Historical Fiction

The Misunderstandings of Charity Brown by Elizabeth Laird

Charity Brown, raised in a strict fundamentalist Christian sect, is beginning to ponder the meaning of life and God. The Misunderstandings of Charity Brown by ...
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The Selkie’s Daughter by Linda Crotta Brennan

The Selkie’s Daughter presents its protagonist with a profound choice between two natures. The Selkie’s Daughter by Linda Crotta Brennan. Holiday House, 2024, 202 pages. ...
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The Night War by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

The Night War is the WWII story of a Jewish girl in Paris choosing to be brave when Nazis take everything from her. The Night ...
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Kentucky Derby Book List: Books for Young Horse Lovers

The Kentucky Derby runs every first Saturday of May. Will there be another Triple Crown winner this year? Will an underdog horse come from nowhere ...
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Operation: Happy by Jenni L. Walsh

Operation: Happy is the story of a girl and her dog experiencing the attack on Pearl Harbor and challenges that followed. Operation: Happy: A World ...
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On All Other Nights, edited by Chris Baron, Joshua Levy, and Naomi Milliner

On All Other Nights uses the perspective of 14 authors to detail every step of the Seder Meal observed by Jewish families during Passover (recipes ...
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*One Big Open Sky by Lesa Cline-Ransome

One Big Open Sky fills a history gap with the story of black settlers heading west in wagon trains. *One Big Open Sky by Lesa ...
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Max in the House of Spies by Adam Gidwitz

Max in the House of Spies begins the story of an 11-year-old German boy who believes he has what it takes to be a secret ...
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Across so Many Seas by Ruth Behar

Across So Many Seas tracks the destiny of a Jewish family exiled from Spain in 1492. Across So Many Seas by Ruth Behar. Nancy Paulsen ...
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Yours from the Tower by Sally Nichols

In Yours from the Tower, three young ladies overcome obstacles and find true love in late 19th-century England. Yours from the Tower by Sally Nichols. ...
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Eagle Drums by Nasugraq Raney Hopson

The Newbery Honor novel Eagle Drums portrays the mythical origin of a cherished tradition of the Iñupiat people. Eagle Drums by Nasugraq Raney Hopson. Roaring ...
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Hope in the Valley book cover

2024 Newbery Buzz #5: Hope in the Valley by Mitali Perkins

It’s no secret to long-time RR readers that we love Mitali Perkins (*and* her books). We’ve reviewed nearly all of them to date, from picture ...
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The Boy, the Cloud, and the Very Tall Tale by Heather Smith

A 12-year-old works through grief in The Boy, the Cloud, and the Very Tall Tale. The Boy, the Cloud, and the Very Tall Tale by ...
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Newbery Roundup 1: Jawbreaker, When Sea Becomes Sky, Duel

Two weeks from now (January 22), the American Library Association will announce their Youth Media Award winners, including the Newbery and Caldecott. We’ve kept an ...
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2024 Newbery Buzz #2: Nothing Else But Miracles by Kate Albus

Traditionally, the Newbery Medal has been awarded to many historical fiction novels. That trend has shifted a bit in recent years. Today, we're looking at ...
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Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust by Loic Dauvillier

Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust is a suitable introduction for grades 2-4 to this terrible chapter in history. Hidden: A Child’s Story of ...
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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Bruno is a 9yo German boy living during World War II who isn't happy with his father's new work assignment until he makes a friend ...
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The Hiding Place, A Christmas Carol, Hinds Feet on High Places, and Les Miserables: An Engaging Visual Journey

The four books in the Engaging Visual Journey series provide beautiful, dignified forms to stories that are dearly loved spiritual classics. The Hiding Place by ...
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Nothing Else but Miracles by Kate Albus

Nothing Else but Miracles features a spunky and imaginative protagonist making the most of hardships on the WWII home front. Nothing Else but Miracles by ...
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*Enemies in the Orchard by Dana VanderLugt

In Enemies in the Orchard, an American girl and a German POW discover a shared humanity among the tragedy of war. *Enemies in the Orchard ...
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*Seeds of America Trilogy by Laurie Halse Anderson

