Tag archives for Historical Fiction
BOOK NAME: Washington City is Burning
AUTHOR: Harriette Gillem Robinet
Virginia of Madison worked as a slave at Montpelier. One day, an old slave man, named Tobias, came to Montpelier to take Virginia in his carriage. She found out she would work at the White House, to President James and Miss Dolley Madison. Later Virginia was to find out that Tobias needed her to go on secret missions and help free her people.
Virginia was not off to a great start the day she arrived at the White House. There was a slave woman, named Rosetta Bell, who hated Virginia, and did the best she could to get her into trouble. Virginia never knew why Rosetta hated her. Weeks later, Virginia started to go on secret missions, bringing slaves to freedom.
Great Britain got into a fight with Washington City, and one day, only one word could be heard in the streets. “War!” Everyone began to flee from Washington City, including Miss Dolley. Virginia stayed behind, though. She watched as the British came and burned everything down, even the White House! After the war, Miss Dolley came back home. The British would soon board ships to Alexandria, and slaves could go along to freedom. Now Virginia had a choice. Would she stay there? Or would she leave Tobias, Aunt Sally, and Miss Dolley, and go to freedom?
I really loved this book. I read it in school. The book was so interesting! My favorite character was Virginia, such a young girl with so much bravery.
BOOK NAME: The Kidnapped Prince
AUTHOR: Olaudah Equino
ADAPTED BY: Ann Cameron
In 1755 a young African boy, Olaudah Equino, was kidnapped from his people and sold into slavery. Never being exposed to any other people or cultures other than his own village, this frightened him greatly. His first taste of the world was the bitter and cruel ways of the white people, beating people of other races and treating them like animals. As Olaudah serves as a slave for most of his life, he learns the difference between right and wrong in many instances. On his journey to earning back the freedom he should’ve already had Olaudah travels halfway around the world, experiencing things that made him famous.
This was a book I was to read as part of my world history for school. I wouldn’t have picked this book off of a shelf and read it willingly, but I’m rather glad I did. Although the book is historical fiction and my tastes tend to lean more to the ‘steampunk’ style, I enjoyed it and actually learned some things from it. I was happy to read a book that featured slavery from the view of an actual slave. Olaudah Equino wrote his autobiography and it became a best-seller. Later, author Ann Cameron edited his biography to a story that could be enjoyed by all ages.
The Kidnapped Prince is a short chapter book, each chapter being about two pages long. I recommend this to anyone who can read and even to those, like myself, who have no interest in the history of slavery. This short read with increase your knowledge in slavery and peak your interests greatly, leaving you wanting more.
BOOK NAME: Looking for Marco Polo
Looking for Marco Polo is a good book. I like it because I like learning about explorers and it is a good adventure book.
It is about this boy named Mark, and his dad is going on a trip to the desert where Marco Polo went. His dad can only bring a bag that has less than 20 pounds in it. Mark’s father puts two gold coins in his socks and salt in his backpack. The salt is good for trading and the two gold coins are for emergencies. He also brings as much water as he can because there’s never enough water in the desert. He ends up with 19 ½ pounds in his pack so he fills up the rest of the space with maps.
Mark’s dad gets lost, so Mark and his mother go to Venice, Italy to try and find him. Venice is where his dad’s trip started, and it’s also where Marco Polo started his trip.
Marco Polo is a famous explorer. He explored some of China and traveled on the Silk Road. Mark gets sick…the same kind of sickness that Marco Polo had. His mother calls a doctor, someone who worked in a war with his dad. Marco Polo had a big black dog, and the doctor had the same kind of dog. One night, the dog starts talking to Mark and explains that he’s a relative of Marco Polo’s dog.
Mark hangs out with the doctor and the doctor tells he and his mother the story of Marco Polo. In real life, Marco Polo meets a man in prison. Marco tells his story to the man who ended up writing his famous book. Marco died before he finished his full story and he says on his deathbed: “I’ve only told half of what I know.”
I would recommend this book for kids ages 7-11. You would like this book because it is a cool adventure book. It will help you learn about explorers in social studies.
BOOK NAME: The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
AUTHOR: Jacqueline Kelly
Do you like to explore in your own backyard? Well, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate is a book about this hobby. This science fiction novel, written by Jacqueline Kelly, encourages you to pursue your interest.
