New Historical Fiction
Reading Level: Grade 5-7
Abby Shapiro is an eleven-year-old Jewish girl who desperately wants two things, her first bra and the hot new doll of 1959, the Barbie doll, the one with the bosoms! Her mom says no to the bra and that she can earn her own money to buy the doll. Abby comes up with the idea of designing clothes and sellling her fashion designs to Jackie Kennedy, the "possible future first lady of the United States. Thus Abby begins sending letters to "her friend in fashion."
The book is a lovely coming-of-age story with parts that are laugh out loud funny. Abby learns to deal with complications with her parents, her adored older brother, her gangster uncle, and her neighbors, the witch sisters. Through it all there's her letters to Jackie. A wonderful bonus is the glossary of Yiddish and Hebrew words and expressions.
Reading Level: Ages 3+
Originally published in 1959, this small book is sure to warm your heart. Stark black and white illustrations of a young cowboy contrast wonderfully with red drawings of imaginary wild animals, Indians, and outlaws that our hero must face. Great for any imaginative reader.
Reading Level: Grades 6+
Doug Swieteck and his lousy older brother just moved to a brand-new town that will be probably just as lousy as the old one - and with less baseball. And, just like in his old town, everyone who's anyone (teachers, the police, his dad, Lil Spicer down the street) thinks that Doug's just a skinny good-for-nothing kid who won't ever amount to anything except for trouble.
Despite Lil and Doug's initial dislike of each other, they begin to bond nonetheless. In his friendship with Lil, Doug manages to deal with his lousy situation, including his abusive father and older brother just back from Vietnam. Doug also finds solace in the public library's Audubon bird plates, first tracing the shapes and feathers with his fingers and then learning to draw them, with the help of a kind librarian.
Part laugh-out-loud, part tear-jerker, all American coming of age story, Okay For Now is not one to miss.
Reading Level: Grade 7-9
16-year-old Lady Victoria Mansfield is looking forward to being presented at court and beginning her life as an eligible young lady. She already has her eyes on Edmond Harford, the heir to a large estate. Yes, Victoria has a wonderful future ahead of her...if she can keep her newly emerged ability to fly a secret.
Victoria's world crashes around her when her two-year-old nephew Jamie falls off the edge of a cliff during a large party on her family's estate. Caught half way down the cliff in a loosely rooted tree, Jamie dangles between life and death. Tory doesn't have a choice. She flies down and saves her nephew. Victoria's father immediately banishes her to Lackland Abbey where nobility's defective magical offspring have a chance to be "reformed." Of course, her magical "taint" will make marriage almost impossible. But at least she can hope to return home.
Victoria is determined to suppress her magic until she stumbles upon a secret society of students who insist that only their magic can save England from disaster.
If you enjoyed this historical fantasy try:
Sorcery and Cecelia, or, The Enchanted Chocolate Pot : Being the Correspondence of Two Young Ladies of Quality Regarding Various Magical Scandals in London and the Country by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer and
Reading Level: Grades 5-7
11-year-old Tracy has been in America for six years. She doesn't remember much about her years in Vietnam. Not until she and her friend Stargazer discover her father's old ammo box in the garage. Stargazer breaks off the lock and opens the box. Her father finds them just as they pull out the military dogtag. His cold, hard anger sends Stargazer running for home.
During that steamy summer of 1980, powerful memories come back to haunt both Tracy and her father, memories that may force them apart forever.
Other stories of the lingering effects of war include:
The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt