Monthly Archives: July 2013
National Humanites Center Toolbox Library: A collection of lesson plans incorporating primary resources in US History and Literature.
Teaching with Historic Places: The National Park Service has created a fabulous state-by-state collection of lesson plans using historic sites to teach history. Have a historic site in your hometown you’d like to use for a class project? This site also has step-by-step guides for developing lesson plans around historic places. A great way to help organize field trips!
American Antiquarian Society: Located in Worcester, MA, the AAS has extensive collections of American publications and manuscript materials through 1876. Online catalog available.
Shelf life by Suzanne Strempek Shea
Sundays in America by Suzanne Strempek Shea
My Outcast Heart by Anna C. Bowling
Soul Catcher by Michael C. White
The Garden of Martyrs by Michael C. White
Don’t I Know You? by Karen Shepard
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
Blackberry Wine by Joanne Harris
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
Sea Glass by Anita Shreve
Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
Ahab’s Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund
1776 by David McCullough
Naked in Death by J. D. Robb
Gibbon’s Rise and Fall by Sherri Tepper
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Truth by Jacqueline Sheehan
Always Outnumbered Always Outgunned by Walter Moseley
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
Brick Lane by Monica Ali
Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier
Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell
Killing Time by Caleb Carr
Fast Women by Jennifer Crusie
Smoke Jumper by Nicholas Evans
The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber
West with the Night by Beryl Markham
Revere in Those Days by Roland Merullo
The Mummy by Anne Rice
The Snake Fence by Janet Oleshewsky: In pre-Revolutionary Pennsylvania young Noble Butler, a farm boy, encounters ideas about the rights of settlers and of Indians that challenge his Quaker values
La Petite Four by Regina Scott: Lady Emily Southwell and her three dearest friends plan to take London by storm until they run afoul of a dashing young lord who may have more up his sleeve than a nicely muscled arm.
Let the Hurricane Roar by Rose Wilder Lane: After getting married and settling at Wild Plum Creek, Charles’s and Molly’s lives are turned upside down when disaster strikes and David must go east to find work for the winter.
The Lucky Place by Zu Vincent: In the 1970s, a girl comes of age struggling with the loss of two father figures in her life.
Shift by Jennifer Bradbury: Best friends go on a cross-country bike trip, but only one returns.
The Sister of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares: Four girls and a magical pair of jeans.
Read My Lips by Teri Brown: Serena is a a deaf skater chick who uses her amazing lip-reading ability to infiltrate the popular crowd, take down a secret sorority and tame the school rebel.
Jump the Cracks by Stacy DeKeyser: On the way to visit her father in New York City, fifteen-year-old Victoria finds an apparently abused child in the train’s bathroom and soon finds herself branded a kidnapper and on the run while trying to fulfill her promise to protect the boy at all costs
Braless in Wonderland by Debbie Reed Fischer: Allee Rosen falls down the rabbit hole and lands in the fab lane when she gets snapped up by modeling agents and whisked away to glamorous South Beach. Will the model life go to her head?
1,000 Reasons Never to Kiss a Boy by Martha Freeman: After her first boyfriend cheats on her, sixteen-year-old Jane vows to never kiss another boy.
The Possibilities of Sainthood by Donna Freitas: To Antonia Lucia Labella, saints are like Catholic royalty and she wants her day as princess (and maybe a kiss from that cute boy down the street, too)–if only the Pope would just respond to her letters!
The Opposite of Invisible by Liz Gallagher: A Seattle teenager wrestles with the difference between a crush and love, and love and best friendship.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon: Despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, Christopher, a mathematically-gifted, autistic, fifteen-year-old boy, decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor’s dog and uncovers secret information about his mother.
The Secret Thief by Judith Jaeger: Connie Grey’s life has always been a balancing act between perfection and secret rebellion. Being the obedient and devoted daughter to her overbearing mother, a straight-A student and champion distance runner has taken its toll on her by way of a chronic ulcer and kleptomania. Newly graduated from college, Connie longs for a future she can claim as her own, one that holds a sense of normalcy and love.
Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend by Carrie Jones: Belle, a high school junior, expects to marry her long-term boyfriend one day until he tells her and their entire small Maine town that he is gay, and both face prejudice and violence even as they enter new relationships and try to remain friends. (A Class of 2k7 book!)
What I Meant… by Marie Lamba: Having to share her home with her demanding and devious aunt from India makes it all the more difficult for fifteen-year-old Sang to deal with such things as her parents thinking she is too young to date, getting less than perfect grades, and being shut out by her long-time best friend.
Over My Head by Marie Lamba: Sang Jumnal jumps into the summer before her senior year with big plans. But she didn’t plan on facing her fear of swimming through a series of humiliating kiddy lessons. Or falling hard for college-aged lifeguard Cameron Cerulli, who is either the guy of her dreams, or a player out to stomp on her heart. Or fighting with her dad, who bans her from seeing Cameron. Or discovering a huge secret her parents have been keeping about disappearing money and a rare disease.
I Heart You, You Heart Me by Lisa Schroeder: A novel in verse about love and grief in which a fifteen-year-old girl’s boyfriend, who is dead but not gone, is keeping her from moving on.
Undone by Brooke Taylor: A troubled teen fulfills the five enigmatic last wishes of her daring best friend only to discover the dark secrets of a shared past that she never knew.
Fantasy, Paranormal, and Speculative Fiction
Lost in Thought by Cara Bertrand: Lainey Young can touch an object or a person and have a vision of how a person has died…or will die. When she enrolls at Northbrook Academy, she discovers she’s one of the Sententia–people with extrasensory abilities. Will her talent prove a blessing or a curse?
A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth Bunce: In this retelling of “Rumpelstiltskin,” the miller’s daughter of the fairytale comes to life as a young woman determined to save her family and her mill–whatever the cost.
Sleepless by Terri Clark: Teen psychic, Trinity Michaels, is being stalked in her sleep by a killer; if she dies in her dreams she’ll die for real.
The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins: In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss’s skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister’s place.
Bewitching Season and Betraying Season by Marissa Doyle: A pair of twin witches and their adventures in Victorian-era England.
Captain Hook: The Adventures of a Notorious Youth by J.V. Hart: Describes the youthful adventures of J. M. Barrie’s classic character, Captain Hook, from his days at Eton to his voyages on the high sea.
Drawn by Marie Lamba: Michelle De Freccio moves to England seeking a normal life, but someone starts appearing in her sketches. Then he grabs her at the castle, his pale green eyes full of longing. She’s immediately drawn to him, but is Christopher Newman real? She’s either losing it, or channeling a hot ghost from the 1400′s.
Every Day by David Levithan: Every morning A wakes in a different person’s body, in a different person’s life, learning over the years to never get too attached, until A wakes up in the body of Justin and falls in love with Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon.
The Giver by Lois Lowry: Given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other in his community and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives.
Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry: Lame and suddenly orphaned, Kira is mysteriously removed from her squalid village to live in the palatial Council Edifice, where she is expected to use her gifts as a weaver to do the bidding of the all-powerful Guardians.
Paradox by A.J.Paquette: When Ana finds herself on a desolate alien planet with no memory of her past, she must survive and discover her mission: to save the Earth from a fearsome virus.
The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope: In 1558 while imprisoned at Elwenwood Hall, a remote castle in northern England, teenaged Kate Sutton finds herself involved in a series of mysterious events that eventually bring her to an underground labyrinth peopled by the last practitioners of druidic magic.
The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope: Newly orphaned Peggy Grahame is caught off-guard when she first arrives at her family’s ancestral estate. Her eccentric uncle Enos drives away her only new acquaintance, Pat, a handsome British scholar, then leaves Peggy to fend for herself. But she is not alone. The house is full of mysteries—and ghosts.
His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman: Accompanied by her daemon, Lyra Belacqua sets out to prevent her best friend and other kidnapped children from becoming the subject of gruesome experiments in the Far North.