Calpurnia is an eleven year old adventurous girl who lives in Austin, Texas in 1899. Rather than doing household chores, Calpurnia loves to explore the woods. She goes to her lonely, grumpy scientist grandfather to get the book, The Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin to learn more about nature. Thus begins Calpurnia’s relationship with her grandfather. Grandfather and Calpurnia discuss about many scientists and their accomplishments. They go to the river and observe animals like baby foxes, squirrels, and bears. They watch a moth’s life cycle and make liquor out of pecans. Together, they realize how a gold grasshopper is the same species as a green grasshopper; they just have different colors because one gets less water than the other one. Grandfather and Calpurnia even discover a new species of plants called Vetch. Calpurnia has a keen interest in science and is a young naturalist!
I loved reading this book and would recommend it to others. It received a Newbery Honor which it truly deserves. It is hard to believe that in 1899 it was difficult for a woman to become a scientist. Incorporated into the story are many tips for a young naturalist. It is interesting how each chapter begins with a Charles Darwin’s theory that relates to the event in the chapter.
BOOK NAME: A Single Shard
AUTHOR: Linda Sue Park
A Single Shard is like a walk down an art gallery with a 12 year old docent, seeing beautiful Korean celadon pottery. This historical fiction book with some exciting adventure is written by Linda Sue Park and shows that hard work is always rewarding.
Tree-ear is a young orphan boy who lives in Ch’ulp’o, Korea during the 12th century. He lives under the bridge with his caring and wise friend, Crane-man, whose meaningful advices teach Tree-ear good virtue. Tree-ear works hard for master potter Min and helps him make the most exquisite celadon pottery, so that Min can be assigned the royal commission for the palace. The emissary however wants to see more intricate designs in Min’s pottery before assigning him the commission. Since Min is old, considerate and thoughtful Tree-ear agrees to go on an arduous travel to Songdo to deliver the beautiful vases to the emissary. Read the book to see if Tree-ear safely completes his mission.
I would suggest this Newbery Medal book to all readers. The author thoroughly develops the characters and events incorporating Korean history and art keeping the excitement up till the very end. Crane-man’s advices are influential and can be used in our everyday life. My favorite quote is “…the same wind that blows one door shut often blows another open (97).” This means that an event which brings something bad can often bring something good, later on. Rather than closing up the book with a satisfying ending, the author opens up the reader’s mind at the end with a new twist making it an outstanding book!
BOOK NAME: The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn
AUTHOR: Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler
Seikei dreams of becoming a samurai, but he knows his fate cannot be like one of a samurai. Being a tea merchant’s son, he is expected to grow up and inherit his father’s trade. Living life by one day at a time, Seikei becomes familiar with the tea his father sells and almost gives up on his dream of being a samurai. Soon after, a ruby sent to the shogun (the military governor of Japan) is stolen by a ghost. Being the only witness, Seikei is required to assist the famous samurai magistrate, Judge Ooka, in his adventure to find the thief and return the ruby.
The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn is a book apart of the “Sleuth Puffin” group so it’s a mystery/adventure. This book was one I was to read for school. In full honesty, I read the summary on the back which covered most of the whole story like the paragraph above and I deeply sighed. A Japanese boy with a dream. A dream that couldn’t come true. Then something gets stolen and he has to help. So typical, right? After the second chapter in this book I kept reading and reading. I loved it so much! The storyline is admittedly common, but the authors, Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler, dazzled up the plot and the whole story came alive. No inappropriate content and a fabulous story! I suggest it to reading levels of 3rd grade and up!
BOOK NAME: To Come and Go Like Magic
AUTHOR: Katie Pickard Fawcett
One of the reasons I read this book is because of its gripping title. The title is a small but important aspect of this book because the main character, Chili, lives in Mercy Hill. This is fine, but she wants to see other places and people. Chili’s mom says that people born in Mercy Hill stay in Mercy Hill. Chili is surrounded by questions that mom and pop won’t answer for reasons unknown to her. Mercy Hill is a relatively poor area except for the VISTAS, the people who come here to “help the homeless, dirty and uneducated people”. However, they don’t appear to be here to help people. It’s more like they are here to get publicity and act like saints. The people of Mercy Hill aren’t dirty and dumb, they just choose to live this way. They go around barefoot because they want to. Even the kids with shoes walk around barefoot.
I love the amazingly unique and strong characters. The author gives you a personality description of the characters, but she leaves out the visual description. I actually like this because then I can make the characters look like anything I imagine them to be in my mind. I would recommend this book to all your friends, because this book has made its way into my heart and is a terrific read for a rainy day. Read it for yourself and I promise you won’t be disappointed.
