Tag Archives: Historical Fiction

Staff Pick: Freedom Song The Story of Henry Box Brown

Staff Pick: Freedom Song The Story of Henry Box Brown

Henry's Freedom BoxA fictionalized account of how in 1849 a Virginia slave, Henry “Box” Brown, escapes to freedom by shipping himself in a wooden crate from Richmond to Philadelphia.

“This is the story of Henry “Box” Brown, the slave that mailed himself to freedom. Henry was born into slavery. He loved his family, sang with them and wanted them to always stay together. After he grew up and married, his family was sold away from him. Left with nothing but music, this story tells how he took that music about “freedom-land” and created and carried out a risky escape by mailing himself in a box to Pennsylvania. The book includes a note from the author and the words from an actual letter from the man who received Henry in the box at the end of his unusual journey.”

Michael Perry, Warren Branch Library

More Staff Picks

More dramatic stories about the U.S. Postal Service::
Mailing May Calico Dorsey Mule Train Off Like the Wind
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Reader Review: Tricking the Tallyman

Reader Review: Tricking the Tallyman

Tricking the Tallyman In 1790, the suspicious residents of a small Vermont town try to trick the man who has been sent to count their population for the first United States Census.

Sandra says:

An interesting story about when the census began.  Even if it weren’t historically based, students would enjoy the scheming.”

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The Crowfield Demon

The Crowfield Demon

The Crowfield Demon

In The Crowfield Curse, orphan Will became a servant at The Crowfield Abbey so that he would have a place to live and food to eat. Will worked hard. He also learned he had a special gift. Will has the sight. That means he can see the creatures of Old Magic; creatures called the fay most people can’t see. In that first adventure, Will does something important for an Angel. I won’t tell you what, in case you want to read that one first.

In this second adventure Will still lives at the Abbey with Brother Snail, a kind monk who tends the gardens. He also has two special friends, a warrior fay called Shadlock who does work around the Abbey just to be near Will and protect him, and a hobgoblin called Brother Walter -  a small creature that can ride on Will’s shoulder and senses when danger is near.

The hob climbed down from the tree and stood beside Will, his face sharp with anxiety. “Something bad is coming,” he whispered. Will crouched down beside him. “Is it the king?” “No,” the hob said, edging a little closer to him, “Not the king. Something much, much worse than him.” “And it’s in the forest?” The hob nodded. “It’s close by, maybe in the forest, maybe here in the brothermen’s stone place. I don’t know for sure, but I can feel it.” (page 3)

Walter is right, something strange IS going on. The church’s wall has a huge crack in it that is growing wider every day – like a silent, slow earthquake is shaking the Abbey from below. The monks begin to report feeling a presence or something unknown hiding in the shadows as well as haunting dreams – nightmares. There HAS been something hidden deep under the church and the monks have inadvertantly let it loose – a demon even the fay fear.

Brother Snail, Will, Shadlock and the hob set out on a journey to save the Abbey and everyone they know from the ancient demon. Their loyalty to each other and their faith are put to the test as they go toe to toe with an ancient evil. The monks and Will are praying for some help and as is often the case, when a prayer gets answered, it is often very different from what the prayer had in mind! The story is a bit like Frodo and the ring, actually, with Will and his loyal band of friends. Brother Snail is the nurturer/worrier, Shadlock the warrior and hob the trusty sidekick. Walter is a little like Harry Potter’s Dobby, he’s very, very loyal and has some magic powers of his own that Will trusts. I have really liked how the friendship between them has developed since the beginning of The Crowfield Curse, when they didn’t even know each other yet. Author: Pat Walsh

If you liked reading about Will, Shadlock, Walter and the Brothermen at the Abbey, try these other adventures set in medieval times when spiritual beliefs and the supernatural were often mixed up together.
The Crowfield Curse Crispin and the Cross of Lead The Ramsay Scallop The Door in the Wall
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Staff Pick: An Elephant in the Garden

Staff Pick: An Elephant in the Garden

An Elephant in the Garden

1944. Elizabeth’s mother works at Dresden Zoo, where her favorite animal is an elephant named Marlene. When the zoo director tells her the dangerous animals must be shot to prevent them running amok when the town is bombed, Elizabeth’s mother moves Marlene into the back garden to save her. And then the bombs start to fall…

Author: Michael Morpurgo

“This remarkable story, based on actual events, tells of young girl named Lizzie living with her family in Dresden, Germany during World War II. While her father serves his country, Lizzie’s mother takes a job at the nearby zoo where a bond is formed with an orphaned elephant named Marlene. As the threat of bombing looms, the zoo must face the task of disposing of the animals. Unable to think of Marlene being put down, the family houses her in their garden until the bombs finally fall. Along with the other surviving residents of the city, the family makes their way through the country side in search of safety.  Lizzie soon learns, however, that having an elephant as a travel companion in the midst of war can make the trek far more complicated. Morpugo has crafted a unique coming-of-age story with an unusual friendship at the heart of it that proves that some bonds are unbreakable.”

By :  Jeff Huttinger, The Learning Curve Central Library

More Staff Picks

If you liked The Elephant in the Garden you might like some of these books about animals at war:
Cracker the Best Dog in Vietnam Faithful Elephants Saving the Baghdad Zoo Soldier Bear
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Staff Pick: Soldier Bear

Staff Pick: Soldier Bear

Soldier Bear

Believe it or not, a bear served in the British Army during WWll. In 1942 five Polish soldiers adopted a bear cub from a boy in the mountains of Iran. They named him Voytek, which means “Smiling Warrior” in Polish. Voytek loved army life and the soldiers loved Voytek. He slept in the tent with them. He drank beer and smoked cigarettes. He took showers. He even caught a spy!

In order to travel with his company to Italy, he was officially enlisted as Private Voytek. During the battle of Monte Cassino he joined the soldiers passing ammunition to the front and never dropped a shell. The officers were so impressed they made a picture of Voytek with a bomb in his paws as the emblem of the Transport Company of the 2nd Polish Corps.

Read about Private Voytek’s amazing adventures in this book based on the true story of Voytek, the bear that went to war. Soldier Bear won the 2012 Batchelder Award for most outstanding book translated to English.

Mary Sullivan – Decatur Library

More Staff Picks

If you liked reading about Soldier Bear you might like some of these books about animals at war:
Cracker the Best Dog in Vietnam Faithful Elephants Saving the Baghdad Zoo An Elephant in the Garden
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