History & Historical Fiction
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A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Meg Murry learns that her astrophysicist father Dr. Alex Murry has exceeded time and space, and is now being held captive on a distant planet. She, her young brother Charles, and classmate Calvin join three astral travelers on a mission to save him and the planet from the utmost evil. (from the list Books on the Big Screen, Winter-Spring 2018)
There are four other books in L'Engle's Time Quintet series:
"We have a gift, and we have a cake, and today we're going to drive all the way to the big city to see my new baby cousin on his zero-year birthday!"
So begins Margarita Engle's joyful picture book, All the Way to Havana. The narrator, a young boy who lives in Cuba, and his family are preparing to go see his new cousin in Havana. They take "Cara Cara," their 1954 blue Chevy that is supposed to purr like a kitten. But Cara Cara is so tired, she just chatters away like a baby chicken: "Pío, pío, pío, pío, pffft." The narrator's father fixes Cara Cara with each clunk clunk, something he does often to the old vintage vehicle.
It’s 1938. After the Night of Broken Glass, Oskar’s parents feel they must send him to America, so he can be safe. Traveling all alone, Oskar arrives in New York City on the seventh day of Hanukkah, which also happens to be Christmas Eve. He must walk a long way across the city to reach his Aunt Esther, hoping to reach her house before she lights the menorah at sunset.
Aunt Esther does not know he is coming, so he must navigate the cold streets by himself, over 100 blocks on the big street called Broadway. It is rather daunting for a small boy, but Oskar is comforted by his father’s last words to him: “Oskar, even in bad times, people can be good. You have to look for the blessings.”
In 1914, Constance Kopp and her sisters were in a horse-drawn cart that was hit by an automobile driven by the son of a wealthy factory owner. When he refuses to pay damages, Constance decides to … make him pay. His efforts to get Constance to stand down include harassment, intimidation, and very real threats of violence. But nothing he does will make Constance give up her quest for what she is rightfully owed.
Making bread from flour, yeast, water/milk and whatever else goes into your recipe is one of the most satisfying things a person of any age can learn, and there are so many good lessons for homeschooling, too. There’s measuring, of course, but there are a lot of little things that baking reinforces. Patience: it takes time for a loaf of bread to rise. An eye for detail: how do you know when the bread is mixed enough? When it's done? Sharing: whether you’re sharing an Amish or sourdough starter or a complete loaf of bread, sharing can be the best part of baking.
Even with all those good lessons, author Elizabeth Harbison and illustrator John Harbison go it one better by including a cheerful history of bread making in their book, Loaves of Fun: A History of Bread with Activities and Recipes from Around the World. You’ll learn how people across the world and across time have made their bread. They might use different kinds of flour. They might not even use yeast. But it’s all bread, made to be enjoyed—and shared.
With its simple, glowing pictures by Jill McElmurry reminiscent of folk art, Pat Zietlow Miller’s Sharing the Bread is a rhyming, picture-book distillation of the many good things about a shared Thanksgiving. All the family—aunt, uncle, mother, father, sister, brothers, grandmother, grandfather—help make the feast, and all the family enjoys sharing it.
When Batman was first written, one name was attached to his creation: Bob Kane. Bob's name appeared in every Batman comic, without any other creator noted. However, this is not true. Bill Finger, a Depression-era, New York resident, had a lot to do with it, too. In fact, according to Marc Tyler Nobleman's breakthrough biography Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman, Bill was responsible for the majority of the Batman persona we see today.
It's a bird . . . it's a plane . . . it's Siegel and Shuster!
During World War II, victory gardens were important to Americans around the country. The steel and tin industry was working hard on supplying the army with weapons, so there were not enough raw materials to make these and tin cans for vegetables. Trains were being used to carry soldiers instead of civilian food supplies. And, to make matters worse, Japan controlled most of the rubber factories overseas, which meant there was no rubber for new tires on trucks that carried food across the country.
In the 1860s, many people went west after the Civil War, looking for a fresh start and prosperity. Eleven-year-old Jane Deming really wants a new start, too. So, she is excited when a visionary—or is he a con man?—signs up her and her very young widowed stepmother to go on a voyage around South America to Seattle. There, young ladies and Civil War widows with families can marry the many bachelors who have gone on ahead, or in some other way contribute to the new city.
Beautiful, balmy Washington Territory, as described in Mr. Mercer’s “Reflections” pamphlet, is looking for people “with broad minds and sturdy constitutions,” and it sounds like paradise to Jane. A smart and determined girl, she had to give up her schooling to look after her baby brother Jer, while her widowed stepmother worked in a mill. A land full of possibilities sounded perfect to her.