HISTORIC FICTION HISTORIC FICTION CHOICES CRISPIN: THE CROSS OF LEAD AVI CRISPIN: THE CROSS OF LEAD AVI Set in 14th-century England, Avi's 50th book begins with a funeral, that of a village outcast whose past is shrouded in mystery and whose adolescent son is known only as "Asta's son." Mired in grief for his mother, the boy learns his given name, Crispin, from the village priest, although his presumably dead father's identity remains obscure. The words etched on his mother's treasured lead cross may provide some clue, but the priest is murdered before he can tell the illiterate lad what they say. Worse, Crispin is fingered for the murder by the manor steward, who declares him a "wolf's head" wanted dead or alive, preferably dead. Crispin flees, and falls in with a traveling juggler. "I have no name," Crispin tells Bear, whose rough manners and appearance mask a tender heart. Avi's plot is engineered for maximum thrills, with twists, turns and treachery. CRISPIN: THE CROSS OF LEAD AVI Book Review: "The day after my mother died, the priest and I wrapped her body in a gray shroud and carried her to the village church. Our burden was not great. In life she had been a small woman with little strength. Death made her even less.“ I enjoyed this book. It was fast paced and a great coming-ofage story. The medieval England setting provides some very interesting history and issues of freedom. It is pretty gritty, with frank descriptions of hunger and violence (there is a particularly gruesome scene in which Crispin comes across the corpse of a hanged man)…. Avi perfectly balances the painting of a realistic historical setting with a mystery that keeps the reader turning pages. THE SCARLET LETTER NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE THE SCARLET LETTER NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE Published in 1850, this novel is considered a masterpiece of American literature and a classic moral study. The novel is set in a village in Puritan New England. The main character is Hester Prynne, a young woman who has borne an illegitimate child. Hester believes herself a widow, but her husband, Roger Chillingworth, returns to New England very much alive and conceals his identity. He finds his wife forced to wear the scarlet letter A on her dress as punishment for her adultery. Chillingworth becomes obsessed with finding the identity of his wife's former lover. When he learns that the father of Hester's child is Arthur Dimmesdale, a saintly young minister who is the leader of those exhorting her to name the child's father, Chillingworth proceeds to torment the guilt-stricken young man. THE SCARLETT LETTER NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE Book Review: I enjoyed reading The Scarlet Letter. I was not forced into by a Literature teacher; I picked it up on my own because I heard it was a great American classic; and, indeed, I have to agree. It is truly timeless. It has been almost five years since I have read this book and I can remember the scenes and words so vividly. Hawthorne's dizzying imagery provides an adventure into the life of a Puritan woman, Hester Prynne, that one does not soon forget. Hester, practically abandoned by her husband is left to take care of herself in a lonely new world. Hester commits adultery and is found out by a cruel, judging community. She must wear a Scarlet A on the front of her dress; A for Adultery. Hester refuses to give the name of her child’s father, Dimmesdale, so he goes free and untouched by the society, but must face the tortures of his own conscience. Hester is humiliated and must suffer the consequences for her actions but she is not a broken woman. She stands, brave. THE WINTER PEOPLE JOSEPH BRUCHAC THE WINTER PEOPLE JOSEPH BRUCHAC Saxso is fourteen when the British soldiers attack his Canadian village. It is the year 1759, and war is raging between the British and the French, with the Abenaki people-Saxso's people-by their side. In fact, most of the men of Saxso's village are away looking for the British elsewhere on the day of the attack. There aren't enough people home to put up a proper defense, and the village is destroyed. Many people are killed and some are taken hostage, including Saxso's own mother and two younger sisters. It's up to Saxso, on his own, to track the raiders and bring his family back home. THE WINTER PEOPLE JOSEPH BRUCHAC Book Review This is a truly fascinating story told in a different perspective, through the eyes of a Native American. The novel shows us a totally opposite side of the stories and documents recorded and still used today in life. After I finally finished reading "The Winter People", I had an unique and new perspective