Archive for the ‘Historical Fiction’ Category

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

She was in shock. Her mother was gone. Her brother was dead. And she was in a strange place that scared her.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak describes the compelling story of Liesel Meminger, and her hardships of living in the slums of Munich, Germany during World War II. When her mother is unable to take care of her, Liesel must travel to new parents that will take care of her- Hans and Rosa Hubermann. Hans is a kind old man with watery gray eyes, and Rosa is a gruff, plump, rock of a woman. This story tells of how Liesel adjusts to this new, rough life, and the people that cross her path. Then, a strange man, Max Vandenburg, comes into their lives. He is a Jew, running from the Gestapo, and looking for  a place to hide from the Nazis. As Liesel gets to know this strange man, she realizes how much they they have in common. They have both lost so much in their lives, and they find both themselves both in this same unfamiliar place.

liesel.meminger

Some of my favorite parts are when Liesel is actually stealing books, or when she is with her hilarious best friend, Rudy Steiner. Their relationship is the heart of the story.  This quote from the book is one of my favorites:

“A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship.”

I also love the line when Death says, “The consequence of this is that I’m always finding humans at their best and worst. I see their ugly and their beauty, and I wonder how the same thing can be both.”

But really the whole book is amazing.

book.thief

I loved this book! Of course, I love all things related to WWII and the Holocaust, but the story itself is quite compelling, and it’s interesting to get the perspective of the average German people during the war. This book does include some mature content, so I wouldn’t suggest that anyone under 10 read it. It is also strange in the sense that it is written from the perspective of Death, so obviously it isn’t the happiest book in the world. Again, for those of you that aren’t a big fan of books without happy endings, this isn’t the book for you. But through all of this, it is an incredible, POWERFUL story, and I highly recommend it. Also, there is a movie, The Book Thief, which you don’t want to miss- AFTER you finish the book!

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne is a gripping story set during World War II, as the Nazis are killing the Jews by the thousands. Most of the German civilians are oblivious to what is going on, including Bruno, a nine-year-old boy whose father is a Nazi officer stationed at a concentration camp. To him, the Third Reich is saving the world from disaster. When his father gets promoted, Bruno and his family move to Out-With, a very dreary, desolate and boring place. When Bruno first arrives there, he sees many people in the distance, behind a very tall and sharp-looking fence. Who all have one thing in common: They are all wearing what Bruno thinks are striped pajamas. Bruno doesn’t know what’s really going on until he meets a Jewish boy named Shmuel, who opens his eyes to things that he never could’ve dreamed of. Things like discrimination, injustice and concentration camps. Bruno discovers the problems of the real world, and they’re shocking.

bruno

My recommended age group to read this book is ages ten and up because although Bruno is nine years old in the beginning of the book, there are still some pretty tough elements that can be hard to comprehend in this book. Also, The Boy in The Striped Pajamas has a very unexpected ending, so if you’re one of those people who always need happy endings, this is not a book for you. I, on the other hand, thought it was very powerful, and I thought that the ‘unexpected ending’ made the whole conflict seem more real and appalling to me.

My favorite character in this book was Shmuel, because his situation is very pitiful, but he’s also very mature, and he is a lot different from Bruno because he knows so much more about how the Jews are suffering.

If you are intrigued by Holocaust/WWII literature, this would be a good book to add to your reading list.

War Horse

While we’re in war zone, let’s time travel back to World War I. This post is about a book called War Horse, by Micheal Morpurgo.

Joey is just an ordinary horse working on a farm with his best friend, Albert. (Albert is a human) But when Joey goes to war, Albert doesn’t get to go with him! Will they ever see each other again?

joey and albert

My favorite part of the book is when Joey and his horse friend, Topthorn get a break from the war and go to live with a little girl named Emily and her grandfather. A sweet friendship develops and they become fast friends. There is a bit of gore in this book, and if you aren’t interested in World War I,  you might not like this book. But other than that, I think you will! War Horse is fairly advanced reading, so I’d recommend it for girls (or boys) 10 and up. Once you finish the book, there is also a movie out based on the book, but your parents might not let you watch it because it’s PG-13. I hope you enjoy reading this book!

war horse

Number the Stars

Hello Readers,

Sorry I haven’t written a post in so long, I’ve just been kind’ve busy, but never mind that.

