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Saturday Review of Books: July 22, 2017

Posted by Sherry on 7/21/2017 in Saturday Reviews |

“I scribble, underline, note, add, cross out, put in exclamation marks, turn down corners – even sometimes jot down phone numbers and PINs and reminders to buy cat food.” ~Susan Hill

SatReviewbutton

Welcome to the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. Here’s how it usually works. Find a book review on your blog posted sometime during the previous week. The review doesn’t have to be a formal sort of thing. You can link to your thoughts on a particular book, a few ideas inspired by reading the book, your evaluation, quotations, whatever.

Then on Friday night/Saturday, you post a link here at Semicolon in Mr. Linky to the specific post where you’ve written your book review. Don’t link to your main blog page because this kind of link makes it hard to find the book review, especially when people drop in later after you’ve added new content to your blog. In parentheses after your name, add the title of the book you’re reviewing. This addition will help people to find the reviews they’re most interested in reading.

After linking to your own reviews, you can spend as long as you want reading the reviews of other bloggers for the week and adding to your wishlist of books to read.

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We Were There at the Opening of the Atomic Era by James Munves

Posted by Sherry on 7/16/2017 in 1942, Children's Fiction, History |

I don’t know Mr. Munves, but the historical consultant for this book in the historical fiction series We Were There is also a character in the book, Dr. John R. Dunning. Dr. Dunning really was there. In fact, in his introduction to the story, Dr. Dunning explains:

“When Mr. Munves asked me to serve as his historical consultant in the writing of this book, I agreed at once because to me there is nothing more important than recapturing for our you men and women the wonderful creative excitement those days in which the atomic age began. When I went over Mr. Munves’ manuscript with him and discovered that I was a character in his story, I asked him if he would let me write a preface so as to make it clear to you that this Dr. Dunning is a real person. Most of the characters in the story, except for the young hero and his father, are real people.”

This book was published by Grossett and Dunlap in 1960, and it begins in 1942 with fifteen year old school boy, Tony Brenner, whose father works with Enrico Fermi, Professor John Dunning, and other scientists at Pupin Laboratories in New York City. When Tony makes a presentation to his high school science club about the possibilities of nuclear fission, his father is both proud and alarmed. “If a Nazi spy heard about your speech, he might think I was doing research in atomic energy,” says Papa Brenner, who is German immigrant and a physicist. Of course, that’s exactly what Dunning, Fermi, the fictional Brenner are doing, but the project is Top Secret. SO Tony gets taken into the top secret Manhattan Project so that he will learn what he needs to keep secret and why.

Tony’s family moves first to Chicago and then to New Mexico, all in pursuit of an atomic weapon that will defeat the Germans (and the Japanese) and win the war. The story presents most of the common arguments both for and against the bomb, and it gives a lot of scientific and technical information about the bomb and how it was developed. The ending sentences will give you a feel for the moral consensus of the book’s authors and consultants:

“It is not a nice thing to think about—that you helped make something that killed or hurt at least 230,000 people. But it doesn’t really matter whether this was done by bullet, sword, fire or atomic energy.
What does matter is that people wish to kill or hurt other people. . . .
The atom promises unlimited power. It also threatens the destruction of civilization. It is up to all of us to decide how it will be used.
The atom is neither good nor evil. Only people are.”

If you are interested in the events and people surrounding the Manhattan Project and the making, testing, and use of the atomic bomb, I would suggest you find a copy of this novel for a 1960-ish perspective on the project, its genesis and aftermath. For other children’s and young adult books on the subject, take a look at:

Fiction:
The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages.
The Secret Project Notebook by Carolyn Reeder.
The Bomb by Theodore Taylor. Nuclear testing on Bikini Atoll.
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr.

Nonfiction:
Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin.
Sabotage: The Mission to Destroy Hitler’s Atomic Bomb by Neal Bascomb.

On July 16, 1945 at 5:29:45 a.m., the scientists of the Manhattan Project successfully tested the first atomic bomb in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Less than a month later, in August, the bomb was used to force the Japanese to surrender to Allied forces and end World War II.