The Seeds of America Trilogy powerfully examines some of the complex ideas of the American Revolution: freedom, justice, and equality for all. Seeds of America ...
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Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson

Fever 1793: Yellow fever sweeps through Philadelphia, challenging young Mattie to the core in this historical fiction novel for young teens. Fever 1793 by Laurie ...
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*Charis in the World of Wonders by Marly Youmans

Charis in the World of Wonders is a richly satisfying novel of a young Puritan woman who learns much about the world and herself through ...
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The Improbable Tales of Baskerville Hall by Ali Standish

The Improbable Tales of Baskerville Hall series imagines the mysterious education of a classic mystery writer. The Improbable Tales of Baskerville Hall by Ali Standish. ...
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Mr. Darcy & Miss Tilney Mysteries (Books 1 & 2) by Claudia Gray

Mysteries involving Jane Austen characters? That is the premise of Claudia Gray's recent mystery series suitable for mature teen readers as well as adults. As ...
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Hope in the Valley book cover

*Hope in the Valley by Mitali Perkins

Hope in the Valley captures one girl’s momentous summer as she processes grief, grapples with change, and finds her own voice along the way. *Hope ...
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The Windeby Puzzle: History and Story by Lois Lowry

The Windeby Puzzle is half history and half story: Lowry allows young readers to peer behind the curtain into the process of creating a work ...
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In the Tunnel by Julie Lee

In the Tunnel takes readers into the savagery and family upheaval of the Korean War . In the Tunnel by Julie Lee. Holiday House, 2023, ...
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Gladys Hunt on Stellar Historical Fiction

Editor's Note: We're wrapping up our Honey for a Child's Heart Read-along with Chapter 19, on historical novels. Sarah, Plain and Tall Series Originally published ...
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Buffalo Flats by Martine Leavitt

Buffalo Flats takes readers to the Northwest Territory of Canada, for an unforgettable story of spiritual growth and romance. Buffalo Flats by Martine Leavitt. Margaret ...
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Enter the Body by Joy McCullough

Enter the Body engages three tragic heroines of Shakespeare in a discussion of love, oppression, and what they might have done differently. Enter the Body ...
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Gladys Hunt on Diversity

“Teacher, do you have any books with pictures of kids that look like me?” Originally published on the Tumblon website, October 10, 2009 Probably more ...
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Iceberg by Jennifer A. Nielsen

In Iceberg, a 12-year-old stowaway experiences history's worst maritime disaster. Iceberg by Jennifer A. Nielsen. Scholastic, 2023, 339 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 ...
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The Silence of Bones by June Hur

Can Seol figure out what happened to her brother even as she investigates a murder? The Silence of Bones is a gritty, historical mystery for ...
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*Dragonfly Eyes by Cao Wenxuan

Dragonfly Eyes is a slowly-unfolding, beautiful picture of family love and loyalty during the stressful days of China’s Cultural Revolution. *Dragonfly Eyes by Cao Wenxuan, ...
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Bright Island by Mabel Robinson (Retro Reads)

In this "Retro Reads" book, homeschooled Thankful Curtis must leave her beloved island to brave the mainland and boarding school. Bright Island by Mabel Robinson. ...
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2023 Newbery Winner: Freewater by Amina Luqman-Dawson

Freewater, this year's Newbery Medal winner, is as much an adventure tale as little-known history. Freewater by Amina Luqman-Dawson. Little, Brown (James Patterson Presents), 2022, ...
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When Winter Robeson Came

When Winter Robeson Came by Brenda Woods

History and a summer adventure combine in an engaging, slim, novel-in-verse for middle grade readers. When Winter Robeson Came by Brenda Woods. Nancy Paulsen Books, ...
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The Lost Year by Katherine Marsh

The Lost Year uses multiple voices to narrate a sad chapter of history: Stalin’s deliberate starving of Ukraine. The Lost Year: A Survival Story of ...
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Love in the Library by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Love in the Library offers a tender picture of humanity and the miracle of love, and hope in the midst of a Japanese internment camp. ...
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love and laughter