BOOK NAME: Little House in the Highlands
AUTHOR: Melissa Wiley
Have you read Little House on the Prairie? Even if you haven’t, I’m sure you’re familiar with Laura Ingalls Wilder, an American pioneer girl. I discovered that there is another series of books that have been written to tell the story of Laura’s family going back to her great grandmother, Martha Morse. It turns out that the three generations of women before her were also pioneers of sorts.
Martha lived in Scotland in the 1780s. Her family is kind, honest people who own many acres and farms. They live by a lake that Martha thinks is truly magical with hills and valleys. Martha has to share the house with her 4 siblings, mother, father, Mollie the cook, and other servants. She is lucky in that she has a house big enough to fit everyone. The other families in the area live in two room houses; one room for the family and one room for the farm animals!
I love reading this book because Martha reminds me a lot Laura with both of them having such free spirits. Martha is also a girl who loves to run free instead of doing what she it told. I like this book because you learn very much about old Scottish traditions and I adore the fairy tales that Mother reads. You also get insight into how people lived back then such as sleeping in a box bed which sounds a lot like sleeping in a closet! Martha loves life and enjoys the simple things so that even though this was years ago, I learned to respect her. The writing style and vocabulary of this book makes for an easy read. I will definitely add this to my collection of Little House books and I look forward to reading the rest of the series.
BOOK NAME: Turtle in Paradise
AUTHOR: Jennifer L. Holm
During today’s meeting, we’ll wrap up our pick for July, Jennifer L.
Holm’s historical fiction Turtle in Paradise. (Holm is also the author of the Babymouse
book series.) Turtle faces her biggest adventures yet in the last chapters of this book!
Are there any books that you can’t want to read that you would like to
see us talk during August? Leave a comment with your suggestion.
We’ll announce the next pick on Friday. Who knows–your pick might be
DogEared’s August book!
Ready to talk about the book? Cool! Click “See More.”
Stop here if you haven’t finished the book yet!
Read the whole post »
BOOK NAME: The Story of Cirrus Flux
Cirrus Flux lives at the Foundling Hospital, where his father James left him when he was a baby. James Flux was doing work for the Guild of Empirical Science, and was on a quest to find the “Breath of God.” Set in 18th-century London, this novel is a breath of fresh air amidst all of the vampire books that dominate the young adult and even kids’ sections at bookstores and libraries. Every child who lives at the Foundling Hospital was left a token by their parent. These tokens are worn around the necks of the children. Cirrus is led to believe that he never had one, but this token is the focus of turmoil that is tearing through London like wildfire. Cirrus is one of the only older Foundlings left who hasn’t gotten an apprenticeship yet. His best friend has recently been apprenticed, and he is miserable.
Pandora is a foundling as well, and she was apprenticed to a woman who is after the Breath of God. Her mentor allegedly clears her patients of all bad memories, enabling them to get a new lease on life. Through a series of events, Pandora finds herself back in the Foundling Hospital and trying to help Cirrus escape.
The rest of the book is a chronicle of the adventures and events that occur after that point in the novel. Cirrus discovers that his token contains the last bit of the Breath of God, and all the major scientific powers of London are clamoring to get it. My favorite character in the book is Pandora. She is a unique, quirky girl who stands up for what she thinks is right and is not afraid to stand alone when she does so. She’s a great role model (as is Cirrus) and illustrates many characteristics that anchor concepts of true morality.
This book takes a while to get into, and it wasn’t the best storyline I’ve ever read. For me, the characters were what made reading it worthwhile. The values that were represented by each of the characters added depth to the plot where there otherwise wouldn’t have been any. It’s a good book overall, and I strongly recommend it for anyone wishing to embark upon a wild ride!
I think this book is fantasy, what with some of the things that happen later in the story. However, it is set in a real-time period London, with some twists. I prefer to think of it as an alternate universe, but I think that it’s open to interpretation! Read the book and comment to let me know what you think.
BOOK NAME: Adam of the Road
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Janet Gray
Being a minstrel, Adam wanders the streets happily, doing cartwheels and bringing joy upon others. For years, Adam has done nothing but roam the streets with his red spaniel, Nick, and his minstrel father, Roger. When Adam’s father disappears and Nick gets stolen, Adam spends all his days looking for the two dearest things that belong to him. Roger and Nick.
I really enjoyed how the author described the scenery and how someone felt. I’d have to say my favorite character is Adam, the main character. The author just put so much personality into him. In this book, the “bad guy” was the man who stole Nick and I think I enjoyed having some amount of crime and mischief in the book.
