Friday, July 11, 2014

Historical fiction

Oh boy, do I love historical fiction.  I seem to have picked up several this week and all of them about the 1960s.  I read Countdown by Deborah Wiles two years ago and absolutely loved it.  If you haven't read it, it's a chapter book about a girl who is living near a military base in 1961.  Her dad is a military commander and the level of tension because of the political situation is extremely high.  Add to that a crazy uncle (post traumatic stress syndrome, most likely) who is digging bomb shelters, a big sister who is trying to find her way, and boys... it's a complicated story.  What I really like about it is the pictures, and there are a lot of them.  The pictures use graphic images and words from that time period to help you really feel what's going on.  I loved it!  Well, Deborah Wiles has a new book out called "Revolution" and it's also about the 1960s but this one is about the Civil Rights movement and specifically about a community in Alabama that is trying to find it's way through segregation and into integration.  It's told from three different view points, a girl and two boys, each who are struggling in a different way with their community is dealing with integration.  It also has a ton of images and world from the time period, and what I really love about this one is that many of the words are song lyrics.  As I'm reading it, I'm finding that I'm singing along and sometimes it's really hard to get the songs out of my head.  It really made me think about how the songs must have been such an integral part of the civil rights movement.  Here's a link to Deborah Wile's website.

And in the same vein, I also read "The Wednesday Wars" by Gary Schmidt.  It's about a boy starting 7th grade and he has some big issues.  He thinks his teacher hates him, there are issues with girls, and fitting in, bullies, and rats.  It's also set in the 1960s (just like the other two!) except that there's no art work to go with this one and it's not immediately apparent that it's in the 1960s.  It has some great themes (standing up for what you believe is right, sticking it out even when things are hard, how great Shakespeare is) and the characters are very likable.  I can't wait recommend this one to my students.  Here's a book trailer about it.
How's your book a day challenge going?  I think I'm doing all right... a count for tomorrow!

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