Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw. Puffin, 1985, 288 pages Reading Level: Young Adults, ages 12-14 Recommended for: Ages 12-up Bottom Line: Ancient Egypt comes alive through historical fiction when romance and intrigue meet in the life of a slave girl. As Mara, Daughter of the Nile opens, Hatshepsut is pharaoh. While […]
Ranger in Time: Rescue on the Oregon Trail and Danger in Ancient Rome by Kate Messner. Scholastic, 2015. About 125 pages, plus author note. Reading Level: Chapter books, ages 4-8 Recommended for: ages 6-8 Bottom Line: The “Ranger in Time” series is a fun way to introduce early readers to history, as a loveable search-and-rescue […]
Hammer of the Huguenots by Douglas Bond. P&R, 2015. 215 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10 and up Bottom Line: Douglas Bond’s latest fictional excursion into church history focuses on the struggles of the French Protestants during the mid-seventeenth century. Philippe had no idea when he apprenticed to the shipbuilder, […]
Fleabrain Loves Franny by Joanne Rocklin. Amulet Books, 2015. 268 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10 Recommended for: ages 8-12 Bottom Line: After Franny is stricken with polio, an erudite flea becomes her best friend in this quirky fantasy for middle-grade readers. During the summer of 1952, 10-year-old Franny Katzenback became a statistic: one […]
Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper. Atheneum, 2015. 320 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-12 Bottom Line: Stella by Starlight dramatizes the personal and social challenges of an African American girl growing up in the rural south of the 1930s. One dark summer night in Bumblebee, North Carolina, Stella’s […]
My Near-Death Adventures (99% True!) by Alison DeCamp. Crown, 2015. 252 pages Reading Level: Middle grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-12 (especially boys) Bottom Line: Stanley Slater’s 99% true adventures in a Michigan logging camp, ca. 1880, are a bit short on plot but long on laughs. “I’m a whiz at not dying, I […]
*The Imagination Station Series by Marianne Hering and Paul McCusker. Focus on the Family, 2011-present. 130 pages each. Reading Level: Chapter Books, ages 8-10 Recommended For: Ages 6-10 Bottom Line: More than simply a “Christian version” of the popular Magic Treehouse books, the Imagination Station books are a solid chapter book time travel series. Mr. Whitaker is the proprietor […]
New Shoes by Susan Lynn Meyer, illustrated by Eric Velasquez. Holiday House, 2015. 40 pages. Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 4-8 It’s difficult for contemporary children to really “get” the effects of segregation and Jim Crow laws in the South in the first half of the twentieth century. But contemporary children readily understand the trials […]
Audacity by Melanie Crowder. Philomel, 2015. 389 pages, including historical notes. Reading Level: Young Adults, ages 12-15 Recommended for: Young Adults, ages 15-18 Bottom Line: Audacity tells the story of union organizer Clara Lemlich from her point of view, in a way that communicates her strength and her vulnerability. In 1904 Clara Lemlich reached New […]
We’re privileged to feature a virtual interview today with Caroline Starr Rose, author of Blue Birds (just released on March 24; read our review) and of May B. (read our review). Both are historical fiction novels in verse. Caroline resides in Albuquerque with her pastor husband and two sons. She writes about faith, writing, her books, and other thoughts at her […]
Blue Birds by Caroline Starr Rose. Putnam, 2015. 400 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Bottom Line: This historical novel-in-verse delicately explores cross-cultural friendship against the backdrop of the lost Roanoke Colony in the sixteenth century. Alis lands with her family on the New World beach, eager to be off the ship that held […]
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