Jonathan Edwards by Simonetta Carr

I’m spending my Thursdays here on the blog in the eighteenth century, 1700’s.

This picture book biography of the great preacher and theologian, Jonathan Edwards (b.1703, d.1758), is just beautiful. The book is hardcover, printed on lovely paper, large print, with both color illustrations and photographs of important documents and places in Edwards’ life. I want all of the books in this series.

The information about Jonathan Edwards is well-written and organized, and the presentation is, again, just lovely. Mrs. Carr, a homeschool mom and former teacher, tells students about Edwards’ scientific explorations of spiders and Newtonian physics. She explains the ins and outs of the First Great Awakening revivals, and the theological controversies that accompanied those revivals in terms that a tenor eleven year old could understand. She writes about Edwards’ youth and his courtship and marriage to Sarah Pierpont and his friendship and partnership with George Whitefield. The biography is thorough enough, but also with only 60 pages, it won’t exhaust the young readers it’s meant to engage.

At the end of the book Mrs. Carr includes a time line of Jonathan Edwards’ life, a list of interesting facts about Mr. Edwards and his lifetime that didn’t fit into the main narrative of the book, and a facsimile of an actual letter from Edwards to his daughter Mary in 1749. The letter is inspiring, It made me want to copy it and send my handwritten (plagiarized) letter to my own grown children who are far away from home.

Here’s just the beginning of the letter:

My dear child,
You may well think it is natural for a parent to be concerned for a child at so great a distance away, so far out of view, and so far out of the reach of communication; where, if you should be stricken with any dangerous sickness, which should issue in death–you might probably be in your grave before we would hear of your danger. But yet, my greatest concern is not for your health, or temporal welfare–but for the good of your soul.

Though you are at so great a distance from us–yet God is everywhere. You are much out of the reach of our care–but you are in His hands every moment! We have not the comfort of seeing you–but He sees you! His eye is always upon you. And if you may but live sensibly near to God, and have His gracious presence, it is no great matter if you are far distant from us. I had rather you should remain hundreds of miles distant from us–and have God near to you–than to have you always with us, and live at a distance from God.

Isn’t that the most deeply loving letter you’ve read in a long time? Read the entire letter here.

Jonathan Edwards by Simonetta Carr is one biography in the series, Christian Biographies for Young Readers. Illustrated by Matt Abraxas. Published by Reformation Heritage Books in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Other books in the series, all authored by Mrs. Carr with the same stunning illustrations by Mr. Abraxas:

Augustine of Hippo.
Anselm of Canterbury.
Athanasius.
John Calvin.
John Knox.
Marie Durand.
Martin Luther.
John Owen.

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Trends and Themes in Middle Grade Speculative Fiction 2016

Settings where (fantasy) stories come true
The town of Fortune Falls, where superstitions are the laws of nature.
An alternate universe/earth where mythological creature are real.
A congenital condition in which the words that people use to describe you appear in print on your arms and legs.
A Dream Shop in which dreams are bought and sold and made alive.
A summer camp where paranormal talents are the norm.
A wrinkled mountain village where “stories have a way of coming true.”
A world of paintings lives “behind the canvas”.
A library where books involving supernatural elements are “finished” as they are lived out in the real world.

Kids with father issues
Not as many mother issues in 2016, although they do show up in one or two books.
The Luck Uglies: Rise of the Ragged Clover by Paul Durham. Rye must decide whether to follow in her outlaw father’s footsteps or not.
My Diary From the Edge of the World. A hapless and neglectful father leads his family to the edge of the world.
Waiting for Augusta by Jessica Lawson. Benjamin Hogan Putter talks to his dead father and tries to carry out his dad’s dying wishes.
Time Stoppers by Carrie Jones. Jamie’s father is an evil troll, and Annie doesn’t have a father.
The Remarkable Journey of Charlie Price by Jennifer Maschari. Charlie’s father has “checked out” since his mother died.
The League of Beastly Dreadfuls: The Dastardly Deed by Holly Grant. Anastasia’s father is missing, and only she can find him.
Furthermore by Teherah Mafi. Alice feels rejected by her mother and abandoned by her father.
Baker’s Magic by Diane Zahler. Bee starts with no parents and ends up with two fathers, or at least two father figures.
Edge of Extinction: The Ark Plan by Laura Martin. Sky’s father fled the North Compound five years ago when she was only seven years old, but Sky is determined to find out why and what happened to him.
This Is Not A Werewolf Story by Sandra Evans. Raul feels deserted by his father, who is grieving over the loss of Raul’s mother.
Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart. Rueben is fatherless.
The Evil Wizard Smallbone by Delia Sherman.
Time-Traveling with a Hamster by Ross Welford. Al can’t accept his father’s death.
Red Moon Rising by K.A. Holt. Rae can’t relate to her father and becomes bonded instead to her captors, an alien race called The Cheese.

