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“Alexander Made-of-Felt”: An Affectionate Parody

lin-manuel miranda as hamilton in felt

Alexander Hamilton got a lot farther by working a lot harder, and wrote like he was running out of time. Lin-Manuel Miranda turned the world of theater upside down. And recently, Jack and Holman Wang, creators of the Cozy Classics series, paid tribute to Miranda’s final performance as Hamilton with a tiny but impressive achievement […]

Historical crossroads

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Scratch the surface of history and you’ll sometimes find the stories behind the stories of accepted record. The following works of nonfiction encourage teens to critically examine the narrative that is history. In Presenting Buffalo Bill: The Man Who Invented the Wild West, Candace Fleming sets her sights on two connected myths of American history: […]

Review of Sabotage: The Mission to Destroy Hitler’s Atomic Bomb

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Sabotage: The Mission to Destroy 
Hitler’s Atomic Bomb by Neal Bascomb Middle School, High School    Levine/Scholastic    
306 pp. 6/16    978-0-545-73243-7    $17.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-545-73533-9    $17.99 In this young readers’ edition of The Winter Fortress, Bascomb (The Nazi Hunters, rev. 9/13) turns his attention to a single, crucial Allied operation of WWII: the disruption of […]

Review of We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler

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We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler by Russell Freedman Intermediate, Middle School    Clarion    104 pp. 5/16    978-0-544-22379-0    $17.99 Freedman’s latest photohistory is an excellent overview of the White Rose resistance movement, a group of university students who, beginning in June 1942 in Munich, Germany, risked their […]

War and peace

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Anderson, M. T.  Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad Middle school, high school     424 pp.     Candlewick This ambitious work encompasses the life of composer Shostakovich, the early political history of the U.S.S.R., and the nation’s suffering during WWII. Initially inspired by the Bolshevik Revolution, Shostakovich’s music changed […]

Empire Run app review

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The setup of Empire Run (Planet H/Red Games, 2014) is similar to another Planet H/Red Games app, Frontier Heroes (and with the same caveat about some arguably stereotypical images; see details below) several sections, themed by historical time period, each contain a few games; each game has a number of different levels which allow the […]

Review of Courage & Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and 
Survivors in World War II Denmark

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Courage & Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and 
Survivors in World War II Denmark by Deborah Hopkinson Middle School   Scholastic   339 pp. 9/15   978-0-545-59220-8     $17.99   g e-book ed. 978-0-545-59222-2   $17.99 When Germany invaded Denmark in April 1940, the Nazis believed their small neighbor to the north would be a pushover. The Germans were partially right: […]

Review of Symphony for the 
City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and 
the Siege of Leningrad

anderson_symphony for the city of the dead

Symphony for the 
City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and 
the Siege of Leningrad by M. T. Anderson High School   Candlewick   424 pp. 9/15   978-0-7636-6818-1   $24.99   g Accomplished novelist Anderson presents an ambitious work of nonfiction encompassing the life of composer Dmitri Shostakovich, the early political history of the U.S.S.R., and the nation’s horrific suffering […]

Stories behind the stories

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Bird, Betsy, Danielson, Julie and Sieruta, Peter D. Wild Things!: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature Middle school, high school    277 pp.     Candlewick     2014 Sieruta, a Horn Book mainstay before his unexpected death in 2012, is joined by Bird and Danielson for a lively historical survey of scandals and secrets from the children’s-book biz. Sandwiched […]

Review of Stonewall

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 Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights by Ann Bausum Middle School, High School     Viking     120 pp. 5/15     978-0-670-01679-2     $16.99 Bausum begins her history of the gay rights movement with a careful, detailed exposition of the June 1969 Stonewall riots, laying out the events leading up to the clash between the […]