|Poor Guy Fawkes|
Question: What event is celebrated in Great Britain on November 5th?
Answer: The discovery of a plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605.
If you got that right, you're probably either British or a history whiz. Yup, November 5th (tomorrow) is celebrated in my homeland as the day when Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators were foiled. Fawkes was executed and for centuries now we've been whooping it up with bonfires, effigies, and fireworks.
Ain't history grand? (Mr. Henry Ford didn't think so; hence the title of this post. He thought history was more or less bunk--one of the only quotations I remember from my history classes. Good capitalist that he was, he thought everyone should live in the present.)
Which is a roundabout way of introducing what this post is really about: the wealth of historical fiction in middle grade. In my reading as a Cybils judge this year, I've read novels which take place in Ancient Rome (Most Wanted), 1880s Texas (Crosswire), The South African Boer War (Stones For My Father), and California in the 1940s (Sylvia and Aki).
But don't just take my word for it. I've asked (okay, begged) a few of my blogging buddies to add to my collection of historical titles.If you have a moment, pay a visit to these great bloggers and their blogs. (I met most of them through Marvelous Middle Grade Monday.)
First off, Natalie Aguirre of Literary Rambles: Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis. "He really did a good job nailing Bud's voice. And I loved that it was set in Michigan--Flint and Grand Rapids--since I live in Michigan. It was in the depression and I really enjoyed Bud's journey looking for who he thought was his dad."
Robyn Campbell @ Putting Pen to Paper, Fever 1793: "This story grips me every time I read it. The weight of Laurie's descriptions makes me want to grab my germ-x to kill the yellow fever bacteria. The most striking aspect is watching how even family members abandon their loved ones at the first sign of the fever, going so far as to lock their doors to anyone at the mercy of this dreaded disease. Mattie isn't like that. She is super courageous. During the height of the epidemic she and others bring food to the sick and even go as far as to change their beds. From the swarming mosquitoes to yellow eyes Fever 1793 captivates you the entire time immersing you into Mattie's world. This book should be in everyone's TBR pile."
Joanne Fritz @ My Brain On Books: Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool. What's unusual about this book is the two very different storylines taking place in the same small town in Kansas, one in 1918 during World War I and one in 1936 during the Depression. The way the stories converge near the end will leave you in tears. This isn't just a story about a 12-year-old girl named Abilene Tucker. It's the story of an entire town and its people, people from many different ethnic backgrounds who learn to work together to avert a crisis. Why did I love it so much? As I said in my blog post about it from 2010 Moon Over Manifest is one of those rare novels that you want to start reading all over again the minute you finish it.
Barbara Ann Watson, Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson: I love it because it shows in a new way that the Revolutionary War was fought for the freedom of some but not all.
Brooke Favero @ Somewhere in the Middle Sounder by William H. Armstrong: "Sounder was my fave historical MG as a kid and the first book to make me cry (actual tears).
What a great bunch of historicals for a middle grade reader to sink his/her teeth into. Now it's your turn:
Come on, Project Mayhemites: What are your favorite historical MG novels, past or present?