Caddie Woodlawn
Carol Ryrie Brink
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Pub. Date: November 1997
Copyright: 1935
288 pages
Ages: 9-12

The story of Caddie Woodlawn is a classic Newberry award winner. Caddie is about as big as a tomboy as there can be, much to the dismay of her mother who wants her to be a perfect little lady! Caddie has many adventures along with her brothers Tom and Warren. Uncle Edmund comes to visit which brings more adventure. Despite her troublesome ways Caddie has a great heart for those around her and is known to stick up for others. This is tale of love and life. - JK

Elephant Run
Roland Smith
Pub. Date: September 2007
Age Range: 12 and up

The setting starts out in London and then shifts to Burma. A fourteen year old boy named Nick is forced to move from London to Burma because his mother is worried about his safety. The Germans have started air raids. As he arrives in Burma to stay with his father on the plantation he quickly realizes that he transitioned from one war to another. At this point he is trying to bond with his father and learn how to manage the plantation. He is mainly trying to manage the elephants that are used for harvest. Almost upon his arrival the Japanese army takes Nick and his father as prisoners. His father moves to another plantation and he stays as a slave at his plantation. This girl Maya was also enslaved by the Japanese and is currently an elephant handler at the plantation. Maya and Nick start planning to escape because Nick’s father is getting sick and one of the Japanese soldiers keeps on making advances towards Maya. A local Monk is trying to help Maya and Nick escape as well as an elephant. They also take Nicks father with them.

Opinion: I thought this book was great!!! It really made me think of Robin Hood as he was escaping through the Jungle. I liked all of the action but I hated when the soldier was making the advances to Mya. I thought the book all in all was great!


Endless Steppe

Esther Hautzig
HarperCollins Publishers
Pub. Date: June 1995
Copyright: 1968
256 pages
Young Adult

This is very moving story about the author herself when her world is changed forever when she is deported to Siberia. Esther was very used to living a comfortable life but after Siberia nothing was comfortable anymore. Life was a fight for survival. This book made me very grateful for the life I live. I really enjoyed this historical account of a girl’s rough time during the time of WWII. During deportation Esther’s family is split up but in the end she is reunited with them! - JK

Fever 1793
Laurie Halse Anderson
Simon & Schuster
Pub. Date: March 2002
Age Range: Young Adult

August 1793, Philadelphia. Mattie wakes up one morning to find her friend and family’s servant is dead. Devastation fills Mattie as she is forced to pick up her friend’s work. Soon, talk of the fever has become commonplace. Mattie is afraid, when suddenly her mother contracts the fever. She and her grandfather must now decide what to do. Will Mattie and her family survive this epidemic sweeping through the capitol city of Philadelphia? - AB


A Gathering of Days
Joan Blos
Pages: 144
Grade Level: 5
Copyright : 1979
Publisher: Charles Scribner’s Sons

Joan Blos’ A Gathering of Days gives a very personal look at what Pioneer life must have been like. Life was simple. It had its joys, but was also filled with trials and hardships at the same time. The story begins with Catherine writing in her journal, a gift from her father. In it, she describes her life, the lives of her friends and family, and others in her small community. Through her entries we get a gentle and intimate portrayal of tragedy and tranquility, justice and responsibility, and life and death as she develops the ability to trust. - MM

Happy Birthday, Addy!
Book Four in Addy’s series of The American Girls Collection
Written by Connie Porter; Illustrated by Bradford Brown
Copyright 1994
Age Group: 7-10

Having escaped from slavery in the south, Addy now lives with her parents in Civil War era Philadelphia. Her father drives a wagon, delivering ice blocks to various businesses, while her mother is a homemaker. Addy’s father was a carpenter when they were enslaved, but now that they are free, he cannot find a carpentry job anywhere – the prejudices are too great. Frustrated Addy finds a wise old woman, Mrs. Golden, who, though blind, sees better than many people do. When Addy and her friend Sarah take a trip into town to find Mrs. Golden some needed medicine, both girls learn a lesson in the evils of prejudice – and how to rise above it. – KD

Meet Addy
Connie Porter; Illustrated by: Melodye Rosales
American Girl Publishing, Incorporated
Pub. Date: September 1993
Ages 9 -12

This is the first American Girl book in the series about Addy. This book is a story of Addy’s trip to freedom. Addy and her family are slaves on a southern plantation. Her father and brother are sold by their master and Addy’s life seems torn apart. After that happened it is decided that Addy and her mother would begin their trip to freedom. They escape the plantation but must leave little Esther behind. Addy and her mama have many adventures during their escape but in the end they are well on their way. - JK