Amazon Affiliate. If you click on a book cover here to go to Amazon and buy something, I receive a very small percentage of the purchase price.

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Saturday Review of Books: July 15, 2017

Posted by Sherry on 7/14/2017 in Saturday Reviews |

“Reading was my escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant of choice: reading for the pure pleasure of it, for the beautiful stillness that surrounds you when you hear an author’s words reverberating in your head.” ~Paul Auster

SatReviewbutton

Welcome to the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. Here’s how it usually works. Find a book review on your blog posted sometime during the previous week. The review doesn’t have to be a formal sort of thing. You can link to your thoughts on a particular book, a few ideas inspired by reading the book, your evaluation, quotations, whatever.

Then on Friday night/Saturday, you post a link here at Semicolon in Mr. Linky to the specific post where you’ve written your book review. Don’t link to your main blog page because this kind of link makes it hard to find the book review, especially when people drop in later after you’ve added new content to your blog. In parentheses after your name, add the title of the book you’re reviewing. This addition will help people to find the reviews they’re most interested in reading.

After linking to your own reviews, you can spend as long as you want reading the reviews of other bloggers for the week and adding to your wishlist of books to read.

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If you like Ramona Quimby by Beverly Cleary . . .

Posted by Sherry on 7/12/2017 in Children's Fiction, General, Ireland, Reader's Advisory |

For the month of July, I’m planning a series of posts about readalikes: what to read (or what to suggest to your favorite child reader) when you’ve read all of your favorite author’s books or all of the books of a certain genre that you know of, and you don’t know what to read next.

Ramona Quimby wannabes are easy to find, but some are better than others. These are some that I have in my library, and I can recommend:

The Bantry Bay series by Hilda van Stockum. These are about an Irish family, but they have the same kind of family adventures and endearing mishaps as an American family like the Quimbys. Pegeen is especially fun, telling about an orphan girl who comes to live with the O’Sullivan family. Pegeen is a spirited young lady who manages to get herself into all sorts of trouble just by being herself… kind of like Ramona.
The Cottage at Bantry Bay.
Francie on the Run.
Pegeen.

Clementine by Sara Pennypacker. I really like Clementine. Like Ramona, she’s lovable, but prone to misunderstandings and trouble. Books, so far, in this series are:
Clementine.
The Talented Clementine.
Clementine’s Letter.
Clementine, Friend of the Week.
Clementine and the Family Meeting.
Clementine and the Spring Trip.
Completely Clementine.

Clarice Bean books by Lauren Child. Clarice Bean is a bad speller, a good friend, and a fan of the fictional detective, Ruby Redfort. Clarice’s adventures at school and at home make for funny and entertaining reading. The three Clarice Bean books that I am familiar with are:
Utterly me, Clarice Bean.
Clarice Bean Spells Trouble.
Clarice Bean, Don’t Look Now.

There seem to be more books in the series, and Lauren Child has written a spin-off series of Ruby Redfort detective novels.

Betsy books by Carolyn Haywood. Ms. Haywood wrote forty-seven books for children; twelve of them are the “Betsy books”, about a little girl growing up in a 1950’s neighborhood in a typical U.S. city. Ms. Haywood herself grew up and lived as an adult in Philadelphia, and she said that the children in her books were modeled on the children in her own Philadelphia neighborhood. Like the Ramona books, Betsy books feature children in school and at home engaging in everyday family activities with a lot of humor and affection. The titles are:
B Is for Betsy
Betsy and Billy
Back to School With Betsy
Betsy and the Boys
Betsy’s Busy Summer
Betsy’s Little Star
Betsy and the Circus
Betsy and Mr. Kilpatrick
Betsy’s Play School
Betsy’s Winterhouse
Merry Christmas from Betsy
Snowbound with Betsy

Some standalone books that might appeal to Ramona fans are:
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo.
Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning by Danette Haworth.
Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer Holm.
A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban.

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If you like Narnia . . .

