Tag Archives: Historical Fiction

This Means War

This Means War

The Means War

Juliet and Lowell are best friends. Well, until this year, when Lowell started hanging out with Mike, Tommy & Bruce doing things they are sure a girly girl won’t like. Juliet is so mad at Lowell - her FORMER best friend.  She finds some kindred spirits in Patsy, Annette, & Linda. The other girls are none too happy about being labelled scaredy-cat sissies either who only have tea parties and won’t get dirty.

The kids get in a verbal war over just what “girl stuff” and “boy stuff” is. The boys are sure that “girl stuff” means painting fingernails, NOT go-carts. The girls think they can paint anything, including go-carts.

Juliet: “We ride bikes and we play baseball and we run just as fast as boys do.”

Patsy: “You don’t know what you’re talking about! Girls can do anything boys can do! At least I can!” (page 59)

The kids agree on a nine day contest, boys versus girls. Each day is a different challenge and whichever side wins the most challenges wins the contest. As the days go by the challenges get harder and harder; the kids daring each other to push themselves to the edge of their abilities…and their courage. Author: Ellen Wittlinger

Here are some more books about battles between boys and girls. This Means War takes place in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis…a time when two countries, the U.S. and Russia, were locked in a similar battle of wills. Countdown is about kids during this time too – also a very good story.
Bobby vs. Girls The Boys Start the War The Girls Get Even Countdown
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The Rock and the River

The Rock and the River

The Rock and the River

Teenage brothers Sam and Stick live in Chicago in 1968. Their dad, Rev. Roland Childs, is a respected minister and close friend of Dr. Martin Luther King. Sam’s dad believes passionately in non-violent protest and tirelessly organizes and participates in peaceful protest marches.

Older brother Stick has begun to question Dr. King’s nonviolent philosophy and has been secretly attending meetings of the Black Panthers, an organization whose philosophies are more aggressive than Dr. King’s and are different from what Rev. Child’s preaches and teaches his boys at home. Sam is torn between the ideas of has father and the ideas of his older brother, both of whom he respects and admires.

Everybody can relate to being torn between two choices and being torn between the opinions of two people you respect. When it comes down to figuring out what you think for your own self – that’s when things get hard.

After Dr. King is assassinated and Sam witnesses the brutal beating of a friend by police officers, he becomes more interested in the ideas Stick is learning about at the Black Panther meetings. He begins to attend the meetings also. The conversation the teens have at home, at school, and at these meetings are some of the best parts of the book. They are living the civil rights struggle as they face discrimination every day. Listening to these conversations you get a real sense of each philosophy and why it was chosen by the people committed to it.

This book has a pretty explosive, surprising ending. It isn’t a book for the faint hearted. These are really hard issues and there is violence in the book. It isn’t a happy story with a happy ending because it’s not that kind of story. It wasn’t a happy time. The book is true to the historical period so the violence is part of the story being told.

It is hard for Sam and Stick to stand by watching people suffer the injustices of racism. When Sam finds out Leroy, the leader of the student Black Panthers, sneaks away to talk to Rev. Childs, the same way Sam is sneaking off to the Black Panther meetings, he realizes that these issues are hard for everyone. Sam discovers that standing quiet and firm is different than doing nothing and that you can be agressive, without being violent. A really powerful, emotional book. Don’t miss the author’s note at the end – it is a great discussion of the true events, people and groups that appear in this book. Author: Kekla Magoon Award: Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent 2010

Look Inside The Rock and the River

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Staff Pick – A Medal for Leroy

Staff Pick – A Medal for Leroy

A Medal for Leroy

In World War II-era England, Michael learns about his black British Army soldier grandfather, a World War I officer who risked his life to save wounded men but who did not receive special commendations because of his race.

Michael grew up in London in the years after World War II. He never knew his father, Roy, who had been killed in the war. But he and his mother would often visit his father’s beloved aunts, who had raised Roy when he was too orphaned during an earlier world war. Michael liked Auntie Snowdrop better than Auntie Pish, and he loved their dog Jasper. What he didn’t like was that neither his mother nor his aunts ever seemed to want to talk to him about his dad. But one day, after his Auntie Snowdrop has died, Michael finds a letter from her explaining things about his father, himself and even his grandfather that not even his mother knew. His grandfather Leroy was a hero in World War I and had saved many soldiers, but because he was black, he had not received a medal or any recognition for his bravery. It is up to Michael to change that if he can.

This book was inspired by the true story of Walter Tull, the first black officer in the British Army.

Recommended by: Doriene Smither – East Washington

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Staff Pick – The Secret River

Staff Pick – The Secret River

The Secret River

A young girl takes her dog to a river in a forest, where she catches enough fish to feed her neighbors, even after giving some to forest creatures she meets on the way home.

Children will enjoy this tale of enchantment written by Newbery winner Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, and wonderfully illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. Main character Calpurnia and her dog Buggy-horse go off to explore a secret river in the forest, since the local river has gone dry, and fisherman like her father are not able to have any income. She encounters a number of animals in the back country of Florida, and learns a few life lessons. But the question is will Calpurnia find the secret river with the help of the wisest person in the forest Mother Albirtha? Readers will have to check this book out to find the answer.

Recommended by: Denyce Malone – Flanner House

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Kid Review: Dog Tags #3 Prisoners of War

Kid Review: Dog Tags #3 Prisoners of War

Newly arrived on the Western front and assigned as a medic, Rivera finds himself in the middle of the Battle of the Bulge, cut off behind enemy lines–and his only companion is a Nazi trained Doberman pinscher.

Kid Review:

“I like this book” ~David

I know that isn’t much to go on, but David liked it, and I’d never noticed this book series before. The summary sounds really good and The Battle of the Bulge is interesting learn about – let alone imagining actually being there.

Websites:

Books:

There come a soldier Pure Grit World War II: the Final Years
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