Hattie Big Sky
Kirby Larson
289 Pages
Copyright 2006
Grades 6 - Up

Hattie had never had a home of her own. As an orphan, she has been shuffled around to various family members so when a surprising letter arrives her mundane life is turned upside down. An uncle she has never known has died and he left her all he owned including a homestead in Montana. Excited to escape her life with Aunt Ivy and ready for an adventure Hattie sets out for the unsettled west! When she arrives things are not as she expected. Life is hard and Hattie soon learns what it means to work hard, love hard and belong. - JK



I, Juan de Pareja
Elizabeth Borton de Trevino
Copyright 1965
180 Pages
Young Adult

Publisher's Description: Juan is the slave of the great Spanish painter Diego Valazquez and helps his master in his studio by preparing paints and stretching canvases. But Juan is an artist, too: he has taught himself by watching his master's technique. Although such work is forbidden by slaves, Jaun cannot keep his secret any longer.What will happen when the truth is known?


Jip His Story
Katherine Paterson
Penguin Group (USA)
Pub. Date: October 1998
Age Range: 12 and up

Jip is a young boy that does not really know where he came from. All he had been told, by the poor farm, was that he fell off a Gypsy wagon and he ended up on the farm. Jip works hard on his chores and taking care of the animals around the farm. The master decided that they should let Jip go to school with their daughter Lucy to keep her safe. While at school, Jip built a strong relationship with the schoolteacher. The schoolteacher always told him if he needed anything that she was there. Does the schoolteacher know more about Jip’s past? Through many dangerous adventures will Jip find out where he really came from? - EM


Journal of Ben Uchida

Barry Denenberg
Pages 156
Copyright 1999
Grade 5 - Up

Publisher's Annotation: Twelve-year-old Ben Uchida keeps a journal of his experiences as a prisoner in a Japanese internment camp in Mirror Lake, California, during World War II.


Journey Home
Yoshiko Uchida
© 1978
Pages: 131
Age Group: 8-10

During World War II, Japanese Americans were placed in internment camps. Yuki and her family were no different. However, given the chance, they were able to leave early and life in Salt Lake City. Her older brother, Ken, is fighting in the military. Yuki misses her friends in the Tacoma internment camp, and waits for the day for them to come back. Soon, Yuki and her family receive the news that they can return to their home in California, and all Yuki wants is for life to return to normal – now it was before the war. However, with people growing and changing, will life ever be the same? - AB

Kai: the lost statue, Africa, 1440
Leona Nicholas Welch
71 Pages
Copyright 1997
Grades 3 - up

Continues the adventures of Kai, a young girl from the Yoruba village of Oyo who lives in 1440 and who considers revenge against the thief when her fine piece of sculpture disappears.


Meet Addy
Connie Rose Porter
American Girl Publishing, Incorporated
Pub. Date: September 1993
Age: 9-12

A nine-year-old girl and her family suffering from slavery make a plan to escape from their cruel masters house. Upon planning for the escape, Addy’s dad and brother are sold to another white man for slavery work. Addy and her mom have to decide whether to still go through with the escape. When they decided that they would go ahead with the escape they dressed up like boys so their masters dogs would not be able to follow there scent so closely, and so the soldiers wouldn’t be able to recognize them. Through this great adventure, Addy learns how to be brave and courageous. - EM

This is the first American Girl book in the series about Addy. This book is a story of Addy’s trip to freedom. Addy and her family are slaves on a southern plantation. Her father and brother are sold by their master and Addy’s life seems torn apart. After that happened it is decided that Addy and her mother would begin their trip to freedom. They escape the plantation but must leave little Esther behind. Addy and her mama have many adventures during their escape but in the end they are well on their way.

Midwife's Apprentice

Karen Cushman
122 Pages
Copyright 1995
Young Adult

Publisher's Annotation: In medieval England, a nameless, homeless girl is taken in by a sharp-tempered midwife, and in spite of obstacles and hardship, eventually gains the three things she most wants: a full belly, a contented heart, and a place in this world.


Miracle on Maple Hill
Virginia Sorenson
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Pub. Date: August 2003
Age Range: 8 and Up

Marly’s father comes home from war and she is so excited he is back. The only problem she realizes is that he is different. He seems to be more distracted and withdrawn. She really is amazed at how much her father has changed while he has been at war. Marly’s mom makes a corporate decision to move the family to Vermont in hopes that her husband will bounce back to who he used to be. Marly is very excited about the move and can’t wait to see what Vermont has in store. She wants her life in Vermont to be full of Miracles. She discovers many “miracles” like sap flowing from the trees. The biggest miracle her and her mother wanted was for her father to heal his internal wounds from war and be who he was. Guess what??? That miracle came true!!!! Her father transformed in Vermont!

