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Historical Fiction

Look What's In Large Print: February 2011

Tired of squinting while reading? Getting a headache from focusing too hard for too long? You're not alone — one in six Americans over the age of 45 have trouble reading small print.

Turtle in Paradise

Meet Turtle, a charming eleven-year-old who is in under no illusions about the ways of the world. It is 1935 and her "starry-eyed," romantic mother (who is always falling in and out of love with total losers) ships Turtle off to relatives in Key West, Florida because her latest housekeeping job does not allow children. Turtle is thrown into a radically different way of life amid boisterous cousins, eccentric adults, hurricanes, scorpions, and windfall fruit. She isn't allowed into her cousins' Diaper Gang (no girls allowed) to earn spending money, but has high hopes she'll soon be on Easy Street like Little Orphan Annie when she discovers a pirate treasure map.

I Knew It Was An Awesome Book!!!

Check out the blog I posted on this super historical fiction book a couple months ago. It has been named a Newbery Honor Book. I know a winner when I read it! (Well… usually!)

One Crazy Summer

Rita Williams-Garcia's most recent book, One Crazy Summer, was named a Newbery Honor Book this week. So what is it about?
In the summer of 1968, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters are shipped off by their father to spend a month with their estranged mother in Oakland, CA. But their mother has no time for them. Instead of taking them to Disneyland as they had hoped, she sends them to the People's Center run by the Black Panthers so she can write poetry. Delphine is a remarkable older sister, wise beyond her years, and an expert at handling her siblings. Each girl has a distinct response to their mother and the ideas and people to which they are exposed. They develop a hard-won, tenuous connection with their mother and an awareness of injustice on a personal and universal level. With endearing characters, a vivid depiction of a pivotal moment in African-American history, and beautiful, poetic language, this is a book worth reading more than once. Readers will wonder what happens to the sisters when they return to their father in Brooklyn with their 'radical' new ideas about the world.

History, boring? Never!

Looking for some fun historical reads? Look no further.

Sugar changed the world: a story of magic, spice, slavery, freedom, and science by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos

Countdown by Deborah Wiles

Journey into Mohawk Country as written by H.M. van den Bogaert with artwork by George O'Connor and color by Hilary Sycamore

What Should I Read?

In what order should you read a series? Read everything written by Sue Grafton or Malcolm Gladwell and would like to try a similar author? Books & Authors, available in Canton Public Library's databases, allows you to search by title and/or author, subject, keyword, time period, geographic location, or character. Follow the series links for additional titles, or take advantage of the Expert Picks & Librarian's Favorites for recommendations based on some of your favorite titles or topics.

A Mixed Bag of Teen Reads from 2010

Some of my favorite teen books from 2010 include fantasy, historical fiction, and a few plain old realistic fiction reads.

Ostrich boys by Keith Gray

Sisters red by Jackson Pearce

Countdown by Deborah Wiles

Historical Romance

If you enjoy historical romances by Bertrice Small or Sabrina Jeffries, try these authors:

Heart of a Samurai

Margi Preus has created a masterpiece with this fascinating, exciting, and factual historical novel. In 1841, fourteen-year-old Manjiro and his four friends find themselves fighting for survival on a deserted island after their fishing boat is destroyed in a storm. Luckily, an American whaling ship rescues them before they perish. They cannot return to Japan because the country's borders are closed to both foreigners and to citizens who have strayed. Imprisonment or even death would await them. Manjiro is curious, intelligent and eager to help with the work on Captain Whitfield's ship. They become very close and Captain Whitfield takes Manjiro home with him to Massachusetts where he attends school and helps on the Whitfield's farm. He is believed to be the first Japanese person to set foot in America.

Fiction Set in the Sixties

If you liked The Help by Kathryn Stockett, here's a selection of other novels which explore their characters' lives in this time of social change:

The secret life of bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Plum wine: a novel by Angela Davis-Gardner

Fiction Set in (or just after) World War II

The following novels focus on interpersonal relationships, exploring romantic entaglements and friendships during this time of global upheaval:

The Granville sisters by Una-Mary Parker

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

The wedding officer: a novel of culinary seduction by Anthony Capella

Murder Will Out — June 2010

Historical mysteries have become increasingly popular in the last decade. If you are a fan of historical fiction, and historical mystery stories in particular, you've read many of the well-known authors of this sub-genre: Steven Saylor, Anne Perry, Eliot Pattison, I. J. Parker, Lindsey Davis, John Maddox Robert, Margaret Frazer, and the list goes on, but have you read the works of:

Nefertiti: the book of the dead by Nick Drake

Critique of criminal reason by Michael Gregorio

The fifth servant by Kenneth Wishnia

Thirteenth night : a medieval mystery by Alan Gordon

A test of wills by Charles Todd

Murder on Astor Place by Victoria Thompson

Fiction with a Historical Twist

Like a good story? Travel back in time to read about young people from all times in history.

Catherine, called Birdy by Karen Cushman — (1290) Karen Cushman has written several books set in medieval England.  This one is about a thirteen-year-old girl who is not quite ready to be married off.  She has several adventures and records her thoughts in her diary.

Girl in a cage by Jane Yolen & Robert J.

K. J. A. Wishnia Is Back

Prague, 1592. A young girl has been brutally murdered and Christians and Jews will be pitted against each other in Edgar nominee, K. J. A. Wishnia's (aka Kenneth Wishnia) soon-to-be released, mystery The Fifth Servant.