Love and Laughter Book List

A Valentine's Day list of books that celebrate family love and wholesome romance. It’s the season of hearts and flowers and chocolate. Valentine’s Day is ...
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2023 Newbery Buzz #5: I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys

I Must Betray You is one of those novels that straddles the line between Newbery age ranges and Printz age ranges. Will it get some ...
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2023 Newbery Buzz #3: Northwind

Might Gary Paulsen's last novel be a sentimental favorite for Newbery recognition? The State of Nature Betsy: Janie, this is only the second Paulsen book ...
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Newbery Roundup #1: Freestyle, Swim Team, and Maizy Chen’s Last Chance

Three novels for middle-grades that may be under consideration for this year's top prize Freestyle by Gale Galligan. Graphix; (Scholastic), 2022, 322 pages. (Ages 10-14) ...
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2023 Newbery Buzz #2: The Door of No Return

Back for our second buzz, Janie and Betsy talk over a troubling but moving verse novel. Out of Africa Janie: Kwame Alexander scored a gold ...
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The Lucky Ones by Linda Williams Jackson

In The Lucky Ones, an impoverished family in the rural south takes a big step up during the Civil Rights struggles of the 1960s. The ...
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*Berliners by Vesper Stamper

Berliners is the story of a family scarred by war, politics, and false ideology in postwar Germany. *Berliners by Vesper Stamper. Knopf, 2022, 413 pages. ...
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*Two Old Women by Velma Wallis

Two Old Women, a legend from Alaska, reminds us to persevere and to seek the good of those around us. *Two Old Women: An Alaska ...
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Cover of The Star that Always Stays

*The Star that Always Stays by Anna Rose Johnson

In a debut novel reminiscent of Maud Hart Lovelace and Laura Ingalls Wilder, a young girl discovers new friends, family, and hope. *The Star that ...
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The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander

The Door of No Return uses beautifully modulated verse to communicate the humanity of the Ashanti people and the horrors of the African slave trade. ...
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Black Bird, Blue Road by Sofiya Pasternack

Black Bird, Blue Road is set in a neglected period of world history and explores the subject of death through a lens of Jewish mythology. ...
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Wildoak by C. C. Harrington

Wildoak is a gentle story about a girl finding a voice and a cause in the natural world. Wildoak by C. C. Harrigan. Scholastic, 2022, ...
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*The Red Palace by June Hur

Eighteenth century Korea comes to life in The Red Palace, a gripping—and gritty—historical mystery for teens. *The Red Palace by June Hur. Feiwel and Friends, ...
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Yonder by Ali Standish

Yonder is a thoughtful and moving historical novel about the nature of heroism. Yonder by Ali Standish. Harper, 2022, 348 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ...
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*The Song that Moves the Sun by Anna Bright

The Song that Moves the Sun takes four teens through the cosmos of Dante, with revelations on harmony, love, and friendship. *The Song that Moves ...
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Lines of Courage by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Lines of Courage follows five young protagonists through the epoch-making carnage of World War I. Lines of Courage by Jennifer A. Nielsen. Scholastic Press, 2022, ...
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Spineless by Samantha San Miguel

A sickly young man finds both adventure and wisdom in Spineless, an enjoyable debut novel set in turn-of-the-century Florida. Spineless by Samantha San Miguel. Union ...
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Mr. Lemoncello’s Very First Game by Chris Grabenstein

Fans of Mr. Lemoncello's world of puzzles and games will enjoy this story of how he got his start. Mr. Lemoncello’s Very First Game by ...
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My Own Lightning by Lauren Wolk

My Own Lightning follows the author’s previous Newbery-honored novel, Wolf Hollow, with a more hopeful conclusion. My Own Lightning by Lauren Wolk. Dutton, 2022, 307 ...
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Rip to the Rescue

Rip to the Rescue is a true-to-life World War II adventure featuring heroic teens and one heroic dog. Rip to the Rescue by Miriam Halahmy. ...
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Troublemaker by John Cho