(Note: Most book descriptions are from Library of Congress catalog.)
Wherein I seek a purpose for blogging…
“You must blog,” They say…that ever and all-powerful ubiquitous, anonymous They who see all and know all and say all. “A writer must blog to attract readers,” They say.
And yet, of what shall I blog, say I?
“Blog about your life,” They say. My life? Who’s interested in my life other than me? Come on now, if I were all that interesting, I wouldn’t be writing fiction, would I?
“Blog about writing,” They say. What, who, me? With two novels under my belt, I still feel as though I’m learning my craft. What pearls of wisdom do I have to offer besides, “Don’t do what I do”? And nobody, including me, wants to hear my whining about how I’m stuck on chapter 6, and can’t figure out how to get my characters out of the literary hell hole that I’ve put them in.
They begin to grow exasperated with me. “You’re just being difficult,” They say. “You know you must blog.”
I whimper pathetically. “But I don’t wanna blog. I don’t know how to blog. I have nothing to blog about.” I reach for the bag of Lindt dark chocolate truffles to console myself.
They throw Their hands up in exasperation. “Blog about something you know,” They say. “We always say, ‘Write what you know,’ don’t We?”
So They do.
“You know history, don’t you?” They say.
“Well, yes, kind of. But where to begin?”
“We always say, ‘Start at the beginning,’” They say, as, indeed, They always do.
“That’s not very helpful,” I say.
They say, “God helps those who help Themselves,” as They help Themselves to my chocolate. “What do you like about history?” They say, though with Their mouths full of truffles it sounds more like “Wha-oo-oo-li—stree?”
“I don’t know. It’s just wicked cool,” I say.
“What’s wicked cool?” They ask.
“I dunno. Just stuff. You know, stuff,” I say.
Stuff, I think…History stuff…Cool history stuff…Wicked cool history stuff.
“Eureka!” I say.
“We do not. We took a shower this morning,” They say.
Guess They don’t know everything after all.
Encounter at Easton (sequel to Night Journeys) by Avi: The doomed flight of two young indentured servants from their unkind master brings together an unlikely assortment of people in a Pennsylvania town.
Autumn Winifred Does Things Different by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb: Autumn Winifred Oliver, the feistiest girl in all of Appalachia, struggles against the formation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as it threatens the home that her family has farmed for generations.
The Boston Tea Party by Linda Crotta Brennan
When Rivers Burned: The Earth Day Story by Linda Crotta Brennan: An excellent and comprehensive account of the American environmental movement in the 1960s and 1970s–great information for readers young and old!
The American Family Album series by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler: Ten books (so far) spotlighting America’s African, Chinese, Cuban, German, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Jewish, Mexican, and Scandinavian immigrants.
The Plant Hunters: True Stories of Their Daring Adventures to the Far Corners of the Earth by Anita Silvey
The White House Is Burning by Jane Sutcliffe: During the War of 1812, British troops captured Washington, D.C. and burned the White House, Capitol Building, and other government buildings. Using contemporary eyewitness accounts, the author tells the story of this pivotal event in U.S. history from both the American and British points of view.
Playing Dad’s Song by D. Dina Friedman: While wrestling with memories of his father, who died when the Twin Towers fell on September 11, 2001, eleven-year-old Gus, born into a family of musicians, starts taking oboe lessons, begins to compose music, and joins his sister in auditioning for a school musical.
The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman: In the beginning there were 25,000 contestants; in the end, just five. Does Gil Goodson have what it takes to win The Gollywhopper Games?
Bringing the Boy Home by N.A. Nelson: Two young boys…an unforgiving jungle…one shared destiny.
Bridge to Teribithia by Katherine Paterson: The life of ten-year-old Jess in rural Virginia expands when he becomes friends with newcomer Leslie, and they create the imaginary land of Terabithia where they rule as king and queen, until a terrible tragedy occurs. Includes a reader’s guide with discussion questions.