Death and Dying
My Diary From the Edge of the World by Jodi Lynn Anderson. The Dark Cloud of Death is coming to get someone in Gracie’s family.
Waiting for Augusta by Jessica Lawson. Ben’s dad is dead, but dad’s ashes are speaking to Ben from beyond the grave.
The Wrinkled Crown by Anne Nesbet. Linny’s best friend, Sayra, is dying, and Linny must find a medicine that will cure her.
The Remarkable Journey of Charlie Price by Jennifer Maschari. Charlie and his little sister Imogen find a parallel world where their deceased and much-missed mom is still alive.
The Nine Lives of Jacob Tibbs by Cylin Busby. Ship’s cat Jacob Tibbs loses his mother in a storm, and other lives hang in the balance when mutineers try to take over the ship.
Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd. Emma lives next to a graveyard and gives guided tours of said cemetery. She also talks to ghosts and misses her recently deceased mother with a feeling she calls The Big Empty.
Time-Traveling with a Hamster by Ross Welford. Al can’t accept his father’s death.
The First Last Day by Dorian Cirrone. Haleigh wants to keep her friend Kevin’s grandmother from dying by going back in time.
Red by Liesl Shurtliff. Red will do almost anything to find the secret of eternal life for her granny.
School of the Dead by Avi.

Science and logic versus stories and magic
Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard by Jonathan Auxier.
The Wrinkled Crown by Anne Nesbet. People on the wrinkled, magic side of the river are in an ongoing conflict with those who live on the plain, scientific side.
Curse of the Boggin: The Library, Book 1 by D.J. MacHale. Marcus and his nerdy friend Theo argue over whether supernatural events are real or can be be explained scientifically.

Ethnic Diversity
Unidentified Suburban Object by Mike Jung. Chloe Cho is tired of being the only Asian kid in town, but things are about to get a lot worse when she finds out the secret that her parents have been keeping about her family’s true heritage.
Curse of the Boggin: The Library, Book 1 by D.J. MacHale. Marcus and his two best friends, Annabella Lu, Chinese American, and Theo McLean, African American, work together to solve supernatural mysteries and lay ghosts to rest.
Simon Thorn and the Wolf’s Den by Aimee Carter. I think the different animal kingdoms in this one are supposed to mirror human diversity, with “mixed heritage” characters.
The Mighty Odds by Amy Ignatow. A group of ethnically diverse middle schoolers gain individual and oddly specific superpowers.
Time-Traveling with a Hamster by Ross Welford. An ethnic Indian/British (Punjabi) setting and characters in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England.
The Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz. Jeanne, a peasant girl who has visions, William, an oblate who is half-Saracen (African) and half French, and Jacob, a Jewish boy with a gift for healing travel across France in the thirteenth century on a quest.
Rebellion of Thieves by Kekla Magoon.