Opinion: I liked the book but I can’t say I loved it. I thought some of the stuff she considered a miracle was just nature but that’s okay. I liked how it didn’t have a lot of drama. It was really easy going and pleasant. I probably wouldn’t read it again but it was a good first time read. - RC

Number the Stars
Lois Lowry
Random House Childrens Books
Pub. Date: February 1998
Recommended Ages: 12+
Pages: 137
Awards: Newberry Medal

Annotation : The story is set during the German occupation of Denmark in 1943. The Johansen and Rosen families share a close friendship that will, ultimately, save the lives of Ellen Rosen and her parents. When the Nazi soldiers begin to capture the Jews living in Copenhagen, the Rosens and many other families are forced to flee the country. Ellen is taken in by the family of her best friend Annamarie Johansen, who ends up risking her own life to help the Resistance in their effort to relocate the Jews to the free country of Switzerland.

Reaction : This story was very engaging and I learned a lot by reading it. Seeing the events in history from the perspective of plausible events in the lives of people who experienced them really brings the accounts that we hear of in history class to life. - EH


No Promises in the Wind
Irene Hunt
Pages: 247
Genre: Historical Fiction
Grade Level: 8
Copyright : 1970
Publisher: Follett Publishing Company

Set in the 1930’s, Irene Hunt’s No Promises in the Wind chronicles the journey of two brothers, Josh and Joey as they experience the Great Depression first hand. When there is not enough food at home, Josh and his younger brother Joey set out with Josh’s friend Howie. However, Howie is killed lone. while trying to jump a train leaving Josh and Joey alone. They soon find that life on the road is not as easy as they thought. They must resort to accepting handouts, begging, or sifting through garbage cans to survive. Through it all, the brothers find how much they need each other. Will they band together and rise above the dire circumstances, or will they become two more casualties of the Depression? - MM

Out of the Dust
Karen Hesse
227 Pages
Copyright: 1997
Grades 3 - up

Publisher's Description: When Billie Jo is just fourteen she must endure heart-wrenching ordeals that no child should have to face. The quiet strength she displays while dealing with unspeakable loss is as surprising as it is inspiring.


The Passage
James Killgore
Pages: 249
Copyright 2006
Young Adult

Publisher's Description: Fifteen-year-old Mississippi schoolboy Sam Wood learns about honor, courage, and friendship while serving on a Confederate ironclad gunboat, the CSS Arkansas, in the early days of the Civil War.


Picture Bride
Yoshiko Uchida
Copyright 1997
216 Pages
Young Adult - Adult

Publisher's Description: This is the story of how Hana Omiya's life is changed when she travels from Japan to San Francisco, California, in 1917as a "picture brides," selected by her husband based on a photograph.


Preacher’s Boy
Katherine Paterson
Pages: 168
Grade Level: 5
Copyright : 1999
Publisher: Clarion Books

The life of a preacher’s son is a tough one, especially for a boy coming into his own. It is the turn of a new century (20 th), and many people in Robbie’s father’s church believe that the world may be coming to an end. Robbie, himself, is struggling with what he believes about God and comes to the conclusion that God is too hard to please. He concludes that he may as well get as much out of life as possible since the world may be coming to an end anyway. Robbie’s antics do nothing to help his father’s opinion of his behavior, nor do they help in improving the congregation’s opinions about his father. When Robbie’s actions endanger far more than his father’s reputation, Robbie must decide if he is going to take responsibility for his own actions while a man’s life hangs in the balance. What will Robbie do in Katherine Paterson’s Preacher’s Boy? - MM

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
Mildred Taylor
276 Pages
Copyright: 1976
Grades 5 - Up

Publisher's Annotation: A black family living in Mississippi during the Depression of the 1930s is faced with prejudice and discrimination which its children do not understand.


Gary Paulsen
180 Pages
Copyright 1997
Young Adult

Publisher's Annotation: Continues the adventures of Sarny, the slave girl Nightjohn taught to read, through the aftermath of the Civil War during which time she taught other Blacks and lived a full life until age ninety-four.


Sarah Plain and Tall
Patricia MacLaughlin
58 Pages
Copyright 1985
Grades 3 - Up

Publisher's Annotation: When their father invites a mail-order bride to come live with them in their prairie home, Caleb and Anna are captivated by their new mother and hope that she will stay.


The Second Bend in the River
Ann Rinaldi
Scholastic, Inc.
Pub. Date: May 1999
Age Range: Young Adult

Publisher's Annotation: In 1798 Rebecca, a young settler in the Ohio territory, meets the Shawnee called Tecumseh and later develops a deep friendship with him.