towards the Abenakis. You will too, and I still do, hold a strong respect towards these people and their way of life. NIGHT JOURNEYS BY AVI NIGHT JOURNEYS BY AVI The year is 1768. In eight years, the American Revolution will begin. Newly orphaned, Peter York has been adopted by a deeply religious Quaker family. Peter is irritated by his new guardian's strict and unyielding views and vows to break away. He sees his chance when two runaway indentured servants are reported to be fleeing through his community. If he catches one, there will be a reward, and freedom. But capturing the runaways leads to consequences, and choices, Peter cannot foresee. NIGHT JOURNEYS BY AVI Book Review Peter is a newly orphaned boy who gets adopted by a very religious Quakers. Peter hates them and tries to go bondsmen hunting for a reward of his freedom. When he finally catches one he realizes that the bondsman is his age. Now he must chose which is more important his freedom or the bondsman¿s life. The way Avi expresses the characters feelings are sensational, only out matched by the incredible rush you get when Peter is on the hunt. Peter is a young boy who has no parents to guide him through life. He is a ruthless individual who will stop at nothing to get his freedom. Avi¿ knack for expressing Peter¿s hatred toward the Shinn¿s is almost scary that one human could ever feel that way toward another. Night Journeys, was an easy read book that I would recommend for an age group of people from 11-14. Right from the start to the very end this book gripped me in a way that I was unable to put the book down. Avi doesn¿t fail to bring his A game in writing this story and certainly doesn¿t disappoint the reader either. A BLOODY COUNTRY BY JAMES & CHRISTOPHER COLLIER A BLOODY COUNTRY BY JAMES & CHRISTOPHER COLLIER Ben Buck and his family spent four years clearing the wilderness to build a new house in Connecticut. They fought the Indians and the British, and made sacrifices most people wouldn’t have been strong enough to make. All so they could be independent and free. Now someone is trying to take everything away from them… their land, their home, even Ben’s best friend and family slave, Joe. But the Buck’s won’t give up without a fight… A BLOODY COUNTRY BY JAMES & CHRISTOPHER COLLIER Book Review This book was very interesting and it had a lot to do with the war and the hard times. There were a lot of deaths and it showed what it was like during those times for the farmers. Some parts were very depressing and sad. I couldn't believe some of the stuff that went on back then...it was terrible! Living had to be very hard! I would recommend this book to people who are trying to learn more about the colonial time period in Connecticut and the hard times that people went through back then! CHAINS BY LAURIE HALSE ANDERSON CHAINS BY LAURIE HALSE ANDERSON Set in New York City at the beginning of the American Revolution, Chains addresses the price of freedom both for a nation and for individuals. Isabel tells the story of her life as a slave. She was sold with her five-year-old sister to a cruel Loyalist family even though the girls were to be free upon the death of their former owner. She has hopes of finding a way to freedom and becomes a spy for the rebels, but soon realizes that it is difficult to trust anyone. With short chapters, each beginning with a historical quote, this fast-paced novel reveals the heartache and struggles of a country and slave fighting for freedom. The characters are well developed, and the situations are realistic. An author's note gives insight into issues surrounding the Revolutionary War and the fight for the nation's freedom even though 20 percent of its people were in chains. CHAINS BY LAURIE HALSE ANDERSON Book Review I recently read Chains and couldn't put it down. The story is harsh and really shows the cruelty and downright evilness of slavery. It left me SO wanting to read Forge, the sequel. You feel like you know the characters, and you're right there next to them, fighting as hard as you can. Isabel, the main character, faces so much and you feel yourself thinking, "Get up! It'll be fine, just keep trying and don't give up!" The reality of what it was like in that time hits you hard, right in the face. You deeply feel the meaning of freedom. I totally recommend this book. FEVER 1793 BY LAURIE HALSE ANDERSON FEVER 1793 BY LAURIE HALSE ANDERSON It's late summer 1793, and the streets of Philadelphia are abuzz with mosquitoes and rumors of fever. Down near the docks, many have taken ill, and the fatalities are mounting. Now they include Polly, the serving girl at the Cook Coffeehouse. But fourteen-year-old Mattie Cook doesn't