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Book: Stella by Starlight

Author: Sharon M. Draper

Genre: Historical Fiction

Page Count: 352

Stella lives in Bumblebee, North Carolina. Life’s okay. I mean, some stores she can’t go into, and the white school is much better than her own, but she still has her family and her community, right? Not for long. After many years the Klan has arisen in Bumblebee once again. And Stella knows who one of them is.

I really liked this book. I thought that most of the supporting characters were very loveable. There were a few times in the second half of the book where some scenes seemed very random and unfinished. It also seemed to end at a place where everything seemed happy, but I think if the story continued, terrible things would happen.

I thought this book gave a different view on the depression era than a lot of other books. The main difference is that the perspective was from a that of a very small town, as opposed to a city.

If you like historical fiction books that are slightly depressing, you should read this book.

Book: Beyond the Bright Sea

Author: Lauren Wolk

Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery

Page Count: 306

The other people on Cuttyhunk were are afraid to touch Crow. They think she came from a neighboring island, Penikese. They think she’s sick. Crow decides that she wants to prove, once and for all, where she came from, but she starts to dive into a mystery much bigger than she imagined.

I didn’t really enjoy this book at first, but as I got into the second half it held my interest more. I think that it was a good book, just a little more slower paced than I’m used to.

Since this is a historical fiction book, I read it for history. It didn’t actually have much historical content, outside of a few facts about Penikese. It was interesting to see what life could be like living away from the mainland.

If you like slow-paced mysteries, you should read this book.

Book: The Jazz Kid

Author: James Lincoln Collier

Genre: Historical Fiction

Page Count: 224

Paulie has never done well in school. He’s never had the patience, or motivation to do anything, but then Jazz walks into his life. He takes up the Cornet and sticks with it, making a promise to his Mom that he would keep up his grades. But that doesn’t work out too well . . .

This book was kind of meh. It wasn’t bad necessarily, but I didn’t really enjoy it. (then again I don’t like most things with out revolution, drama, or fighting) I though some of the characters were really interesting, especially Paulie’s dad.

I read this for the 1920s’ history unit. I thought I learned a lot about what peoples’ mindsets were like back then. Another really intriguing thing about this book was the fact that most of the musicians in it were real people, like Benny Goodman, Louie Armstrong and the Rhythm Kings.

If you like historical fiction books that teach you more than entertain you, I would recommend this book.

Book: Redwall

Author: Brian Jakques

Genre: Fantasy

Page Count: 302

The mice of Redwall Abbey have devoted their life to peace, kindness and healing. But when they face a threat from Cluny , a rat warlord, there comes a time when they must fight once more. Matthias, a young mouse, must set out on a quest to find an ancient sword, one that hasn’t been seen in thousands of years.

Reading this book was torture for my mind. Certainly not as much as Animal Farm was, but it was sloooowwww. Even the battles and parts where it should have been interesting just didn’t hold my attention. Maybe that’s the type of book some people like to read, but not me.

One good thing I can say about this book was that it was short. If it had been any longer I might have downright refused to read it (I was reading it for book club). As it was, it was hard to get through. There were some good things though. Different types of animals in the book spoke with different dialects, which I thought showed how diverse they were.

This just wasn’t my type of book. If you like slow-paced books about animals, by all means read it, but I don’t think I would recommend it to anyone.

Book: Crossing Stones

Author: Helen Frost

Genre: Historical Poetry?

Page Count: 208

Muriel lives on a farm with her family, next to her best friends. But when both her brother and her neighbor go off to war, things start to change, and she doesn’t know where her place is in this new world.

I read this book for history. Some parts of it I thought were informative, but many of the dates and how long it took things to happen seemed inaccurate. One thing I did learn about in this book that I didn’t in other WWI books was about women’s suffrage during that time.

This book was written in verse (which means that it is entirely made up of poetry). It read like a story halfway through, and then I read part of the authors note in the back and saw a rhyming thing she did with the form, and I kept getting distracted trying to pick the rhymes out.

The main character is Muriel, but some of the book was from other peoples’ point of view. My favorite of the three of them was Muriel, because she “rocks the boat, not the cradle”.

If you like poetry and History, I think you’ll like this book.

Book: Hattie Big Sky

Author: Kirby Larson

Genre: Historical Fiction

Page Count: 322

Her entire life, Hattie has been transferred from one relative, to another. So when a long-lost uncle died and left his homesteading claim to her, she is eager to try to strike out on her own. But proving up a claim is harder than she might think, especially during war times.

The thing I liked most about this book was that Hattie was constantly writing and receiving letters from different people. I thought that helped us gain perspective on what these people thought of her homesteading. Another thing I liked was the character Perilee, who has a neighboring farm to Hattie’s. I liked how kind and matter-of-fact she was.

There wasn’t much I didn’t like about this book, except perhaps a part of the ending. I really wanted to meet a character Hattie was writing letters to, but we didn’t. 🙁

I read this book for the WW1 section of my history. I thought that it showed how people across the ocean reacted to the war. One thing that I felt was inaccurate was that it skated over the Spanish Flu. It made it seem like it was there for a week, then was gone.

Altogether, you should read this book.

Here’s a slideshow with things I learned from the WW1 Horrible Histories book: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1j3ZrASP9f8KrZ8icL1kWJV-JOpMSR8Eyqtk_Rt-nt7w/edit?usp=sharing

A Single Shard, by Linda Sue Park

warning: spoiler alert

Main character: Tree-ear

I would give this book five stars because it was very good and I highly recommend it!

It is about a boy in Korea named Tree-ear. He lives under a bridge in a potters’ village with his friend Crane-man. He likes to watch the best potter in the village, Min, who is also known for his short temper! One day he accidentally breaks a box and a strange adventure unfolds.

Things I like about the book:

-crane-man: because he is very kind

-Min’s wife: because she is very kind

-Tree-ear: because he is energetic and is fun to read about

Things I do not like about the book:

-that crane-man died

-that the pottery broke