Secret of the Rose
Sarah L. Thomsen
296 Pages
Copyright 2006
Grades 5 - Up

Publisher's Annotation: When her father is imprisoned in 1592 England for being Catholic, fourteen-year-old Rosalind disguises herself as a boy and finds an ultimately dangerous job as servant to playwright Christopher Marlowe.


Stones in Water
Donna Jo Napoli
Penguin Group (USA)
Pub. Date: November 1999
Age Range: Young Adult

First of all the book was set during the WWII. A boy named Roberto is going to a movie with his friends. While he is in the movie some soldiers come and raid the theater and him and his brother get separated. The soldiers take all of the boys and place them on a train. When he is on the train he realizes that even though the German soldiers are not at war with them they believe that Italians are a nonessential. When Roberto and his two friends get out of the train Memo (one of his friends) gets separated from them. While all this is going on Roberto and Samuele are hiding a very big secret. Samuele is Jewish. The whole book he is trying to hide his circumcision when he is urinating. Samuele ends up getting killed because he was fighting for some German boots. After this happens Roberto has had enough. He runs across Ukraine.

Opinion: I thought this book was great. I think the enduring love and concern shown by both Samuele and Roberto was beautiful. It caused me to laugh and cry. I was so happy when he escaped but hated that Samuele had to die. I loved Samuele’s character because was so kind and read the Old Testament to Roberto. I thought this book was great!!!! - RC

This Vast Land
Stephen Ambrose
287 Pages
Copyright: 2003
Young Adult

Publisher's Annotation: A fictional journal recounting the travels--from 1803 to 1806--of eighteen-year-old George Shannon, the youngest member of Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery as they explored the west and sought a water route to the Pacific Ocean.


Time Enough for Drums
Ann Rinaldi
Random House Childrens Books
Pub. Date: May 2000
Age Range: Young Adult

Jemima Emerson lives during the time of the American Revolutionary War. She lives with her family and she has a tutor named John Reid, who is a Tory, or someone who is loyal to the king. Her brother, Dan, goes to fight in the war. Jem, as she is called, remains at home with her mother and father, her younger brother, the servants, and John, who was in and out. Jem and John do not get along. She hates him first and foremost because he holds the exact opposite political views as she and her family do.

But as the war goes on and things begin to change, Jem feels herself warming toward John. Jem’s father runs a store and her mother runs their home. Her mother also secretly writes letters to the newspaper, calling for supplies for the American army. The authorities find out about the letters and murder her father. Her mother seems to go crazy, not being able to bear the thought that she was responsible for her husband’s death.

Jem finds out that John is actually a spy for the American army. He travels with the Tories as a spy. As soon as Jem finds this out, she is free to love John as she knows she does.

Dan comes back after the war and Jem and John are married. Jem’s mother is still unable to face the world, but she is aware of what is happening and talks to Jem. - JH

To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee
HarperCollins Publishers
Pub. Date: May 2006

This book deals with issues that went on in the 1930’s and still happen in today’s culture. A family living in Alabama is put in the middle of a town conflict dealing with a black man. The father, Atticus is the lawyer for this black man that is standing trial. Throughout the book it this family is facing trials because of Atticus service at the trial. It is a heart wrenching story but I love it every time.

Torn Thread
Ann Issacs
188 Pages
Copyright: 2000
Grade 5 -Up

Publisher's Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Eva and her sister have been forced to leave their home in Poland and are imprisoned in a Nazi labor camp. There they must spin thread on treacherous machinery to make clothing and blankets for the German Army. As Eva struggles amid ever worsening dangers to save her life and that of her sick sister, readers witness how two teenagers strive to create home and family amidst inhumanity and chaos.


The Turning
Gloria Whelan
213 Pages
Copyright: 2006
Grades 5 - Up

Publisher's Description: In the spring of 1991, a Russianballerina dreams of leaving Leningrad -- forever. A member of the Kirov Ballet Corps, Tatiana hopes to be chosen for the troupe's Paris tour. Once there, she will try to escape the watchful eye of KGB agents, defect to France, and leave the complicated politics of the Soviet Union behind.