get a moment to mourn the passing of her childhood playmate. New customers have overrun her family's coffee shop, located far from the mosquito-infested river, and Mattie's concerns of fever are all but overshadowed by dreams of growing her family's small business into a thriving enterprise. But when the fever begins to strike closer to home, Mattie's struggle to build a new life must give way to a new fightthe fight to stay alive. FEVER 1793 BY LAURIE HALSE ANDERSON Book Review Any teenager would love this book, they can perfectly relate to the main character Mattie Cook… Even though the setting is based in the late 1700's you can easily relate to the characters. Mattie is like any teenage girl, she is opinionated and strong willed. The point of view of the book is in first person, from Mattie's perspective. As you read this novel, you may interpret her mother as a demanding housewife but as the story proceeds you realize Mattie's great appreciation for her mother. I recommend this book to anyone that loves suspense and history. This book is very suspenseful, you are always thinking about what is going to happen next. It is hard to put the book down! Also this book made me realize history can be very interesting. I felt that it took me back in time. This book was so intense you could feel what the character feels. I loved this book. MILKWEED BY JERRY SPINELLI MILKWEED BY JERRY SPINELLI A stunning novel of the Holocaust. He's a boy called Jew. Gypsy. Stopthief. Filthy son of Abraham. He's a boy who lives in the streets of Warsaw. He's a boy who steals food for himself, and the other orphans. He's a boy who believes in bread, and mothers, and angels. He's a boy who wants to be a Nazi, with tall, shiny jackboots of his own-until the day that suddenly makes him change his mind. And when the trains come to empty the Jews from the ghetto of the damned, he's a boy who realizes it's safest of all to be nobody. Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli takes us to one of the most devastating settings imaginableNazi-occupied Warsaw during World War IIand tells a tale of heartbreak, hope, and survival through the bright eyes of a young Holocaust orphan. MILKWEED BY JERRY SPINELLI Book Review Jerry Spinelli did a amazing job recreating Warsaw during the Holocaust. We are reading this book in school and it is definitely a page turner. It is very unfortunate that something as horrible as the Holocaust could have happened, that humans could be this terrible to one another. Milkweed completely recreates this terror through the eyes of a young boy living in Warsaw oblivious to what is going on. I highly recommend this book. I would not read this, though, if you are unprepared to take on a book as life-changing, highly detailed, excruciatingly sad, and depressing as this book. It is a very important book that I think everyone should read at some point because it can teach everyone a lesson to never let this kind of terror rein over the world ever again. THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM BY CHRISTOPHER PAUL CURTIS THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM BY CHRISTOPHER PAUL CURTIS The year is 1963, and self-important Byron Watson is the bane of his younger brother Kenny's existence. Constantly in trouble for one thing or another, from lighting fires to freezing his lips to the mirror of the new family car, Byron finally pushes his family too far. Momma and Dad finally make good on their threat to send him to the deep south to spend the summer with his tiny, strict grandmother. Soon the whole family is packed up, ready to make the drive from Flint, Michigan, straight into one of the most chilling moments in America's history: the burning of the Sixteenth Avenue Baptist Church with four little girls inside. Christopher Paul Curtis's alternately hilarious and deeply moving novel blends the fictional account of an African American family with the factual events of the violent summer of 1963. THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM BY CHRISTOPHER PAUL CURTIS Book Review This was a great book about racial injustice and family. Although it was set in the '60's, the story felt just as real as if it were occurring right now. It was very funn, especially when Byron got in trouble for staging WWII battles in the bathroom and got his lips stuck to the car mirror. When I read the book in reading period, I often began having laugh attacks and had to cover them with fake coughing spells. I understood Kenny's depression after the bombing. Overall, though, this was a wonderful, entertaining book. It conveyed the message of racial tolerance without preachiness and showed how alike we all are inside.