Troublemaker honestly pictures generational, cultural, and racial conflict against the background of the Los Angeles riots of 1992. Troublemaker by John Cho. Little, Brown, 2022, ...
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The Sheep, the Rooster, and the Duck by Matt Phelan

A swashbuckling rooster, a designing sheep and a clever duck change history in Matt Phelan’s latest flight of fancy. The Sheep, the Rooster, and the ...
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A Cloud of Outrageous Blue by Vesper Stamper

A peasant girl in pre-Plague England holds the key to key to healing and "outrageous blue" hope. *A Cloud of Outrageous Blue by Vesper Stamper. ...
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Pony by R. J. Palacio

Pony mixes elements of historical fiction and fantasy to create a memorable coming-of-age tale. Pony by R. J. Palacio. Knopf, 2021, 304 pages Reading Level: ...
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Northwind by Gary Paulsen

Northwind follows a boy into the northern wilderness to be reborn in the harsh cradle of nature. Northwind by Gary Paulsen. Farrar Strauss Giroux, 2022, ...
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The World of Tumbleweed Thompson books by Glenn McCarty

Humorous and winsome, tales from the World of Tumbleweed Thompson will engage young fans of Tom Sawyer and Homer Price. Reading Level: Middle Grades, Ages ...
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Printz Honor Books Roundup: Last Night at the Telegraph Club, Concrete Rose, Revolution in Our Time, Starfish

The Michael L. Printz Award is given by the American Library Association for “Excellence in literature written for young adults.” Last year’s winner was Everything ...
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2022 Sidney Taylor Award MG Roundup: How to Find What You’re Not Looking For, The Genius Under the Table, and Linked

The Sidney Taylor Award, named for the author of the classic All-of-a-Kind Family series, is presented by the Association of Jewish Libraries to "outstanding books ...
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Set Me Free by Ann Clare LeZotte

Set Me Free follows the further adventures of Mary Lambert, a deaf girl growing up in Martha's Vineyard at the turn of the 19th century. ...
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2022 Newbery Buzz #5: Cuba in My Pocket

Cuba in My Pocket (see our review) appears on many Newbery favorites lists right alongside Fallout, the book Megan and Betsy mulled over yesterday. In ...
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2022 Newbery Buzz #1: The Beatryce Prophecy

It's time for our annual Newbery Buzz Series: a series we run each January in which we discuss books with "Newbery Buzz." That is, books ...
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Newbery Roundup #1: DaVinci’s Cat, Playing the Cards You’re Dealt, Harry Versus the First 100 Days of School, and Black Boy Joy

It’s that time of year when librarians across the nation eagerly await the announcement of the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards, crossing fingers for ...
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Mighty Inside by Sundee T. Frazier

An incoming freshman faces challenges of racism and stuttering in Mighty Inside. Mighty Inside by Sundee Frazier. Levine Querido (Scholastic), 2021, 230 pages Reading Level: ...
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*The Swallow’s Flight by Hilary McKay

The Swallow’s Flight gracefully unfolds the lives of two English girls and two German boys against the backdrop of World War II.   *The Swallow’s ...
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Cuba in My Pocket by Adrianna Cuevas

A 12-year-old refugee flees Cuba for a better life but can’t forget his home and people. Cuba in My Pocket by Adrianna Cuevas. Farrar Strauss ...
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Voyage of the Sparrowhawk by Natasha Farrant

In Voyage of the Sparrowhawk, two youngsters undertake a dangerous journey to find relatives missing after World War I. Voyage of the Sparrowhawk by Natasha ...
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The Promise and the Light by Katy Morgan

An engaging and thought-provoking retelling of the Christmas story through the eyes of biblical characters. The Promise and the Light by Katy Morgan. The Good ...
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The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo

Two heavyweights of the children's book world collaborate on The Beatryce Prophecy, a quasi-medieval tale of treachery and hope. The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo, ...
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Walls by L. M. Elliot

An American "army brat" lives the history that led up to the building of the Berlin Wall. Walls by L. M. Elliot, with photo essay ...
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The Gilded Girl by Alyssa Colman