Magical Child with Hidden Talents, Destined to Save the World
The Harry Potter theme.
The League of Beastly Dreadfuls: The Dastardly Deed by Holly Grant. Anastasia, recently freed from captivity in St. Agony’s Asylum, is half-morph and all-princess. Can she find the Silver Hammer which will help to free her grandfather Nicodemus who can in turn find her father, Fred McCrumpet Merrymoon?
Little D by A. ML. “In a world where magic has been all but extinguished, nine year old Donatella Lou Regent, the last of the famous Regent line, has no idea who she is or the power she holds.”
Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard by Jonathan Auxier. Sophie and her friend Peter Nimble adventure across the Grimmwald and through the city of Bustleburgh to stop the villains who are planning to stop, destroy and immolate all nonsense (stories, magic, wonder, books!).
The Wrinkled Crown by Anne Nesbet. Linny may be the prophesied Girl With the Lourka who will save the people of the divided city of Bend from ongoing warfare.
Time Stoppers by Carrie Jones. Little Annie Nobody is the child who is destined to be a Time Stopper, find the magical garden gnome, bring it back to Aurora, and defeat the evil Each Uisge and the Raiff.
Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart. Poor, lonely Reuben finds a hidden object, an object that bestows great power on its owner, but also an object that is sought for by a lot of very, very bad people, including the arch-villain of New Umbra who is known only as The Smoke. Can Reuben unlock the secrets of his newfound magical powers and save New Umbra before The Smoke finds him and takes his discovery away?
Behind the Canvas by Alexander Vance. Seventh grader Claudia Miravista finds that she is a magically talented Artisti who can save her friend Pim from a life trapped behind the canvas of the paintings of the world.
The Lost Property Office by James R. Hannibal. Jack Buckles, finds out, by accident, that he is a Tracker, as was his father before him, and he is the only one who can save his father and the world from the evil Clockmaker.
The Lost Compass by Joel Ross. Chess, the foggy-eyed tether boy, may have a gift that will defeat the evil Lord Kodoc and save the world.
Outlaws of Time: The Legend of Sam Miracle by N.D. Wilson. Sam is the one sent to save the world from the evil Vulture, El Buitre.

Shapeshifting:
Simon Thorn and the Wolf’s Den by Aimee Carter. Simon and his family are all Animalgams, people born with the ability to change into a certain animal at will.
The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart by Lauren DeStefano. Borderline shapeshifting.
Time Stoppers by Carrie Jones.
This Is Not a Werewolf Story by Sandra Evans. Maybe Raul is not a werewolf, but he does shift into a wolf on the weekends.
The Evil Wizard Smallbone by Delia Sherman.

Robots and Artificial Intelligence:
Fuzzy by Tom Angleberger.
Out of Abaton: The Wooden Prince by Jean Claude Bemis. A Pinocchio-like automaton.
The Wild Robot by Peter Brown.
Under Their Skin by Margaret Peterson Haddix.
The Firefly Code by Megan Frazer.

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Cinnamon Moon by Tess Hilmo

On October 8, 1871 the deadliest fire in U.S. history killed an estimated 1500 people, possibly as many as 2500. No one knows exactly how the fire started, but it was fanned by strong winds into massive proportions and consumed an area approximately twice the size of Rhode Island, including the town at the center of the fire.

No, this deadly tragedy was not the Great Chicago Fire of October 8, 1871 that everyone knows about, but rather the Peshtigo Forest Fire, on the same date in and around Peshtigo, Wisconsin, the one that killed many more people and destroyed far more acres of forest than the more famous fire in Chicago. The two children who are the protagonists in Cinnamon Moon are survivors of the Peshtigo Fire. (“The fire jumped across the Peshtigo River and burned on both sides of the inlet town. Survivors reported that the firestorm generated a fire whirl (described as a tornado) that threw rail cars and houses into the air.Many escaped the flames by immersing themselves in the Peshtigo River, wells, or other nearby bodies of water.” ~Wikipedia)

Oddly enough, twelve-year-old Ailis and her younger brother, Quinn, having lost their entire family in the fire, end up in Chicago, a city which is still recovering from its own fire. In the midst of all the destruction and confusion, the family friend who rescued Ailis and Quinn leaves them in a boarding house with the less-than-nurturing Miss Franny, who makes them work for her rather than go to school. In the boarding house Ailis and Quinn become friends with an orphan girl, Nettie, who has been placed temporarily in the care of Miss Franny, and when Nettie goes missing in a city full of human trafficking and exploitation of child labor, Ailis and Quinn must find her and rescue her.

This novel is historical fiction at its best, good for middle graders who are ready for an introduction to the seamier side of life for children and especially orphans in the nineteenth century. Nettie is enslaved and put to work killing rats in the sewers. She lives in a sort of Dickensian Chicago warehouse for captured orphans. Ailis and Quinn find that it’s hard to rescue someone who doesn’t understand the terms and limitations of her enslavement, but as it should be in a children’s book, all ends well for all three of the children. The story is just dark enough to show older middle grade children that this world is not always a safe place without depriving them of hope and faith in at least some of the adult around them.

