It’s Random Acts of Publicity Week and …

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Can I come in and listen to a book with you?

I read two posts about two books of history for children.

The first, by Suzanne Lieurance, is a review of Nancy Sanders’ book Frederick Douglass – His Life and Times with 21 Activities.  The second, a review of The Golden Pathway by Donna McDine, is written by Carol Fraser Hagen.  Check out their reviews (I haven’t had an opportunity to read either book yet.)

When I was a kid in school, history was the most boring and awful subject.  It was even worse than word problems in math class.  **shudder** 

Now, though, as an adult, I am discovering the world of history is fascinating.  Probably because the books for the reading public do more than cover an event in one paragraph, but go into lots of interesting and fascinating details.  And it turns out that most of the text in those school textbooks is a perpetuation of historical myth.  The truth is far more fascinating.

So, it was with a bit of reluctance that I listened to a book I had borrowed from the public library’s OverDrive Media digital library. When I downloaded the kids’ book, I did not realize it was going to be an educational book in disguise.  Since I had downloaded four short kids books that day, I saved this one for last.  I’m glad I did eventually listen to it.  I may even try to add a copy of it to my personal library so I can listen to it again whenever I want to.

What educational novel might actually get so high praise from me?  The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick gets this praise.  I must admit that I was not ready to give the book quite so high praise at first.  Only after telling my husband about the book did I realize how good it is.

The book is about a boy whose older brother is illegally sold to the Union Army by their mean and drunkard uncle during the American Civil War.  Homer runs away and embarks on a journey to find and rescue his brother.  The journey takes him, ultimately, to the battlefield at Gettysburg, meeting some real historical figures along the way.  The description of this scene, the Gettysburg battlefield, I felt was too vivid for the intended young audience (ages 9 and up).  My husband’s response, though, was “GOOD!”  Yep.  He’s right.  And so, I give the book a firm and sure 2 Thumbs Up. 

So, I told you I had downloaded other kids books that day.    Might as well tell you about them, too.   :-)

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin, started out a little slowly but got more and more interesting as the book progressed.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable book about a little girl living in a depressed and gray village where her parents labor long hours in the rice paddy.  She heads out to find the Man In The Moon and this is the story of her journey.

The Death-Defying Pepper Roux,by Geraldine McCaughrean, tells the story of a boy who is supposed to die on his thirteenth birthday, but he runs away to avoid this destiny.  He has many adventures that are totally unbelievable — but that is sort of what makes the book so fun to read.  The level of hyperbole is great but not campy.  The story end is even better.

13 Gifts, by Wendy Mass, is part of a series of books, I think.  What makes them a series is the location, and characters who populate the location.  This book, though, focuses on a new girl to the town and a journey of self-discovery that she takes.  She has been a loner for so long that when she arrives at her aunt’s home for the summer, she is not prepared to meet and make friends with a group of other kids in town. 

There is a hole in the backyard at her aunt’s house.  They are planning to have an in-ground pool installed but have not decided what shape the pool should be.  My favorite part of the book was her relationship with one particular boy in town who is preparing for his bar mitzvah and practices in that hole.

Which brings me to Holes, by Louis Sachar.  I haven’t seen the movie and couldn’t bring myself to listen to the book during the week I had it.  I’ve downloaded it before and didn’t listen to it then, either.  I’m not even sure why not.  I’ve been told numerous times that the movie was good and even that the book is good, but …

Anyhow, children’s books are fun to read or listen to.  History can be lots of fun too.

Have Great Reads!

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