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Historical Fiction, Animals and Classic Sequels Make Great Books

If you’re looking for an interesting chapter book geared for ages nine and up, I’ve listed some new outstanding historical fictions, books about relationships with animals and even a wonderful sequel to a classic story.

See Saw Girl, by Linda Sue Park, is an eye-opening historical fiction about a young nobility-born Korean girl in the 17th century. Her life is restricted to living behind the walls of her residence until her arranged marriage when she grows a little older.  At that point it’s then restricted to the confines of her husband’s house. Twelve-year-old Jade wants desperately to see the outside world and finds a rare opportunity when a ship near her village runs aground. The author expertly weaves this historical tale to keep the reader interested, while informed. There’s also historical background and a bibliography located in the back of the book.

Roland Wright:  Future Knight, by Tony Davis, and with illustrations sprinkled throughout by Gregory Rogers, is a delightful beginning chapter book and the first in a planned series featuring young Roland who desires to become a knight. The year is 1409 and he’s born into a life of his father’s livelihood, but he is able to overcome the odds with honesty, resilience, courage and perseverance, as well as some humorous attempts as he strives for knighthood. This delightful new series has winsome pen and ink drawings throughout

A Faraway Island, by Annika Thor, is a story of struggle, separation and ultimately overcoming difficult challenges. It’s 1939 and two Jewish sisters from Austria have been sent to Sweden as an asylum from the Nazis. Their parents are detained while obtaining visas and this detainment takes much longer than imagined so the story is about how the sisters manage life in a foreign country. The twelve-year-old sister has a very strict and cold foster parent while the younger sister finds life in Sweden much easier. The author’s note in the back is a must read.

Chancey of the Maury River, by Gigi Amateau, is a horse story about Chancey who has recently been moved to live at the Maury River Stables. Upon his arrival, he was bone thin, old and weary and in great need for someone to care and love him. When Claire finds him at the stables, she is also in great need for love as her parents are divorcing. This story is rich in the healing of hearts and souls through the love of an animal.

Wishing for Tomorrow:  The Sequel to A Little Princess, by Hilary McKay, and with illustrations sprinkled throughout by Nick Maland, continues where the original classic left off. It begins with a quick summary of the original story, but quickly sets the tone of the story to come. The events that happen when the heroine, Sara, leaves Miss Minchin’s Seminary and the remaining girls take on a completely invigorating and amazing new story, but containing the classic feel of the original story. This book is full of nuances, emotional content and breathtaking passages. It’s quite remarkable that a sequel to a book such as “A Little Princess” can be as great, but it truly is!  And the pictures help set the old fashioned ambiance.

The Fast and the Furriest, by Andy Behrens, is a hilarious story about twelve-year-old Kevin and his dog. Kevin’s football pro dad wants him to play football but Kevin would rather watch TV with his dog. But interesting and unique events are about to spur both dog and master into amazing feats that will confound even Kevin’s dad.

Julia Gillian (and the Dream of the Dog), by Alison McGhee, and with illustrations sprinkled throughout by Drazen Kozjan, is the third book in this wonderful series. Julia is in sixth grade and is experiencing the challenges of friendship, school and her beloved dog. Her tremendous support of family, friends and school help her through the hardest of times. You don’t need to read the previous two books to keep abreast of this delightful story. However, after reading this book, chances are you will want to read “Julia Gillian (and the Art of Knowing)” and “Julia Gillian (and the Quest for Joy)”.

My Brother Abe: Sally Lincoln’s Story, by Harry Mazer, is an enlightening story about Lincoln’s older sister and her relationship with Lincoln as they grew up. The facts that are portrayed through this moving story take place in both Kentucky and Indiana as the family moves from their farm to a much more isolated location. The author takes liberties with Abe’s sister as there is little known about her, but you learn much about his upbringing and family life in this interesting historical fiction.

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