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The Scourge by Jennifer Nielsen

I am a fan of Jennifer Nielsen’s Ascendance Trilogy, beginning with The False Prince, and I read her historical fiction book set in East Berlin, A Night Divided, and enjoyed it too. But The Scourge just didn’t connect with me. I felt the prose and dialog were poorly written, and the plot was contrived and didn’t make sense a lot of the time.

Ani Mills is one of the River People who live up-country in a primitive and poverty-stricken culture, and she and her fellow “grubs” don’t have much to do with the townsfolk who they call “pinchworms”. Maybe that minimal contact is the reason that the Scourge, a deadly infectious disease that is rampant in the pinchworms, hasn’t yet infected the River People. When Ani is arrested and taken to the lowlands town to be tested for The Scourge, she knows it must be a mistake. But Ani’s River People are powerless in the governmental system of this world, and Ani may be infected after all. Anyway, she has little or no choice about what will happen to her, but she continues to fight against her fate and her oppressive society and government.

I liked the premise of this book, but it just didn’t go smoothly. I don’t mean that things needed to go well for the protagonist, Ani, or for her friends. Her situation goes from bad to worse, but that’s the way you make a story: take your main character and get her into trouble and then see what happens. However, with Ani, her lows are unbelievably low, and her hairbreadth-escapes are unbelievably fortuitous. The penal colony or quarantine island Ani is sent to is very poorly run, with prisoners running around all over the island with no supervision, yet it’s supposed to be inescapable and quite authoritarian.

Younger readers who want a “Hunger Games” experience, very political, in their reading might like this one and might be willing to overlook the far-fetched solutions and rescues, but I was not.

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What Should I Read Next?

I don’t have a lack of reading plans or books to be read. If anything, I have an over-abundance of reading plans and books I want to read. But sometimes I have trouble narrowing down the list to the particular book I want to read next. I thought for the month of February, I’d try to read your recommendations—from my To-Be-Read list on Goodreads, which has grown to an unmanageable, out of control, over 800 books. These are all books that I saw recommended somewhere. Maybe I read a review. Maybe I read your review. Or I picked up the book at the library or bookstore, but haven’t managed to read it yet. My question is, of all these 800+ books, which are the priorities? Which ones should I read NOW, in February?

I you want to take a look at my TBR list and give me some advice, I will promise to take your recommendations very seriously and try to read one or more of the books that each of you recommends. Remember, your recommendations need to come from the list I already have of books I want to read. I don’t need to add any books to the list, although I probably will.

So, let’s have a book sharing party. Which of the books on my list should I read next? Let the comments begin.

Saturday Review of Books: January 28, 2017

“Books give not wisdom where none was before.
But where some is, there reading makes it more.” ~John Harington

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.

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor

Eleven year old Perry T. Cook has lived all of his life at the Blue River Co-ed Correctional Facility in Surprise, Nebraska—in other words, in prison. His mom is the one who committed a crime, however. She lives on Cell Block C. And Warden Daugherty, Perry’s foster mom, is the one who makes it possible for Perry to live in prison with his birth mom, sort of. The warden and the guards and the prisoners and Perry and his mom are all just fine with Perry living at Blue River, but when the new District Attorney gets a bee in his bonnet about the inappropriateness of Perry’s living situation, Perry’s life is turned upside down.

OK, the premise is a little improbable, but it does shine a light on the issue of children whose parent(s) are incarcerated. And All Rise is not just an issue-driven novel; it’s a good story about an extremely patient and compliant boy (Perry) who finally, through persistence and a little luck, manages to get the adults to look at the spirit rather than the letter of the law. Gary Schmidt calls the book “a deeply moving, even inspiring novel”, and the plot and characters remind me of Mr. Schmidt’s books. An innocent boy is caught up in the problems of the adults around him and finds a way to navigate those problems with kindness and perseverance.