Posted by Sherry on 7/10/2017 in Children's Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, General |

For the month of July, I’m planning a series of posts about readalikes: what to read (or what to suggest to your favorite child reader) when you’ve read all of your favorite author’s books or all of the books of a certain genre that you know of, and you don’t know what to read next.

Readalikes for Narnia? Well, there’s nothing exactly like Narnia, but the following books might just scratch your Narnian itch:

The Princess and the Goblin and The Princess and Curdie both by George Macdonald. George Macdonald was C.S. Lewis’s inspiration in many ways, including in the Chronicles of Narnia.

100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson. The story of Henry who finds 99 cupboards behind the plaster in his attic bedroom in his Uncle Frank’s and Aunt Dottie’s house in Kansas. Each cupboard has its own secrets to reveal, but the most exciting, magical cupboard is behind the locked door of of an ancient bedroom belonging to Henry’s grandfather. Sequels are Dandelion Fire and The Chestnut King, and now there’s a prequel called The Door Before.

Andrew Peterson’s fantasy series begins with On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness and continues with:
North! Or Be Eaten
The Monster in the Hollows
The Warden and the Wolf-King
If you like the first book in this series, you should definitely continue reading the rest of the books because I think they get better as the series progresses.

The Chronicles of Prydain are right up there with Lewis’s works, must-read fantasy for the Narnia lover. These are taken from Welsh mythology, but the freshness and humor are all due to Mr. ALexander’s whimsical yet philosophically grounded writing. The Prydain books are:
The Book of Three.
The Black Cauldron.
The Castle of Llyr.
Taran Wanderer.
The High King.

Read them all, in that order, to learn of an assistant pig-keeper, an oracular pig, fair folk, cauldron-born warriors, a princess enchantress, bards and minstrels, sorcerers and witches, and kings and queens.

The Wilderking Trilogy by Jonathan Rogers. This three-volume story of Aidan of Corenwald has Biblical parallels, but the setting is in a swampy land that reminded me of Florida or Georgia. These stories of Aidan and his relationship with King Darrow, Prince Steren, and the feechifolk are
The Bark of the Bog Owl.
The Secret of the Wilderking
The Way of the Swamp King.

Dealing With Dragons by Patrica Wrede, Book One of The Enchanted Forest Chronicles. Other books in this delightfully humorous series featuring an independent princess and some grumpy dragons are:
Searching for Dragons
Calling on Dragons
Talking to Dragons

Other possibilities:
E. Nesbit’s Five Children and It.
Half Magic by Edward Eager. Four children are able to make wishes, but only have them half-fulfilled.
Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce. Tom hears the grandfather clock strike 13 and finds himself able to go back in time into a Victorian-era garden.
The Gammage Cup by Carolyn Kendall. The story of five non-conformist Minnipins who become unlikely heroes. The Periods, stodgy old conservatives with names such as Etc. and Geo., are wonderful parodies of those who are all caught up in the forms and have forgotten the meanings. And Muggles, Mingy, Gummy, Walter the Earl, and Curley Green, the Minnipins who don’t quite fit in and who paint their doors colors other than green, are wonderful examples of those pesky artistic/scientific types who live just outside the rules of polite society.

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Saturday Review of Books: July 8, 2017

Posted by Sherry on 7/8/2017 in Saturday Reviews, Summer reading |

“We all ask each other a lot of questions. But we should all ask one question a lot more often: ‘What are you reading?'” ~Will Schwalbe

SatReviewbutton

Welcome to the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. Here’s how it usually works. Find a book review on your blog posted sometime during the previous week. The review doesn’t have to be a formal sort of thing. You can link to your thoughts on a particular book, a few ideas inspired by reading the book, your evaluation, quotations, whatever.

Then on Friday night/Saturday, you post a link here at Semicolon in Mr. Linky to the specific post where you’ve written your book review. Don’t link to your main blog page because this kind of link makes it hard to find the book review, especially when people drop in later after you’ve added new content to your blog. In parentheses after your name, add the title of the book you’re reviewing. This addition will help people to find the reviews they’re most interested in reading.

