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On Viney's Mountain

Joan Donaldson (2009), 231 pages
Audience: 6th Grade - 8th Grade
Category: Fiction, Historical
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In the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee, Viney Walker, 16, lives with her brother and sister in a small cabin on a small farm that barely keeps them alive. They are used to hard work and long days. Viney has one hobby that she does well and that keeps her loving her surroundings. She weaves colorful blankets rugs and dress material on a homemade loom with yarn she has sheared from the sheep and dyed herself. When English settlers come to the mountain to start taking down trees to build a 'utopia' town, Viney has trouble with the concept. She is sixteen and not married which is not the norm in the 1880's. Her sister is thrilled with the new Englishmen. This historical fiction and light romance book is for those that enjoy action and a not-so-happy ending. You will want more.
Reviewed by: cj
Date read: 1/31/2010
ISBN-10: 0823421295
ISBN-13: 9780823421299
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Other Side

Jacqueline Woodson (2001), 32 pages
Illustrated by E. B. Lewis
Audience: Preschool - 3rd Grade
Category: Especially for Girls, Fiction, Historical, Picture Books, Realistic Fiction
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A simple fence that cut through the middle of Clover's town was meant to separate the white side of town from the black side of town. This fence, for Clover, stood for a whole lot more. It kept people from playing, talking, and being friends. Until one day Annie and Clover, girls from opposite sides of the fence, decided to overlook what the fence was meant to represent and sat together,'on top of the fence'. In 'The Other Side' by Jacqueline Woodson, Clover simply, yet eloquantly, tells her story as she reaches beyond her side of the fence to find a friend. 'Someday, somebody's going to come along and knock this old fence down,' is Annie's and Clover's fervent wish and hope for the future.
Similar authors: Gwendolyn Battle-Lavert; Pat McKissack; Deborah Wiles
Similar books: Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles; Goin' Someplace Special by Pat Kissack; Rosa's Bus by Jo S. Kittinger; Coming on Home Soon by Jacqueline Woodson; Back of the Bus by Aaron Reynolds; Papa's Mark by Gwendolyn Battle-Lavert
Reviewed by: mb
Date read: 7/27/2011
ISBN-10: 0399231161
ISBN-13: 9780399231162
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Our Strange New Land: Elizabeth's Jamestown Colony Diary

Patricia Hermes (2008), 109 pages
Audience: 3rd Grade - 5th Grade
Category: Fiction, Historical
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It is 1609 in Jamestown, Virginia. Elizabeth has survived the difficult crossing by ship to the New World, but finds that life in the new colony is far from pleasant. She encounters hunger, mosquitoes, illness, and uneasiness between the colonists and their Native American neighbors. Written in the form of a diary that Elizabeth is keeping for her twin brother who remained in England, this book gives a good sense of what life was like as an early settler in Virginia. If you enjoy this book, look for the sequels: The Starving Time and Season of Promise.
Book Series: My America
Reviewed by: msp
Date read: 10/20/2009
ISBN-13: 9781435266278
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Papa's Mark

Gwendolyn Battle-Lavert (2004), 32 pages
Illustrated by Colin Bootman
Audience: Preschool - 4th Grade
Category: Especially for Boys, Fiction, Historical, Multicultural, Picture Books, Realistic Fiction
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In 'Papa's Mark' by Gwnedolyn Battle-Lavert, Simms and his Papa knew how important the right to vote was to a black man living in the south during the 1960's. 'America could change for the better if all people had a say in the running of it,' was the consensus of the black community living in Lamar County. Even though the Fifteenth Amendment of the Constitution protected the rights of all people to vote, many restrictions were adopted in the southern states to make it impossible for members of the black community to exercise their rights. Gang violence, voting taxes, and literacy tests were obstacles instituted by many white communities to prevent the African-Americans from voting. So when Simm's Papa was able (after many nights of practice) to sign his own name at the voting booth, Samuel T. Blow could feel the winds of change shaping a newer and brighter America.
Similar authors: Deborah Wiles; Jacqueline Woodson;
Similar books: Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles; The Other side by Jacqueline Woodson; Goin' Someplace Special by Pat McKissack; Pop's Bridge by Eve Bunting; Coolies by Yin
Reviewed by: mb
Date read: 8/1/2011
ISBN-10: 082341650X
ISBN-13: 9780823416509
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Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara story

Ken Mochizuki (1997), 32 pages
Illustrated by Dom Lee
Audience: 3rd Grade - 5th Grade
Category: Historical, Nonfiction, Picture Books
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This is the true story of a Japanese diplomat during World War II as seen by his son, Hiroki Sugihara, who was 5 at the time. In 1940, their family lives in Lithuania, a country soon to be invaded by Nazis forces. One morning in late July, the Sugihara family looks out their front window to see hundreds of people waiting to see Hiroki's father. They are Jewish refugees from various countries who are trying to escape the Nazis by living in Lithuania. Now that the Nazis are on their way, they need help to get out of Lithuania and into another country. Mr. Sugihara sends a message to the Japanese government asking if he can help these people, but the answer that comes back is 'no.' What could be done? If Mr. Sugihara does not help the Jewish refugees, they could all die. Read Passage to Freedom to see what happens to these Jewish refugees and to the Sugihara family.
Awards nominated: Bluestem Award Nominee 2012
Reviewed by: mec
Date read: 6/1/2011
ISBN-10: 1880000490
ISBN-13: 9781880000496
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