There are a couple of problems with the book. First, Perry is a little too innocent and patient, never complaining even when his new foster father is manifestly blind and unfair. But the point of the story is that Perry has been trained to be compliant in his life growing up in a prison, just as incarcerated criminals are trained to be compliant and not necessarily to think for themselves or stand up for their own convictions. There are also a few instances of cursing (God’s name taken in vain) that may add to verisimilitude of a prison setting, but don’t add much to a middle grade novel. However, those instances were only a handful.

I found Perry’s story inspiring and moving myself, and it has a lot to say about the work of forgiveness and about rehabilitation and even our justice system and our foster care system. Children need and long for their own parents; when they are unable to be with their parents because a parent is in jail or prison, the child is serving a sentence along with the parent. And that’s sad. All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook is a hopeful story, however, and one that might help children to understand some things about prisoners and the justice system and children in foster care jut a little bit better.

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Demelza by Winston Graham

I’m spending my Thursdays here on the blog in the eighteenth century, 1700’s.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this second book in Mr. Graham’s Poldark series, even though I knew what was going to happen since I have already watched seasons one and two of the TV series, Poldark. These are such good stories. I think I will enjoy them even more when I get to the books for which I haven’t seen the television adaptation. I’m not sure exactly when that will be because season one was based on the first two books. Does season two cover books three and four?

At any rate, I find the books excellent reading. Mr. Graham seems to have done his research, and he knew how to tell a story. I’ll just use the rest of this post as my “commonplace book” and write down some memorable notes and observations on the text.

Ross Poldark, back in 1789, seems to be in a political pickle similar to the one that many of us are in nowadays:

“I’m neither Whig nor Tory,” Ross said.
“Well, drot it, you must be something. Who d’you vote for?”
Ross was silent again for some time and bent and patted the hound. He seldom thought these things out.
“I’m not a Whig,” he said, “nor ever could belong to a party that was was for ever running down its own country and praising up the virtues of some other. The very thought of it sticks in my crop.”
“Hear, hear!” said Sir John, picking his teeth.
“But neither could I belong to a party which looks with complacency on the state of England as it is. So you’ll see the difficulty I’m in.”

“You must be something.” Well, I see the difficulty, but I still choose to be neither fish nor fowl, neither Trumpista nor “progressive” in the absolute wrong direction. If that makes me a misfit, like Mr. Poldark, so be it.

This second book in the series ends with death, destruction, and loss. I won’t be specific, for those of you reading who haven’t seen the TV series or read the books; however, from its hope filled beginning with the birth of a child for Ross and Demelza Poldark to the end when all is dark with only a hint of light in the last line of the novel (“I am quite warm, Ross. Let me stay a little longer in the sun.”), it’s quite a ride.

In the Afterword, written by American author Liz Fenwick, she says that Graham “presents something of a feminist view” in this novel which was written and published in 1946, just after World War II. I think the story has more to say about the beginning of the end of classism in Britain, which only accelerated over a century after the setting of the book as World War I began and World War II continued the move toward a more egalitarian society. Demelza is from the lowest of the lower class, and the idea that a girl of her background could become something of a sensation in society within a few short years of being married to Ross Poldark is a bit fanciful and unlikely in the eighteenth century, but romantic and appealing to those of us who don’t believe in “classes” in the first place.

I love the history embedded in the pages of Demelza. The characters discuss the “troubles” in France, but it all feels very far away and foreign and extraneous to local concerns. Even the affairs of Parliament and mad King George and his ambitious son, the Prince of Wales, all seem far away in London, of no immediate concern to the people, both great and small, of Sawle and Truro and Wheal Leisure and Nampara. An eighteenth century antiquarian, Richard Gough, wrote that “Cornwall seems to be another Kingdom.” Indeed, and it’s a fascinating Kingdom to visit in Mr. Graham’s many iterations.

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Aim by Joyce Moyer Hostetter

Aim is a prequel to Ms. Hostetter’s two books about Ann Fay Honeycutt, Blue and Comfort. Aim is about Junior Bledsoe, a secondary, but beloved, character in those other two books. (Ann Fay is the minor character in this one.)