Adam of the Road was a book I read for school. It isn’t a book that I’d read out of interest, though. I wouldn’t say that is a good book or a bad book. The reading level was too easy for me and the story seemed to drag. I think that it’d be interesting for a child of a younger age, but not so much for me.
Hi, book fans! For those of you who haven’t joined the DogEared book club (yet), we wanted to let you know what book we’re reading next so you can join in!
July’s book is Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm. Click
here to visit the Book of the Month page and to learn more about this
We”ll be reading the first four chapters in the book for our meeting on Wednesday, July 7. See you there!
BOOK NAME: Shadow of a Bull
AUTHOR: Maia Wojciechowska
Everyone expects Manolo to be like his history making, bullfighter father, Juan Olivar, who died when Manolo was 3. Inwardly, he is a coward, a boy who can’t even jump down from a haystack. With these characteristics, Manolo doubts he could be anything like his father. With 6 men teaching him everything about bullfighting, Manolo worries about letting down his dead father, encouraging mother, and the whole world. Manolo has a choice; he can be like his father or let everyone know who he is… as himself.
I’ve never been into bullfighting so this book didn’t really interest me. I can’t say it wasn’t a good book, either. The author made the characters real, but I was kind of disappointed that the “6 men” didn’t have names. I don’t think the author thought through the story well before she wrote it, either. Maia Wojciechowska, the author, did however know her bullfighting, making the bullfights and characters come to life with her knowledge.
I’d probably recommend this book to someone that likes bullfighting. The whole book is filled with bullfighting terms and words. In the back of the book, there is even a glossary of terms! That is the part of the book, I liked, though. I believe she did a great job with getting all her facts right. It’s an interesting Newberry Medal winner book.
BOOK NAME: Catherine, Called Birdy
AUTHOR: Karen Cushman
Catherine’s father is a pig who is determined to marry her away to any rich man. No matter how hard he tries, her father can not find a man who Catherine can’t scare off. With ash covered teeth, crossed eyes, and a sharp tongue, Catherine frightens off many men who ask for her hand in marriage. Can her burning hatred for her father and high spirit help Catherine win the battle against her own father’s greed for money?
It was short, but I liked it. I think the character Catherine would be my favorite. She’s kind of rough, but not tomboy-ish. If I was put in her position, being forced to marry, I’d act the way she does. Her family is very much like a common family back in the medieval times. I disliked her father very much. He seems like an ugly step father in a fairy tale, being bitter, prideful, greedy, but very much real.
The author did a great job getting her facts right in this book. I compared the way they did things in this book to some of my history books. Everything written in this book is in line with history. This book was the author’s first novel she ever wrote. I was surprised at how interesting it was and everyday I looked forward to reading it. I really enjoyed that the book was written in the form of a diary. There was minor cursing and I was surprised at this, just twice if not that. I recommend it to just about anyone, especially someone who wants a breath-taking quick read.
BOOK NAME: Anacaona
AUTHOR: Edwidge Danticat
The Royal Diaries is a series about different kinds of royalty from all around the world and different periods of time. In keeping with its theme, it is written in the style of a diary. The series is written by a variety of authors who are subject matter experts. So, they write about time periods they know best. What’s also interesting about this series is that at the end of each book there are pictures and drawings of that particular time period.
This part of the series is based on a real story about a girl who is a “supreme chief” in waiting. The girl’s name is Anacaona, which means “golden flower” in the Taino language and she lives in Haiti in the late 1400s. Can you guess the famous person mentioned at the end of this story? If you guessed Christopher Columbus, you’re right! But this time he’s not a hero explorer looking for new lands, he’s an enemy of the native people and is greedily searching for gold.
In the book, Anacaona has to make a big decision–stay in her land and rule her people, or go to a new land so she may marry the man she loves. But that’s not all there is to the story. In fact, you’ll never look at Christopher Columbus the same way again. This book is both educational and an exciting read with extraordinary details and historical settings. You’ll learn something and be entertained along the way. Enjoy!
BOOK NAME: Star in the Storm
AUTHOR: Joan Hiatt Harlow
If you like dogs and history, you’ll like Star in the Storm. The book takes place in Newfoundland, an island in Canada, around the time of World War II and the story is based on actual events.