After linking to your own reviews, you can spend as long as you want reading the reviews of other bloggers for the week and adding to your wishlist of books to read.

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If you like the Boxcar children books by Gertrude Chandler Warner . . .

Posted by Sherry on 7/7/2017 in Children's Fiction, General, Reader's Advisory |

For the month of July, I’m planning a series of posts about readalikes: what to read (or what to suggest to your favorite child reader) when you’ve read all of your favorite author’s books or all of the books of a certain genre that you know of, and you don’t know what to read next.

Readalikes for the Boxcar Children books are plentiful, but the older titles are better. In fact, I only recommend the Boxcar children books in the original series up through number nineteen, Benny Uncovers a Mystery. The first nineteen Boxcar Children books were actually written by Gertrude Chandler Warner and are delightfully old-fashioned and wholesome in attitude. The 100+ subsequent titles in the series were written after Ms. Warner’s death in 1979, and I have been told that the books in the new series are not nearly as good as the originals.

Some follow-up suggestions for Boxcar Children:

Helen Fuller Orton’s mysteries. I have recommended Ms. Orton’s books before. Similar in style and reading level to The Boxcar Children series, the mysteries by Helen Fuller Orton are more intriguing and more varied in characters and plot than The Boxcar Children mysteries. Mystery in the Pirate Oak tells the story of Chad and Ellie Turner and their search for a missing silver box hidden long ago in the old oak tree in the nearby meadow. Grandmother Hale is hopeful that if the box could be found it might have something in it that would provide enough cash to fix her leaking roof and have the old house painted. Can Chad and Ellie find the sixty year old silver box before someone else does and before summer vacation is over?
Other books by Helen Fuller Orton, worth searching for if you have readers who enjoy the Boxcar Children:
Mystery of the Hidden Book.
Secret of the Rosewood Box.
Mystery of the Secret Drawer.
Mystery of the Lost Letter.
Mystery in the Apple Orchard.
Mystery Up the Winding Stair.
Mystery at the Little Red School-House.
Mystery in the Old Red Barn.
Mystery over the Brick Wall.

The Morgan Bay mysteries by John and Nancy Rambeau. If you have any of the books in this series hanging about in your attic and you want to get rid of them, send them my way. I own three of the eight books in this reading textbook series, and I’d love to have there rest. I enjoyed them when I was about seven or eight years old, and I’ve enjoyed recommending them to the younger readers in my library. The series starts out on about a second grade reading level and moves gently and progressively up to about third or fourth grade level within the series. For that reason and for reasons of plot development, the books are best read in order.
The Mystery of Morgan Castle.
The Mystery of the Missing Marlin.
The Mystery of the Marble Angel.
The Mystery of the Midnight Visitor.
The Mystery of the Marauder’s Gold.
The Mystery of the Musical Ghost.
The Mystery of Monks’ Island.
The Mystery of the Myrmidon’s Journey.

If the appeal of the Boxcar Children books lies not in their mystery or their simplified vocabulary and plot, but rather in the “romance” of four children living in a boxcar on their own, doing their own homemaking and supporting themselves by their own ingenuity, then the following books might appeal:

Mandy by Julie Edwards. Many, an orphan who longs to have her own home, discovers an abandoned cottage in the woods and fixes it up as her very own secret playhouse.
The Family Under The Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson. Armand, an elderly street dweller in Paris, shares his home under the bridge with a poverty-stricken young mother and her three children.
Baby Island by Carol Ryrie Brink. Sisters Mary and Jean are shipwrecked with four babies on a deserted island, and the two older children make a home for themselves and the littles ones.
The Children Who Lived in a Barn by Eleanor Graham. I haven’t read this one, but it sounds intriguing.

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If you like Lauren Tarshis’s I Survived books . .

For the month of July, I’m planning a series of posts about readalikes: what to read (or what to suggest to your favorite child reader) when you’ve read all of your favorite author’s books or all of the books of a certain genre that you know of, and you don’t know what to read next.

