New Historical Fiction

Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal by Margarita Engle

Reading Level: Grade 6 & up

Written in verse from alternating viewpoints, this book gives the reader many different perspectives on the creation of the Panama Canal over a hundred years ago. We hear from howler monkeys, Theodore Roosevelt, a Cuban immigrant named Mateo, the trees, and many others who played a role in this large undertaking that connected the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

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The Great Trouble: a Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel by Deborah Hopkinson

Reading Level: Ages 9 - 12

In 1854 there was a cholera outbreak in London. Hundreds died. There was no cure and no one knew the cause of cholera.   Hopkinson 's hero is a thirteen-year-old orphan, Eel,  who scavenges the filthy Thames River and works odd jobs.  One job brings him in contact with Dr. Snow, a real historical figure who was an early epidemiologist.  The fast-paced novel combines a medical mystery, a race against the clock, evil child snatchers, and an assortment of characters.  You'll love Eel and his friends and want to them to triumph.

 

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Duke by Kirby Larson

Reading Level: Ages 8 - 12

Set in Seattle, Washington in 1944, this is the home front story of Hobie Hanson, a fifth-grader whose father is flying B-24s in Europe. It's a time of great patriotism and sacrifice even for those at home.  Hobie is expected to step up and help at home, on the family fishing boat, and with his younger sister.  There are ration stamps for sugar, meat, and shoes.  Everyone is urged to do all they can to help in the war effort.  When Hobie learns about the real life organization called Dogs For Defense, he decides to donate his beloved German Shepherd, Duke. It never occurred to him that Duke might be sent into combat or that Duke might bond with his Marine handler.  Will his father and his dog survive?

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