It is about the dog, Sirius, which is named after one of the brightest stars at night. When other dogs chase a sheep into the ocean, Sirius swims out to save it, but it’s too late because the sheep drowns. When Sirius comes to shore with the dead sheep, people think he killed it and they make a rule that all dogs except for sheep dogs must leave the town. Maggie, the master of Sirius, keeps him hidden because she doesn’t want him to leave. Then there’s a big storm that causes a boat full of people to wreck into some rocks by the island. Maggie gets Sirius out of his hiding place and the dog helps save people’s lives. Since Sirius is a hero, the town decides he can stay and Maggie’s family is given a baby sheep so they can turn Sirius into a sheep dog.
The beginning of the book was a little confusing, but it made more sense as I read it.
BOOK NAME: The Book Thief
AUTHOR: Markus Zusak
Liesel Maminger is a thief. She has a habit of picking up books and taking them…for good. The Nazi book-burnings are where she is the most successful–she justifies that taking just one book won’t make a big difference. With the help of her accordion-playing foster Papa, Liesel learns to read. She feeds her soul with books and uses them to create a better world for herself and family.
I think the Jew that lives in Liesel’s basement, Max is my favorite character. The love he has for Liesel is just amazing. Max shows his fatherly love for Liesel by doing simple things, such as writing her a short letter, and she does the same in return. I like how Liesel’s foster mother’s personality unfolds; she acts bitter and mean, yet inside she is really kind and loving. One thing I don’t appreciate is how she curses at her daughter. The characters were all so different, but combined all of them made this book more than memorable.
This book was just flat-out amazing. It was well written and the author was incredibly descriptive! I’ve written a review on his other book, I Am The Messenger, and that one was just as superb. This author writes great books for young adults and teens.
Markus Zusak wrote this book from death’s point of view, so at times it was a bit complicated and confusing. Honestly, there were a few parts where I just read a whole page over again to understand it. I strongly suggest teens interested in reading this book to look up a sample page from the first chapter online before purchasing. I had to stop at times and let parts of the book sink in, but I also think that’s why I have truly loved it so much.
BOOK NAME: Surviving Antarctica: Reality TV 2083
AUTHOR: Andrea White
When you think of all of the hardships in your life, you might think of the time your pet passed away, or when you broke your leg. But I can be absolutely certain that you wouldn’t think of struggling for survival in Antarctica-on a reality TV show.
The year is 2083, and education past middle school is rare. Kids learn in a virtual classroom, watching TV shows about history or literature. One of the channels is a reality TV show called Historical Survivor. This year, the contestants will be 5 14-year-old children, and the top prize is $100,000. In a world where most kids don’t have enough to eat, let alone extra money, this is huge.
Andrea White’s book follows the five teens that are picked to compete as they journey through Antarctica, trying to recreate Robert F. Scott’s 1912 attempt to reach the South Pole. But as they trek through the barren desert, obstacles crop up in their path that make them suspicious of the fairness of the show.
This book was amazing. It incorporates action, adventure, and survival, while still allowing the reader to connect with the characters. It offers an intriguing concept of the future, and really made me think about what people want in life, as well as ideals of friendship and perseverance. I also gave this book to my 9-year-old brother to read, and he loved it as well-proving that it appeals to all audiences, both young and old! It provides a history lesson as well-but it doesn’t feel like you’re learning because you need to find out what happens to the main characters. In short, this book is a great futuristic read that serves a dual role as a science fiction and historical fiction novel.
BOOK NAME: Woods Runner
AUTHOR: Gary Paulsen
This book is a good historical fiction because it has a lot of Revolutionary War facts and a lot of action combined into one book. After every chapter, Gary Paulsen picked one important fact about the Revolutionary War and it would usually be a fact on the chapter you just read. Gary Paulsen actually used all of the guns in the book to get the feeling of them for the story.
The book is about a 13-year-old boy named Samuel who loves hunting and lives in a cabin with his Mom and Dad. He was out hunting one day because he feels so calm and relaxed in the woods. But before he went out, one of his neighbors told him there was a war in Massachusetts. He turned back because he heard something behind him and he saw smoke. He thought of the British Army, and he sprinted back…
I’m not going to tell you the rest because I want you to get the book and read it, but it’s about adventure and survival.
I’ve written a review on another Gary Paulsen book: Hatchet. Woods Runner is Paulsen’s newest book. It was published in 2010. It’s different than Hatchet because it’s historical fiction and Hatchet doesn’t really have any history. In Woods Runner there are more characters than Hatchet where there’s really on Brian, the main character. Gary Paulsen also read diaries from kids in the Revolutionary War so that he could get actually know how people like Samuel actually felt and acted.