Scholastic has published a series of books by Lauren Tarshis about boys who survived great disasters. Some of the books feature true stories of young survivors, and others are historical fiction. I haven’t read any of the books in this series, but they seem to be quite popular. So, if you’re a fan of the I Survived series, here are a few other books that you might like:

Real Kids, Real Adventures is a series of several volumes by Deborah Morris, published by Broadman and Holman. Each book gives short, true adventure stories about kids facing shark attacks, plane crashes, tornadoes, fires, blizzards, and more. I haven’t read any of these books, but they should be a good fit for fans of the I Survived series.

We Were There . . . series. The series consists of 36 titles, first released between 1955 and 1963 by Grosset & Dunlap. Each book tells the story of an historical event in American or world history told through the eyes of a child. Maybe not quite as exciting as the I Survived stories, these books are nevertheless well-written, for the most part, by well-known and skilled children’s writers of the time, and the stories are compelling and informative. Here’s a list of the 36 books in the series in approximate chronological order:

We Were There with Caesar’s Legions by Robert N. Webb
We Were There with Richard the Lionhearted in the Crusades, by Robert N. Webb
We Were There with Cortes and Montezuma, by Benjamin Appel
We Were There with the Mayflower Pilgrims, by Robert N. Webb
We Were There at the Boston Tea Party, by Robert N. Webb
We Were There at the Battle of Lexington and Concord, by Felix Sutton
We Were There with Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys, by Robert N. Webb
We Were There when Washington Won at Yorktown, by Earl Schenck Miers
We Were There on the Nautilus, by Robert N. Webb
We Were There with Lewis and Clark, by James Munves
We Were There with Jean Lafitte at New Orleans, by Iris Vinton
We Were There at the Opening of the Erie Canal, by Enid Lamonte Meadowcroft
We Were There with the California Rancheros, by Stephen Holt
We Were There with Charles Darwin on H.M.S. Beagle, by Philip Eisenberg
We Were There at the Battle of the Alamo, by Margaret Cousins
We Were There on the Oregon Trail, by William O. Steele
We Were There with the California Forty-Niners, by Stephen Holt
We Were There with Lincoln in the White House, by Earl Schenck Miers
We Were There at the Battle of Gettysburg, by Alida Sims Malkus
We Were There when Grant Met Lee at Appomattox, by Earl Schenck Miers
We Were There with the Pony Express, by William O. Steele
We Were There on the Chisholm Trail, by Ross McLaury Taylor
We Were There on the Santa Fe Trail, by Ross McLaury Taylor
We Were There at the Driving of the Golden Spike, by David Shepherd
We Were There with Florence Nightingale in the Crimea, by Robert N. Webb
We Were There in the Klondike Gold Rush, by Benjamin Appel
We Were There at the Oklahoma Land Run, by Jim Kjelgaard
We Were There at the First Airplane Flight, by Felix Sutton
We Were There with the Lafayette Escadrille, by Clayton Knight and Katherine Sturges Knight
We Were There with Byrd at the South Pole, by Charles S. Strong
We Were There at the Battle of Britain, by Clayton Knight and Katherine Sturges Knight
We Were There at Pearl Harbor, by Felix Sutton
We Were There at the Battle for Bataan, by Benjamin Appel
We Were There at the Normandy Invasion, by Clayton Knight
We Were There at the Battle of the Bulge, by David Shepherd
We Were There at the Opening of the Atomic Era, by James Munves

A few other individual fiction titles about children who survive natural and man-made disasters:
The Terrible Wave by Marden Dahlstadt. The Johnstown flood of 1889.
Night of the Twisters by Ivy Ruckman.
Galveston’s Summer of the Storm by Julie Lake.
Earthquake at Dawn by Kristana Gregory.
The Earth Dragon Awakes: The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 by Laurence Yep.
SOS Titanic by Eve Bunting.
Leepike Ridge by N.D. Wilson.
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. Survival after a plane crash.
Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry.
Night of the Howling Dogs by Graham Salisbury. Tsunami.
Ash Road by Ivan Southall. Wildfire in the Australian outback.
Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.

