Few things can draw a reader to a new book like a book trailer can.
Get the popcorn ready.
Last week we talked about time traveling. One of the ways we “time travel” is by reading books that take place in the past.
We can read informational books about a time period or about the history of something specific.
What many students find captivating is reading narratives—stories—that take place in an interesting time and place in history. We imagine ourselves in the main character’s shoes—living, experiencing, surviving in the past.
What would it be like to visit the south during the time of Jim Crow laws where things were separate, but (supposedly) equal?
What would it be like to live in a concentration camp in Nazi-controlled Europe during WWII?
Or infiltrating the Hitler Youth as a kid spy:
When the Nazis were bombing England in WWII, many children were sent off to the countryside to escape. What would it be like to live with someone you don’t know? If you had a twisted, lame, club foot… and your mom had kept you locked in the one-room apartment your whole life… and you snuck out…?
You many have heard your teachers talk about the times of slavery. How about though the eyes of slaves?
What was the South Sudan genocide about?
What kinds of historical events could I SURVIVE?
THIS is the draw of historical fiction (HF). These kinds of book are the ones with the black labels by the door. I encourage you to check these books out and TIME TRAVEL yourselves.
A Night Divided joins the Scholastic Gold line, which features award-winning and beloved novels. Includes exclusive bonus content!
With the rise of the Berlin Wall, Gerta finds her family suddenly divided. She, her mother, and her brother Fritz live on the eastern side, controlled by the Soviets. Her father and middle brother, who had gone west in search of work, cannot return home. Gerta knows it is dangerous to watch the wall, yet she can’t help herself. She sees the East German soldiers with their guns trained on their own citizens; she, her family, her neighbors and friends are prisoners in their own city.
But one day on her way to school, Gerta spots her father on a viewing platform on the western side, pantomiming a peculiar dance. Gerta concludes that her father wants her and Fritz to tunnel beneath the wall, out of East Berlin. However, if they are caught, the consequences will be deadly. No one can be trusted. Will Gerta and her family find their way to freedom?
Chaya Lindner is a teenager living in Nazi-occupied Poland. Simply being Jewish places her in danger of being killed or sent to the camps. After her little sister is taken away, her younger brother disappears, and her parents all but give up hope, Chaya is determined to make a difference. Using forged papers and her fair features, Chaya becomes a courier and travels between the Jewish ghettos of Poland, smuggling food, papers, and even people.
Soon Chaya joins a resistance cell that runs raids on the Nazis’ supplies. But after a mission goes terribly wrong, Chaya’s network shatters. She is alone and unsure of where to go, until Esther, a member of her cell, finds her and delivers a message that chills Chaya to her core, and sends her on a journey toward an even larger uprising in the works — in the Warsaw Ghetto.
Though the Jewish resistance never had much of a chance against the Nazis, they were determined to save as many lives as possible, and to live — or die — with honor.
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Monster Callscomes a richly illustrated and lyrical tale, one that asks harrowing questions about power, loyalty, obsession, and the monsters we make of others.
With harpoons strapped to their backs, the proud whales of Bathsheba’s pod live for the hunt, fighting in the ongoing war against the world of men. When they attack a ship bobbing on the surface of the Abyss, they expect to find easy prey. Instead, they find the trail of a myth, a monster, perhaps the devil himself…
As their relentless Captain leads the chase, they embark on a final, vengeful hunt, one that will forever change the worlds of both whales and men.
With the lush, atmospheric art of Rovina Cai woven in throughout, this remarkable work by Patrick Ness turns the familiar tale of Moby Dick upside down and tells a story all its own with epic triumph and devastating fate.
I’m a Patrick Ness fan ever since I read the Chaos Walking trilogy and A Monster Calls. I did some reading about this book and where the idea for it came from. Do you know the famous book by Herman Melville?
In this book, Captain Ahab is on the hunt for Moby Dick, the huge whale who destroyed his ship… and bit off his leg below the knee.
This book turns the book around: What if it was the Whale who lost her family and was out to get revenge on the human hunter?