My So-Called Family by Courtney Sheinmel: Leah Hoffman-Ross has a secret: she has a donor instead of a father, and now she’s going in search of her half-siblings . . . even if she has to hide it from everybody else.
Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head by Nancy Viau: Sam is a ten-year-old, rock-loving scientist who must learn to keep a lid on her explosive temper so she can go on a “dream-come-true” trip to the Grand Canyon.
A Horse of Her Own by Annie Wedekind: In one tumultuous and life-changing summer, fourteen-year-old Jane Ryan loses the horse she loves and is asked to help train a damaged, dangerous horse who used to be a champion.
Becoming Felix by Nancy Hope Wilson: Worried about the difficulties on his family’s Massachusetts dairy farm, twelve-year-old JJ is willing to give up on his dreams of becoming a great clarinet player and on his friendship with a new Jewish classmate who shares his love of music.
I So Don’t Do Mysteries (series) by Barrie Summy: Sherry, short for Sherlock, wants more mall time, less homework and a certain boy, but instead gets recruited by her mother’s ghost to prevent a rhino heist at San Diego’s Wild Animal Park.
Peter Pan by James M. Barrie: The adventures of Peter Pan, the boy who would not grow up.
Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (a prequel to Peter Pan): Soon after Peter, an orphan, sets sail from England on the ship Never Land, he befriends and assists Molly, a young Starcatcher, whose mission is to guard a trunk of magical stardust from a greedy pirate and the native inhabitants of a remote island.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum & W.W. Denslow: After a cyclone transports her to the land of Oz, Dorothy must seek out the great Wizard in order to return to Kansas.
Small Persons with Wings by Ellen Booraem: When Mellie Turpin’s grandfather dies and leaves her family his run-down inn and bar, she learns that for generations her family members have been fairy guardians, and now that the fairies want an important ring returned, the Turpins become involved in a series of magical adventures as they try to locate the missing ring.
The Unnameables by Ellen Booraem: A boy and a goatman defy the establishment in a fantasy about belonging, the dangers of forgetting history, the usefulness of art, and the importance of wind control.
The Neverending Story by Michael Ende: Shy, awkward Bastian is amazed to discover that he has become a character in the mysterious book he is reading and that he has an important mission to fulfill.
The Emerald Tablet by P.J. Hoover: Benjamin Holt’s discovery of a new world explains his extraordinary powers, but also presents him with a challenge which changes his purpose in life forever.
The Book of Story Beginnings by Kristin Kladstrup: After moving with her parents to Iowa, twelve-year-old Lucy discovers a mysterious notebook that can bring stories to life and which has a link to the 1914 disappearance of her great uncle.
Garden Princess by Kristin Kladstrup: When Princess Adela sets eyes on Lady Hortensia’s garden, she knows something is amiss. Every single flower is in bloom, and in the middle of October! Not only that, there is a talking magpie flitting about the garden and stealing the guests’ jewels. Is it possible that Hortensia is a witch and the magpie an enchanted prince? And what of the flowers themselves? Will Adela get to the root of the mystery and nip trouble in the bud before it’s too late?
Dragon Wishes by Stacy Nyikos: Dragon Wishes follows two girls across time on their quests for the greatest gift the last of the world’s ancient dragons protects in the ominous Damei Mountains.
The Magic Thief series by Sarah Prineas: A young thief is drawn into a life of magic and adventure after picking the pocket of the powerful wizard Nevery Flinglas, who has returned from exile to attempt to reverse the troubling decline of magic in Wellmet City.
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling: A boy becomes a wizard – need I say more?
Among the Dolls by William Sleator: Vicky is disappointed in her birthday gift of a dollhouse, but she experiences real terror when she is drawn into the house and the lives of its malicious inhabitants.
Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains by Laurel Snyder: A snarky milkmaid, clumsy prince, sniffly prairie dog, and feisty milkcow venture deep into the Bewilderness, where they learn the value of friendship, honesty, government, and lunch.
Dr. Ernest Drake’s Dragonology by Dugald Steer: Everything you need to know about dragons.
(Note: Book descriptions are from Library of Congress catalog.)