BOB Book Winner 2018 – Historical Fiction

A Long Walk To Water by Linda Sue Park

 

In each chapter there are two time periods and two storylines because we are following both the true story of Salva Dut, a Sudanese Lost Boy, who was airlifted to the United States in the 1990’s and the fictional story of Nya, a young village girl of today. The author, Linda Sue Park, has used this book as a platform to support Dut’s program, Water for South Sudan.

Separated from his family by war in Sudan, Salva traveled by foot hundreds of miles to safety in Kenya.  Along with thousands of other boys – he survived starvation, attacks and disease to eventually relocate in New York.  He learned English, went to college and was successful enough to be able to return to his country to install deep-water wells in remote villages.

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History Undercover

Do You Recognize this Woman?

If you don’t, or even if you do, we have a book for you!

Phyllis Wheatley, a poet, was one of the foundations of African American literature.  Stolen from her home in Senegal in the late 17th century, she was sold as a slave in Massachusetts.  Her story is retold as a novel in Ann Rinaldi’s Hang a Thousand Trees With Ribbons, and it is a remarkable and totally absorbing read.

Rinaldi has many other historical titles, and here’s the thing about her books:  You can’t research a history paper with them.  But what you can do is get lost in the time and events of the past, and the lives of the people Rinaldi writes about.  Along the way, you’ll encounter excellently researched historical details, and find interesting leads to follow up on.  Rinaldi creates settings that make you feel like you’re really there – a part of things as they happen.

History Undercover – Code Name Verity

 “One of the smartest, and best, novels of the year.” – Nancy Pearl, NPR

 

Whenever I read a review like that I feel like I’m being challenged to read the book just to see if it’s true.  This time I’m glad I did.

I had the great pleasure of meeting Elizabeth Wein at a conference last summer and we talked about Code Name Verity. It sounded like a fascinating read, and I put it on my list of titles to get to.  Ms. Wein was equally fascinating, and clearly truly passionate about the writing process, her characters, and telling a story of some of the less-known heroes of history.

Code Name Verity follows the story of a female spy and a female pilot both involved in underground resistance movements during World War II.  Yes, this book is fiction, but the author’s meticulous research pays off in creating characters and setting give insight into real lives of women taking on new roles events demanded of them.

This book is fabulous.

Laugh and cry out loud.  Read like wildfire to reach the end and then wish it wasn’t done.  And then just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, there’s Rose Under Fire – Ms. Wein’s latest novel, and a companion work to Code Name Verity.

 

 

The Watsons Go To Birmingham-1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

In the 60’s, I was a little kid playing in the streets of my small town neighborhood without a care.  This novel about the Watson family is a treasure that describes the lives of these American children back in the day.  We lived in two different worlds.

 

They even made a movie from the book and you can see a preview here!

And by the way, what the heck is an Ultra-Glide??  Read the book to find out!

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

 

I love a historical novel and this one did not disappoint me.  Isabel and her sister Ruth lived during the time of the American Revolution.   They should have been freed when their mistress passed away.  Unfortunately, her greedy nephew saw the chance to make a few dollars and sold the girls to a couple from New York.  This couple are loyal to the King and busy working to stop America’s fight for freedom.

Isabel meets a young slave boy Curzon,  who is fighting for freedom and he convinces her to work for the Rebellion.  The Rebellion has many difficulties.  Isabel wants to quit but cannot.  Her efforts to help the Americans put her life in danger time after time.

Isabel also has many troubles with her cruel mistress.  Ruth has seizures and Isabel does her best to protect her younger sister, but ends up losing track of Ruth when the mistress sells her.

This novel is full of little nuggets of how life was back in the 1700’s for the colonists and the slaves they kept. Thanks for them Ms Anderson!  This is the first in a series and hopefully the next book is as good as this.

A perfect novel if you want to get ready for African-American History Month.