Do you ever wonder how awful World War II actually was? Well, look at it from a little girl’s point of view. Annemarie Johansen lived in Copenhagen, Denmark and life became more difficult after the Germans invaded. But when her best friend goes into hiding, will she be safe?

number the stars annemarie

I think this book is very good and will leave you on the edge of your seat! I especially like Annemarie, she is so brave, and she is very mature for her age. Number the Stars is best suited  for girls who are interested in WWII. In fact, this might be a good book to start with for someone who’s not yet ready to read The Diary of Anne Frank. The age level would probably be from 8 and up, or history gurus. (like me)

I hope you really enjoy this book, just like I did.

American Girl Series

Step back in time and fight in the Civil War or put on some moccasins as you read The American Girl series by various authors. Enjoy stories that you’ll never forget!

The American Girl series is a group of 6-book series that star 12 different girls in 11 different time periods. There is a different girl in each of the books

  • Kirsten, who lived as a pioneer in the 1800’s
  • Samantha, who lived in a Victorian home during the turn of the century
  • Molly, who fights along with her country during World War 2
  • Kaya, who is a hardworking American Indian
  • Cecile and Marie-Grace, who develop a friendship as they walk the streets of New Orleans during the 1850’s
  • Addy, who fights for her rights as a black person during the Civil War
  •  Felicity, who bears her obnoxious petticoats during the Revolutionary War
  •  Julie, a young girl growing up in the turbulent times of the 1970’s
  • Josefina a Hispanic-American growing up during the 1820’s
  • Kit, who dreams of being a reporter during the Great Depression
  • Rebecca, a girl growing up in a Jewish family living during 1914.

My favorite character is probably Molly, because I’m particularly interested in that time period. The reading level for the basic series is 8-12, though there are American Girl Mysteries, which continue some of the girls’ lives with a bit of mystery. Those books are best suited for ages 10 and up, and are some of my favorites.  If you are more interested in modern-day girls, every year beginning in 2003, the American Girl franchise has released a “Girl of the Year,” complete with her modern day issues that girls from the 2000’s can relate to.

Like the title suggests, these books really are better for girls, but I have heard of some boys enjoying them as well, because in the end, they are just good stories.

If you really get into the American Girl world, you can buy dolls (and all their accessories) at the American Girl stores, or play games and do other activities on their website, www.americangirl.com.

The Magic Tree House Series

The wind started to blow. The tree house started to spin. It spun faster and faster. Then everything was still. Absolutely still.

These are the words that begin each adventure for Jack and Annie in the Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne.  In this series (47 books and counting!) a brother and sister find a magic tree house in the woods. The tree house whisks them back to different time periods and Jack and Annie have to go on missions to help people, save an animal in distress, or break a spell.  In the books, Jack is the bookworm and I think that if I were one of the characters in the books I would be Jack because I’m the bookworm of my family too. I have read all the books written so far, and my favorite is Dolphins at Daybreak, which is #9 in the series. The reason that’s my favorite book in the series is because my favorite animal is the dolphin, (I think I might’ve mentioned that in my post about Dolphin Tale) and when Jack and Annie are in distress themselves, dolphins come and give the pair a ride to shore!

The reading level is best suited for ages 6-10, though my brother started reading the series when he was 5, and he caught up to me in only 4 months! He is eagerly awaiting the next title in the series, which will be released in July, called A Perfect Time for Pandas, because he is obsessed with pandas. Oh, and I forgot to mention that the genre of the series. The books don’t exactly fit into one genre, it’s historical fiction, adventure, and a hint of fantasy. The following is a list of the books currently published, and I think there is something here for everyone.

  1. Dinosaurs Before Dark
  2. The Knight at Dawn
  3. Mummies in the Morning
  4. Pirates Past Noon
  5. Night of the Ninjas
  6. Afternoon on the Amazon
  7. Sunset of the Sabertooth
  8. Midnight on the Moon
  9. Dolphins at Daybreak
  10. Ghost Town at Sundown
  11. Lions at Lunchtime
  12. Polar Bears Past Bedtime
  13. Vacation Under the Volcanoe
  14. Day of the Dragon King
  15. Viking Ships at Sunrise
  16. Hour of the Olympics
  17. Tonight on the Titanic
  18. Buffalo Before Breakfast
  19. Tigers at Twilight
  20. Dingoes at Dinnertime
  21. Civil War on Time
  22. Revolutionary War on Wednesday
  23. Twister on Tuesday
  24. Earthquake in the Early Morning
  25.  Stage Fright on a Summer Night
  26. Good Morning, Gorillas
  27. Thanksgiving on Thursday
  28. High Tide in Hawaii