The story takes place in 1941-1942. Fourteen year old Junior Bledsoe of Hickory, North Carolina has a troubled life. His father is a drunk. Junior doesn’t like school and can’t really see the point of it. His cantankerous and sometimes cruel granddaddy has moved in and taken over Junior’s bedroom. And World War II is about to involve the United States of America, except according to Granddaddy, “That yellow-bellied president is too chicken to take us to war. He ain’t half the man the Colonel was.” (The Colonel, in Grandaddy’s jargon, refers to Teddy Roosevelt.)

While Junior worries about school and the draft and impending war and that fact that his father seems distant and stern most of the time, Junior’s dad manages to go on a drinking binge and get killed in a accident. Or was it an accident? How can Junior go back to school when he’s not sure what really happened to his Pop? And what are they going to do about Grandaddy who’s becoming more verbally abusive and demanding every day? Should Junior drop out of school and get a job? Or join the army? Or investigate the moonshiners who may have been involved in Pop’s death?

This story is really all about a boy who’s trying to find his way to adulthood without the guidance of a father. However, the wonderful thing is that the community steps in to work together and separately to help Junior find his “aim” in life. Even when Junior Bledsoe makes some really poor choices and gets himself into what could become serious trouble, members of his extended community help his now-single mother guide Junior back to the path of good sense and responsible moral judgement. Junior is a good kid, but he’s looking for a way to deal with his father’s death and a way to earn the respect of his family and his friends. It’s not easy for a fourteen year old boy to lose his father, especially not the way Junior Pop dies. It was inspiring to read about how ordinary, ind neighbors, teachers, and friends help Junior to process his father’s death and to decide which parts of his father’s legacy he wants to continue and which parts he wants to leave in the grave.

Aim is an excellent coming-of-age novel, and I would also recommend Blue, about Ann Fay and her encounter with the dreaded disease of polio about a year after the events in Aim have taken place. I have yet to read Comfort, the sequel to Blue, but it is definitely on my TBR list.

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Texas Yankee by Nina Brown Baker

Texas Tuesday: Texas Yankee; The Story of Gail Borden by Nina Brown Baker.

Benito Juarez, Peter the Great, Simon Bolivar, F.W. Woolworth, America Vespucci, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Nellie Bly are a few of the other celebrities and historical figures that Nina Brown Baker wrote about in her prolific career as a children’s biographer. Texas Yankee, about the inventor of condensed milk and sweetened condensed milk, is a biography in Ms. Brown’s short, slightly fictionalized, and highly readable style. The story begins with twelve year old Gail Borden and his family moving from New York to Kentucky and ends 129 pages later with Gail Borden’s death at his ranch near Columbus, Texas in 1874 at the age of 72. Borden’s life in-between these two events took him from New York to Kentucky to Ohio to Mississippi to Texas and back again up north to Connecticut and New York to try to sell his inventions and ideas to an Eastern seaboard audience.

Then, came the disruption of the Civil War, and Gail Borden found himself on the opposite side of the slavery and Union issues from most of his fellow Texans and therefore in exile so to speak from his beloved Texas. But after the war and the bitterness from the war had died down, Gail Borden was able to return to Texas a successful man who gave travelers and immigrants and settlers of the West a way to transport good, healthy milk over long distances without having it go bad and without having to purchase milk for their children from questionable sources along the way.

I once met a restaurant owner who read a book about Gail Borden when she was in fifth grade and was so inspired by her reading that she looked to him as an example for her business dealings and also made a lifelong study of the history of Texas. Nina Brown Baker’s book about Gail Borden may have been the book she read as a fifth grader, for all I know. At any rate, I can see how this book and Gail Borden’s life would be inspirational. Mr. Borden’s commitment to Christ is a thread throughout the biography, not over-emphasized but definitely acknowledged. The only problem in recommending this biography to your fifth grader is that it was published in 1955 and is now out of print. I do find one other biography of Borden, Milk, Meat Biscuits, and the Terraqueous Machine by Mary Dodson, but it’s from 1987 and also out of print. And there’s a Childhood of Famous Americans series volume, Gail Borden: Resourceful Boy by Adrian Paradis, also out of print.

It seems as if the subject of Gail Borden, supporter of the Texas revolution and persistent inventor, might be ripe for a new biography by some up-and-coming adult or children’s biographer.