The Watsons Go To Birmingham - 1963
Christopher Paul Curtis
Random House Children's Books
224 Pages
Age Range: 9 to 12

“The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963” is a book about an African-American family that lives in Flint, Michigan. They lived and experienced that affects of the civil right movement. It did not have many big examples of what it was like for the African-American people of this time. There were more subtle examples of the persecution that the African-American people went through. Kenny is the main character in this book. Kenny is ten years old and is forced to grow up faster then any ten year old should have to. Kenny experienced his first real interaction with whites persecuting African-Americans while visiting his grandma down south in Birmingham, Alabama. Two white people put off two bombs in the African-American church that his little sister was attending that Sunday. Seeing that tragedy of the church forced Kenny to have to deal with the hard reality of life during the civil rights movement. - EM


Way Down Deep
Ruth White
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Pub. Date: March 2007
Age Range: 10

This book takes place in the small town of Way Down, West Virginia. One morning, the town folk go out and see a little girl with bright red hair standing in the street. They ask her name and she answers, “Woobey!” They realize this means Ruby, and from then on her name is Ruby, with the name June added at the end. A young woman, Miss Arbutus, comes out of the hotel that she owns and says that she will take in the girl to live with her. - JH


The Whipping Boy
Sid Fleischman
HarperCollins Publishers
Pub. Date: March 2003
Recommended Ages: 8-12
Pages: 112
Awards: Newberry Medal

Annotation : When Prince Horace, otherwise know as Prince Brat, decides to run away from his life of royalty, he takes his whipping boy, Jemmy, with him. The two encounter ruffians who decide to ask a ransom from the King for the return of who they believe is the Prince. In reality, Jemmy and Prince Brat have traded identities in a scheme to try and trick their captors and gain freedom for the Prince. In their attempt to escape, Prince Brat and Jemmy join up with a hot potato salesman, Betsy and her dancing bear, a rat collector, and a local circus. Their flight from the ruffians leads them into the underground sewers, where rats help in foiling the thieves’ plan of capture. The two are escorted back to the castle, where the Prince agrees to behave, Jemmy no longer has to take whippings for the Prince, and the two live as friends.

Reaction : This book was an older publication, but it was an okay read. I had heard that a teacher was reading it with her 4 th grade class, and I thought I would see what it was about. I did not mind reading it, but I do not think it was very engaging. - EH

Willow Run
Patricia Reilly Giff
149 Pages
Copyright: 2005
Grades 5 - Up

Publisher's Synopsis: Meggie Dillon’s life has been turned upside down by World War II. Her older brother Eddie enlisted and was shipped off to fight in Europe. And people say that anywhere else Grandpa would be turned in because he’s German, and people might think he’s a spy. Is it true? Could Grandpa be taken away?

Meggie’s father has announced that they must help the war effort and move to Willow Run, Michigan, where he’ll work nights in a factory building important war planes that will help fight the enemy in Europe. Willow Run will be the greatest adventure ever, Meggie thinks. There she meets Patches and Harlan, other kids like her whose parents have come here to do their part in the war. And there she faces questions about courage, and what it takes to go into battle, like Eddie, and how to keep hope alive on the home front.


The Winter of Red Snow
Kristiana Gregory
Live Oak Media
Pub. Date: April 2005

The Winter of Red Snow, written by Kristiana Gregory, is a touching story of historical fiction. This book is written in diary fonnat, as if Abigail Jane Stewart filled it's pages with the story of her life growing up during the revolutionary war. Winters were tough during the year 1778, especially during the war! There was little to eat, and the cold was almost too much to bear! In those days soldiers were seen as heroes, and Abigail and her family viewed them no differently. Abigail has a view in her mind of what a soldier should be: tall, dark, handsome, undefeatable! It is not until the soldiers march past her home that she realizes that these soldiers are just people too! They were skinny, freezing and injured ... many didn't even have shoes! As they marched, they left a trail of blood from their wounded feet, thus the name: The Winter of Red Snow.

Karen Hesse
161 Pages
Copyright: 2001
Grades 5 - Up

Publisher's Annotation: A series of poems express the views of various people in a small Vermont town, including a young black girl and a young Jewish girl, during the early 1920s when the Ku Klux Klan is trying to infiltrate the town.


A Year Down Yonder
Richard Peck
130 Pages
Copyright 2000
Grades 5- 8

Publisher's Synopsis: Mary Alice's childhood summers in Grandma Dowdel's sleepy Illinois town were packed with enough drama to fill the double bill of any picture show. But now she is fifteen, and faces a whole long year with Grandma, a woman well known for shaking up her neighbors-and everyone else! All Mary Alice can know for certain is this: when trying to predict how life with Grandma might turn out . . . better not. This wry, delightful sequel to the Newbery Honor Book A Long Way from Chicago has already taken its place among the classics of children's literature.


Yellow Star
Jennifer Rozines Roy
227 Pages
Copyright 2006
Grades 5 - Up

Publisher's Synopsis: From 1939, when Syvia is four and a half years old, to 1945 when she has just turned ten, a Jewish girl and her family struggle to survive in Poland's Lodz ghetto during the Nazi occupation.