Then, there’s also nonfiction about great disasters and escapes:
The Great Fire by Jim Murphy.
Blizzard! by Jim Murphy.
Disaster at Johnstown: The Great Flood by Hildegard Dolson. (Landmark history)
The Battle for Iwo Jima by Robert Leckie. (Landmark history)

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If you like A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket . . .

Posted by Sherry on 7/5/2017 in General |

For the month of July, I’m planning a series of posts about readalikes: what to read (or what to suggest to your favorite child reader) when you’ve read all of your favorite author’s books or all of the books of a certain genre that you know of, and you don’t know what to read next. What if you’ve read all thirteen of Lemony Snicket’s woeful, hilariously funny series of unfortunate events? What’s next? What can top the Baudelaire orphans and their misadventures?

They’re not all series of unfortunate orphan cliffhangers, but if you like the wordplay and wit or the dark humor and adventure in the Lemony Snicket books, you might try these:
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. Milo is bored, but not for long. When a tollbooth and a car appear in his bedroom, Milo decides he might well play along. He’s got nothing else to do. Little does he know that the land he is entering will be both exciting and adventurous, far from boring.

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. Orphans, check. Mystery, check. Eccentricity, check. This book is much longer than one of the Unfortunate Events books, but since there are only three in this series and thirteen in Lemony Snicket’s saga, the page count comes out to about the same in the end. Four gifted children are sent undercover as spies at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules.

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken. I didn’t know until recently that Ms. Aiken wrote twelve books in the Wolves Chronicles, including a prequel. I have three of them in my library, but I’d like to collect and read them all. These do have orphans and wolves and danger and an alternate British setting.
The Whispering Mountain, a prequel to the series
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
Black Hearts in Battersea
Nightbirds on Nantucket
The Stolen Lake
Limbo Lodge
The Cuckoo Tree
Dido and Pa
Is Underground
Cold Shoulder Road
Midwinter Nightingale
The Witch of Clatteringshaws

Maryrose Wood’s Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series is about three children who were raised by wolves. The story, which features governess Penelope Lumley, a fifteen year old graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, continues with much cliff-hanging action and excitement through five volumes:
The Mysterious Howling, Book 1.
The Hidden Gallery, Book 2.
The Unseen Guest, Book 3.
The Interrupted Tale, Book 4.
The Unmapped Sea, Book 5.

Lemony Snicket himself, aka Daniel Handler, has written a new series that’s akin to the Unfortunate Event series, but more confusing and weird. It actually features author Lemony Snicket when he was thirteen and just learning to write and detect. If you liked Unfortunate Events, you might like the series All the Wrong Questions:
“Who Could That Be at This Hour?”
“When Did You See Her Last?”
“Shouldn’t You Be in School?”
“Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights?”

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If you like the American Girl books . . .

Posted by Sherry on 7/4/2017 in Children's Fiction, General, Historical fiction |

For the month of July, I’m planning a series of posts about readalikes: what to read (or what to suggest to your favorite child reader) when you’ve read all of your favorite author’s books or all of the books of a certain genre that you know of, and you don’t know what to read next. Molly and Felicity and Kaya and Kirsten and all the rest are great, but what’s to read after you’ve devoured all of the American Girl books?

The Childhood of Famous Americans (often abbreviated as COFA) series is written on a similar reading level to the American Girls series, and the books, although not exactly fiction, are also not exactly nonfiction biography. They are biography told as a story, somewhat fictionalized, emphasizing the childhood years of famous Americans. Many of the titles are about girl heroines such as Martha Washington, Clara Barton, Jessie Fremont, Elizabeth Blackwell, Amelia Earhart, Eleanor Roosevelt, and many others. Following up fictional American girls with the stories of real American girls is sure winner for the fourth of July or anytime of the year.