A heartbreaking and powerful story about a black boy killed by a police officer, drawing connections through history, from award-winning author Jewell Parker Rhodes.
Only the living can make the world better. Live and make it better.
Twelve-year-old Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. As a ghost, he observes the devastation that’s been unleashed on his family and community in the wake of what they see as an unjust and brutal killing.
Soon Jerome meets another ghost: Emmett Till, a boy from a very different time but similar circumstances. Emmett helps Jerome process what has happened, on a journey towards recognizing how historical racism may have led to the events that ended his life. Jerome also meets Sarah, the daughter of the police officer, who grapples with her father’s actions.
Once again Jewell Parker Rhodes deftly weaves historical and socio-political layers into a gripping and poignant story about how children and families face the complexities of today’s world, and how one boy grows to understand American blackness in the aftermath of his own death.
Wow— what a flood of emotions came rushing through me at various point of this story. This book was, as they say, “Ripped from the headlines”. There have been too many news stories in the past few years of men and boys of color who have been mistreated at the hands of white police officers. And yes—some are shot and killed.
On the first page of this book, Jerome is already shot and dead. That’s not giving anything away. The things he sees and the people he meets as a ghost gives him insights and experiences he wouldn’t otherwise have. I liked that he met up with the daughter of the policeman who shot him. Important lessons there.
It was especially fascinating hearing Emmett Till’s story. Yes— that Emmett. Don’t know what he’s all about?
Emmett Till was born in 1941 in Chicago and grew up in a middle-class black neighborhood. Till was visiting relatives in Money, Mississippi, in 1955 when the fourteen-year-old was accused of whistling at Carolyn Bryant, a white woman who was a cashier at a grocery store.
Four days later, Bryant’s husband Roy and his half-brother J.W. Milam kidnapped Till, beat him and shot him in the head. The men were tried for murder, but an all-white, male jury acquitted them.
I recommend this book to all readers. It is fantasy… but it’s also realistic and historical. Quite a combination.
A modern classic from Newbery medalist Jerry Spinelli.
“Readers will devour this humorous glimpse of what jocks are made of.” —School Library Journal, starred review
Cocky seventh-grade super-jock Crash Coogan got his nickname the day he used his first football helmet to knock his cousin Bridget flat on her backside. And he has been running over people ever since, especially Penn Webb, the dweeby, vegetarian Quaker kid who lives down the block. Through the eyes of Crash, readers get a rare glimpse into the life of a bully in this unforgettable and beloved story about stereotypes and the surprises life can bring.
Orphan Black meets Lord of the Flies in this riveting new thriller from the co-author of the Virals series.
It’s been happening since Min was eight. Every two years, on her birthday, a strange man finds her and murders her in cold blood. But hours later, she wakes up in a clearing just outside her tiny Idaho hometown—alone, unhurt, and with all evidence of the horrifying crime erased.
Across the valley, Noah just wants to be like everyone else. But he’s not. Nightmares of murder and death plague him, though he does his best to hide the signs. But when the world around him begins to spiral toward panic and destruction, Noah discovers that people have been lying to him his whole life. Everything changes in an eye blink.
For the planet has a bigger problem. The Anvil, an enormous asteroid threatening all life on Earth, leaves little room for two troubled teens. Yet on her sixteenth birthday, as she cowers in her bedroom, hoping not to die for the fifth time, Min has had enough. She vows to discover what is happening in Fire Lake and uncovers a lifetime of lies: a vast conspiracy involving the sixty-four students of her sophomore class, one that may be even more sinister than the murders.
Man! What a crazy ride of a book. Just when I thought I knew what was going on, everything changed. This was a fantastic listen while I was driving, working in the yard, or cleaning my garage. It took a long time, though. The magic librarian on the web took it back before I was finished and I had to wait almost a month to get it back to finish. Luckily the story was still trapped in my brain and I was able to pick up right where I left off.
Maybe in a couple years you’ll want to give this fantasy weirdness a try.