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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.

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