Once Upon America is a series for ages seven to eleven, about fictional children living through changes and events in American history. The following titles feature female protagonists (there are also several that feature boys):
Hannah’s Fancy Notions: A Story of Industrial New England by Pat Ross.
Close to Home: A Story of the Polio Epidemic by Lydia Weaver.
The Day It Rained Forever: A Story of the Johnstown Flood by Virginia T. Gross.
Fire!: The Beginnings of the Labor Movement by Barbara Diamond Goldin.
A Long Way to Go: A Story of Women’s Right to Vote by Zibby Oneal.
Night Bird: A Story of the Seminole Indians by Kathleen V. Kudlinski.
Tough Choices: A Story of the Vietnam War by Nancy Antle.

My America, a series of fictional diaries of young children during American history, written for the same age group about seven to eleven, offers the following titles:

Elizabeth’s Jamestown Colony Diaries by Patricia Hermes:
Our Strange New Land
The Starving Time
Season of Promise

Hope’s Revolutionary War Diaries by Kristiana Gregory:
Five Smooth Stones
We Are Patriots
When Freedom Comes

Meg’s Prairie Diaries by Kate McMullan:
As Far As I Can See
For This Land
A Fine Start

Sofia’s Immigrant Diaries by Kathryn Lasky:
Hope in My Heart
Home at Last
An American Spring

Virginia’s Civil War Diaries by Mary Pope Osborne:
My Brother’s Keeper
After the Rain
A Time to Dance

A step up from the American Girl and the My America books are the fiction books in the series Dear America, which are also written in diary or journal form and tell the tale of a fictional participant in some of the most compelling events and eras of American history. These books are suitable for girls ages 12 and up. Some titles (there are many more) in this series are:

A Journey to the New World: The Diary of Remember Patience Whipple, Mayflower, 1620 by Kathryn Lasky.
The Winter of Red Snow: The Diary of Abigail Jane Stewart, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, 1777 by Kristiana Gregory.
The Fences Between Us: The Diary of Piper Davis, Seattle, Washington, 1941 by Kirby Larson (September 2010)
Voyage on the Great Titanic: The Diary of Margaret Ann Brady, RMS Titanic, 1912 by Ellen Emerson White.
A Picture of Freedom: The Diary of Clotee, a Slave Girl, Belmont Plantation, Virginia, 1859 by Patricia McKissack.
Like the Willow Tree: The Diary of Lydia Amelia Pierce, Portland, Maine, 1918 by Lois Lowry.
A Light in the Storm: The Diary of Amelia Martin, Fenwick Island, Delaware, 1861 by Karen Hesse.
When Will This Cruel War Be Over?: The Diary of Emma Simpson, Gordonsville, Virginia, 1864 by Barry Denenberg.
Cannons at Dawn: The Second Diary of Abigail Jane Stewart, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, 1779 by Kristiana Gregory.
Standing in the Light: The Diary of Catharine Carey Logan, Delaware Valley, Pennsylvania, 1763 by Mary Pope Osborne (May 2011)
I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly: The Diary of Patsy, a Freed Girl, Mars Bluff, South Carolina, 1865 by Joyce Hansen.
With the Might of Angels: The Diary of Dawnie Rae Johnson, Hadley, Virginia, 1954 by Andrea Davis Pinkney.
I Walk in Dread: The Diary of Deliverance Trembley, Witness to the Salem Witch Trials, Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1691 by Lisa Rowe Fraustino.
Behind the Masks: The Diary of Angeline Reddy, Bodie, California, 1880 by Susan Patron.
Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie: The Diary of Hattie Campbell, The Oregon Trail, 1847 by Kristiana Gregory.
Christmas After All: The Diary of Minnie Swift, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1932 by Kathryn Lasky.
A City Tossed and Broken: The Diary of Minnie Bonner, San Francisco, California, 1906 by Judy Blundell.
Hear My Sorrow: The Diary of Angela Denoto, a Shirtwaist Worker, New York City, 1909 by Deborah Hopkinson.

Happy Fourth of July, and may those who want them find many, many American girls to read about and admire.

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