Merlin Missions

29. Christmas in Camelot

30. Haunted Castle on Hollows Eve

31. Summer of the Sea Serpent

32.Winter of the Ice Wizard

33. Carnival at Candlelight

34. Season of the Sandstorms

35. Night of the New Magicians

36. Blizzard of the Blue Moon

37. Dragon of the Red Dawn

38. Monday with the Mad Genius

39. Dark Day in the Deep Sea

40. Eve of the Emperor Penguin

41. Moonlight of the Magic Flute

42. A Good Night for Ghosts

43. Leprechaun in Late Winter

44. Ghost Tale for Christmas Time

45. A Crazy Day with Cobras

46. Dogs at the Dead of Night

47. Abe Lincoln at Last!

The Mandie Series

For those of you who have been sitting on pins and needles to figure out what my all-time favorite book series is, please listen for the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Today I’m going to introduce you to…(drumroll please) The Mandie Series by Lois Gladys Leppard!

This mystery series is set in the mountains of North Carolina in the early 1900’s and follows Mandie Shaw in her adventures. When Mandie’s dad died, it seemed like that was the end of the world to her. But her good Cherokee friend, Uncle Ned, helps Mandie escape from her stepmom, who treats her terribly. She sets out to find her Uncle John and discovers her real mother, who her father was previously married to.  My favorite character in the books is Celia, because when Mandie goes to finishing school, she doesn’t know anyone, but then a shy girl from Richmond, Virginia comes along, and she becomes Mandie’s best friend. I like how Celia is always there for Mandie whenever she goes on an adventure. I also like Snowball, Mandie’s cat, who was a gift to Mandie from her dad before he died. Snowball is also in every Mandie mystery and usually finds a lot of helpful clues. Go Snowball!

The reading level for this series is 8 and up. There are 40 books in the series, and I am going to list them all, because I love to type.  The books were out of print, but now some of the first ones are back in Christian book stores, because there have been a couple of movies made out of the first books. My favorite book is Mandie and the Fiery Rescue, which is set in Ireland, and it ends with Mandie rescuing a little girl from a burning building, and Mandie’s grandmother ends up adopting the girl as her own.

  1. Mandie and the Secret Tunnel
  2. Mandie and the Cherokee Legend
  3. Mandie and the Ghost Bandits
  4. Mandie and the Forbidden Attic
  5. Mandie and the Trunk’s Secret
  6. Mandie and the Medicine Man
  7. Mandie and the Charleston Phantom
  8. Mandie and the Abandoned Mine
  9. Mandie and the Hidden Treasure
  10. Mandie and the Mysterious Bells
  11. Mandie and the Holiday Surprise
  12. Mandie and the Washington Nightmare
  13. Mandie and the Midnight Journey
  14. Mandie and the Shipboard Mystery
  15. Mandie and the Foreign Spies
  16. Mandie and the Silent Catacombs
  17. Mandie and the Singing Chalet
  18. Mandie and the Jumping Juniper
  19. Mandie and the Mysterious Fisherman
  20. Mandie and the Windmill’s Message
  21. Mandie and the Fiery Rescue
  22. Mandie and the Angel’s Secret
  23. Mandie and the Dangerous Imposters
  24. Mandie and the Invisible Troublemaker
  25. Mandie and her Missing Kin
  26. Mandie and the Schoolhouse Secret
  27. Mandie and the Courtroom Battle
  28. Mandie and Jonathan’s Predicament
  29. Mandie and the Unwanted Gift
  30. Mandie and the Long Good Bye
  31. Mandie and the Buried Stranger
  32. Mandie and the Seaside Rendezvous
  33. Mandie and the Dark Alley
  34. Mandie and the Tornado!
  35. Mandie and the Quilt Mystery
  36. Mandie and the New York Secret
  37. Mandie and the Night Thief
  38. Mandie and the Hidden Past
  39. Mandie and the Missing Schoolmarm
  40. Mandie and the Graduation Mystery