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Empire Run app review

empire run title

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 […]

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 […]

World War I Interactive app review

wwi interactive menu

World War I Interactive (2012) is part of Touchzing Media‘s interactive history app series (other entries cover the American Revolution, the Civil War, WWII, the Vietnam War, general American history, and the lives of Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Gandhi). Since my own WWI knowledge comes largely from Downton Abbey and Legends of the Fall, I […]

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

marrin_volcano beneath the snow

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 […]