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 […]

Lives and times

kamkwamba_boy who harnessed the wind

The settings of these narrative nonfiction titles span decades and geography — from WWII Denmark to contemporary Malawi — but the issues they explore are incredibly timely. When heavy rains, then drought, devastated his country of Malawi and the corrupt government didn’t respond, young William Kamkwamba used his scientific ingenuity to help people in need. […]

At the museum

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Museums are great places to experience fun, learning, and often even hints of mystery. They spark the imagination and make us question things we have never considered before. As such, they make a great setting for stories that can inspire a love of museums, history, and art. Perhaps because the middle school years often include […]

Review of A Volcano Beneath the Snow: John Brown’s War Against Slavery

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A Volcano Beneath the Snow: John Brown’s War Against Slavery by Albert Marrin Middle School, High School    Knopf    234 pp. 4/14    978-0-307-98152-3    $19.99 Library ed.  978-0-307-98153-0    $22.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-385-75340-1    $10.99 According to the prologue, John Brown’s raid at Harpers Ferry helped “set the stage for the Civil War.” His violent actions raise an […]

Review of He Has Shot the President! April 14th, 1865: The Day John Wilkes Booth Killed President Lincoln

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He Has Shot the President! April 14, 1865: The Day John 
Wilkes Booth Killed President 
Lincoln [Actual Times] by Don Brown; illus. by the author Intermediate    Roaring Brook    64 pp. 4/14    978-1-59643-224-6    $17.99    g This fifth entry in Brown’s Actual Times series (including All Stations Distress, rev. 9/08) begins on April 14, 1865, the day […]

Review of Pure Grit: How American World War II 
Nurses Survived Battle and 
Prison Camp in the Pacific

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Pure Grit: How American World War II 
Nurses Survived Battle and 
Prison Camp in the Pacific by Mary Cronk Farrell Middle School, High School    Abrams    160 pp. 2/14    978-1-4197-1028-5    $24.95 There are many books written about young people enlisting in the military, being unprepared for the horrors of battle or tortures of capture, serving bravely, […]

Review of The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi

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The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi by Neal Bascomb Middle School, High School     Levine/Scholastic     240 pp. 9/13     978-0-545-43099-9     $16.99     g e-book ed. 978-0-545-56239-3     $16.99 Dismissing Hannah Arendt via footnote, Bascomb concisely establishes Adolf Eichmann as an enthusiastic and painstaking enforcer of Hitler’s Final […]