World War II books: people can’t stop writing them, I can’t stop reading them. This one, however, fictionalizes a somewhat less well-known aspect of the Holocaust: the 1939 journey of 937 primarily Jewish refugees to Cuba aboard the St. Louis. Hannah Rosenthal is an eleven-year-old member of this voyage promised refuge in Cuba, and one of the very few who were not turned away at the last moment. Told from her perspective, combined with the voice years later of her niece, Anna Rosen, who has come to Cuba to learn about her father’s family, The German Girl is a compelling and sobering account of a little-known journey.
Have you been reading the same old bathroom book? Strange History is the perfect, entertaining read with funny anecdotes and facts from history. A great read for kids too, even as young as middle grades, since the stories are short – sometimes just a paragraph. Much like a Guinness Book of World Records, Strange History is super entertaining. It would be a fun gift for a hubby, gag gift or friend.
We all know the legend of Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Show – but do we know what shaped and drove the man to be the charismatic, fearless entertainer that he was? Andrea Warren explores the sometimes sad, always challenging life that formed the man Billy Cody became. From the death of his older brother, to becoming the man of the house as early as 11. A fascinating read for an adult – and if you can get your teenager to read it too, even better.
I loved the premise of this book – that amazing athletes who children idolize are real people too. As a parent, especially as my son is succeeding and failing at different activities, it’s a great perspective for him to have: That professional athletes are people who have won and lost throughout life. For my fourth-grader who is a Denver Broncos fan, he loved reading about Peyton Manning dancing the tango in front of his middle school. Other athletes included were Jackie Robinson, Yao Mind, Lionel Messi, Gabby Douglas, Tiger Woods and Danica Patrick. This is a fabulous read for middle grade kids who have an interest in sports – and covers a variety of sports, backgrounds and diversity with short stories and illustrations that make this especially good for middle grade readers.
With their father away at war, staid narrator Isobel Ransom, her precocious little sister Sylvie, and their mysterious and high-mannered mother head to Hollywood to while away the summer at Aunt Buzzy’s, and that’s just the start of the entertaining array of characters that populate J.B. Cheaney’s Young Adult novel. The girls are quickly drawn into the wild-west world of new Hollywood by their cousin Ranger Bell, a young aspiring filmmaker, with heartwarming and entertaining results. Though written for a younger audience, this little charmer has all of the good stuff: the power of framing a story, coming of age, and characters who leap off the page.