley Dial Books for Young Readers (an imprint of Penguin) $16.99 ISBN: 9780803740815 Ages 9-12 On shelves now. As a child I was what one might call a selective reader. Selective in that I studiously avoided any and all works of fiction that might conceivably be […]
Today, we review two books that examine the environmental destruction of small towns, and the ensuing fallout in the community at large. In Rene Steinke’s Friendswood, the eponymous town has been the victim of chemical leaks from a nearby oil refinery. Most of the town seems ready to move on once the EPA has cleared […]
The 2015 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction goes to Dash, by Kirby Larson, published by Scholastic Press. While Mitsi is going to miss spending time with her beloved dog Dash now that Christmas vacation is over, she is looking forward to seeing her best buds Mags and Judy. Mitsy thought the trio would always […]
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Thorfinn is a teenage boy and a member of a mercenary crew of Vikings that raid towns in France and England and return to their home base in Denmark. But Thorfinn isn’t interested in battle or treasure. As a boy he dreamed of sailing on a long ship and becoming a Viking warrior. Now he […]
Two books that follow professional stage magicians, or illusionists, top our week. I was completely entranced by The Magician’s Lie, a terrific historical yarn that reads like a modern thriller. The title magician is a young woman, and the only woman making the circuit in the first decade of the 20th century. It is her […]
Althea and Oliver by Cristina Moracho Viking, October 2014 Reviewed from final copy This book really amazed me by being a story that is bigger and harder and rougher and rawer than I thought it would be. It’s been named for two year’s best lists, and garnered three starred reviews, so it’s not just me […]
One of my favorite reader’s advisory tools is Amazon’s “Customer’s Who Bought This Item Also Bought” feature. I know, I know, Amazon’s a big evil company engaged in a fight against the absolutely tiny publishing firm of Hatchette (note: Hatchette is not tiny), but what can I say? The algorithm they use is great. You […]
On Monday, Angela mentioned that we haven’t had as many nonfiction titles as we’d like this year, and offered up Dr. Mutter’s Marvels for consideration. Today, we’ve got another nonfiction title, this time a memoir, and a novel based on a real person. The memoir is Cea Sunrise Person’s North of Normal, and Person’s first […]
The Gospel of Winter, Brendan Kiely Margaret K. McElderry (Simon & Schuster), January 2014 Reviewed from ARC It’s so hard when a book is completely admirable and worthy of discussion and yet I just can’t like it. Because now I’m torn between wanting lots of discussion on this and also wanting to move on to […]
I have to say I expected more World War I books this year, considering it is the Centennial of that war. We did have the fabulous poetry collection/graphic novel Above the Dreamless Dead. But other than that we haven’t seen a huge push for books about the Great War. One book under review today takes […]
Teen readers have plenty to sink their teeth into, from Maggie Stiefvater’s Blue Lily, Lily Blue, the much-anticipated latest in “The Raven Cycle”; Barry Lyga’s Blood of My Blood, the blood-soaked finale in the “I Hunt Killers” trilogy; and Donna Jo Napoli’s historical fiction Hidden.
This article was published in School Library Journal's November 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.
There’s been a lot of talk about accuracy in children’s nonfiction recently (which is just a fancy way of saying that there’s been a lot of talk on this particular blog). Everything from invented dialogue to series that are nonfiction-ish. One element we haven’t discussed in any way, shape, or form though is the notion […]
Caminar By Skila Brown Candlewick Press $15.99 ISBN: 978-0763665166 Ages 9-12 On shelves now Survivor’s guilt. Not the most common theme in children’s books these days. Not unheard of certainly, but it definitely doesn’t crop up as often as, say, stories about cupcakes or plucky orphans that have to defeat evil wizards. Serious works of […]