Good historical fiction is hard to find, but it’s probably even harder to write. Newbery Honor winner Gennifer Choldenko’s ability to research obscure yet intriguing topics is uncanny, and as she did with the popular Al Capone trilogy, she turns a tough topic into a high-interest read with Chasing Secrets.
Fannie Lou Hamer was a tireless champion of civil rights, from the moment she attempted to register to vote in 1962 until her death in 1977. Malcolm X called her “the country’s number one freedom-fighting woman.” In 1964, Hamer came to prominence at the Democratic National Convention, where she delivered a speech that aired on national television. An older white man once expressed what many felt, telling her that she did “what he was afraid to do.”
More than 100 years ago, there was little understanding of the concept of invisible dangers like germs. The story of Mary Mallon, better known as Typhoid Mary, was passed off as one of intentional harm, when in reality she didn’t believe she was a danger to anyone.
Holly Goldberg Sloan knows how to write a story for young people, with a style that’s easily accessible and entertaining for new readers. Her latest book, Appleblossom the Possum, is no exception.
History remembers the various resistance groups that cropped up during World War II, but few people know about the Edelweiss Pirates, formed by German young adults aged 14 to 17. A factually accurate portrayal of this group serves as the backdrop to My Brother’s Secret, the gripping tale of 12-year-old Karl, a staunch supporter of Hitler and the Hitler youth group to which he belongs.
Sometimes the most incredible stories are the true ones, the stories passed through generations, eventually becoming legend. Rebecca Bond’s Out of the Woods, based on her grandfather’s childhood at Lake Gowganda in Ontario, Canada, is one of these.
In Jennifer Bradbury’s exciting new work of historical fiction, River Runs Deep, 12-year-old Elias, suffering from tuberculosis, is sent to recover in an underground hut in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky.
It’s hard to navigate the world when you’re 12 years old, especially when you’re the chubby kid at a secret spy school. Not only is Hale Jordan having trouble passing his junior agent exam, but he’s the son of the Sub Rosa Society’s most elite spy team.
Val and Lanora were BFFs—that is, until they entered middle school and Lanora decided to reinvent herself, straightening her curly hair and hanging out with the popular girls. Being popular isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, as Lanora adds stealing to her list of reinventions. However, Val misses Lanora and can’t let their friendship go without a fight.
On the third spread of this story of a rushed parent with a curious child, readers see a street scene with a “one way” sign in the background. It’s fitting for this horizontally oriented book of a mother rushing to get someplace on time. “Hurry!” she keeps telling her son, rushing to the next page. But “wait,” he says. There’s a big and endlessly intriguing world to see, and he wants to slow down and take it all in.