The Gilded Girl, a magical take on A Little Princess, takes readers to an alternative turn-of-the-century New York City. The Gilded Girl by Alyssa Colman. ...
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9/11 for Middle Graders: Ground Zero and In the Shadow of the Fallen Towers

Novelist Alan Gratz and graphic artist Don Brown offer views of 9/11 accessible to middle-grade readers. In The Shadow of the Fallen Towers: The Seconds, ...
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Reading Afghanistan

For a country many of us can't even point to on a map, Afghanistan has held a consequential place in world history. This mountainous district ...
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Enduring Freedom by Jawad Arash and Trent Reedy

An American soldier and Afghan interpreter become life-long friends during Operation Enduring Freedom. Enduring Freedom by Jawad Arash and Trent Reedy. Algonquin, 2021, 354 pages. ...
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The Republic of Birds by Jessica Miller

The Republic of Birds takes us to an alternate czarist Russia, where humans are at war with an avian nation. The Republic of Birds by ...
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Juneteenth Roundup

Juneteenth, our newest national holiday, commemorates the 19th of June, 1865, when slaves in Texas learned of their emancipation. These four books offer experiential perspectives ...
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Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee

The biracial heroine of Luck of the Titanic sees dreams fulfilled just before disaster strikes, in this romantic thriller. Luck of the Titanic by Stacey ...
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Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (Awesomely Austen Series)

The "Awesomely Austen" series makes Jane Austen accessible to elementary-age readers. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice by Katherine Woodfine, illustrated by Eglantine Ceulemans. Hodder Children’s ...
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Pride and Premeditation by Tirzah Price

Add Pride and Premeditation, a “Jane Austen Murder Mystery” to your YA shelf for a light, amusing summertime diversion. Pride and Premeditation by Tirzah Price. ...
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War and Millie McGonigle by Karen Cushman

Millie McGonigle is an appealing 12-year-old who is struggling to deal with tough things in life, like death and war. War and Millie McGonigle by ...
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*A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus

Young readers will find kindred spirits in A Place to Hang the Moon, a story of three displaced children in wartime Britain. *A Place to ...
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*Amber & Clay by Laura Amy Schlitz

Amber & Clay is a fascinating immersion into classic Greek civilization, seen through the eyes of two children, Socrates the sage, and a host of ...
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Rescue by Jennifer A. Nielsen

In Rescue, a 12-year-old girl joins the French Resistance to free her father from the Nazis. Rescue by Jennifer A. Nielsen. Scholastic, 2021, 379 pages. ...
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*All He Knew by Helen Frost

All He Knew pictures grace in the midst of gloom as a deaf child learns to navigate life in an  institution. *All He Knew by ...
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The Ambassador of Nowhere Texas by Kimberly Willis Holt

"Nowhere Texas" is better known as Antler, the small town that Zachary Beaver visited in an earlier novel that bears his name. The Ambassador of ...
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Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith

Ida Mae Jones is a true "flygirl" in this engaging historical fiction read for teens that examines issues of race, coming-of-age, and learning to fly. ...
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The Blossom and the Firefly by Sherri L. Smith

The Blossom and the Firefly, Hana and Taro, are brought together by music and war in this emotional historical fiction read for teens. The Blossom ...
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A Wolf for a Spell by Karah Sutton

In A Wolf for a Spell, wolves join forces with humans and the earth itself to defeat a foul plot against all. A Wolf for ...
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*Just Like That by Gary D. Schmidt

Just Like That, Gary Schmidt's latest book for teens, humorously and poignantly explores love and loss. Just Like That by Gary D. Schmidt. Clarion, 2021. ...
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*Catherine’s War by Julia Billet

An excellent new graphic novel translated into English, Catherine's War tells the story of one Jewish girl’s life in occupied France, often through the lens ...
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2021 Newbery Buzz #6: Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk

We wrap up our Newbery Buzz series for this year with a discussion of Echo Mountain a historical novel set during the Great Depression. Joining ...
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