Tag Archives: History

Bandoola: The Great Elephant Rescue

Bandoola

The colored pencil drawings are stunningly beautiful in this incredible true story about war veteran James Howard Williams; Bandoola, a working elephant; and Po Toke, the elephant’s keeper. They work together on a teak plantation in Myanmar (Burma), a country in Southeast Asia that was a colony of the British Empire. When World War II forces them to evacuate their home in the jungle, they lead a group of over 200 refugees and over 50 elephants across mountainous terrain to safety in Assam, India. A table of contents, a map, a wonderfully illustrated glossary, suggestions for further reading, and an author’s note add to this highly educational masterpiece. mjw

Title: Bandoola: The Great Elephant Rescue
Author: William Grill
Illustrator
: William Grill
Publisher
: Flying Eye Books, an imprint of Nobrow Ltd. London
Copyright
: 2021
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-83874-123-8
Hardcover pages
: 88
Age range
: 8-14
Genre
: Picture Book, Information Book, Nonfiction
Book setting
: Myanmar and India
Author’s ethnicity
: English
Author’s residence
: London
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: English
Illustrator’s residence
: London
Awards
: Author /Illustrator has won the 2015 Kate Greenaway Medal
Subjects
: Asian history, Burma, Deforestation, Elephants, Green living, Jungle, Logging industry, Monsoons, Mountains, Rainforests, Timber, Timber elephants, World War II

Last Witnesses (Adapted for Young Adults)

Last witnesses

A very helpful Historical Context sets the scene for 65 short personal narratives told by those who were Russian children during World War II and survived terrifying war-time experiences. Nobel Prize-winning Svetlana Alexievich discloses the traumatic memories of children who were separated from their parents, most of them never to be reunited. This is the young adult adaptation of her masterpiece, Last Witness: An Oral History of the Children of WWII. The Russian perspective stories are fascinating as they portray terror, survival, and hope. The book also features a useful glossary. mjw

Title: Last Witnesses (Adapted for Young Adults)
Author: Svetlana Alexievich
Publisher
: Penguin Random House LLC
Copyright
: 2021
Original Language
: Russian
Translator
: Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky
Original Title
: Last Witnesses: An Oral History Of The Children Of WWII
Original Publisher
: Molodaya Gvardiya, Moscow
Original Copyright
: 1985
ISBN
: 978-0-593-30853-0
Hardcover pages
: 288
Age range
: 12-17
Genre
: Information book, Nonfiction, Oral history
Book setting
: Russia
Author’s ethnicity
: Ukrainian
Author’s residence
: Soviet Union, Belarus, Western Europe
Awards
: Author has won the 2015 Nobel Prize for Literature. 2022 NCSS Notable Books
Subjects
: Childhood, Death, Historical biographies, Hope, Military history, Oral history, Resilience, Survival, Terror, WWII, Young adult

189 Canaries

189 CanariesYellow canaries sing melodies to the silver miners in the Harz Mountains in Germany. Today, a bird dealer has come to put the canaries into individual wooden cages and take them on a voyage by train and then by steamship across the Atlantic Ocean to bustling New York City. Beautiful mixed media illustrations enhance this fascinating story about the little-known history of the canaries and their lovely melodies. Back matter includes notes on the history of canaries and the ways they were used and transported by humans in the 1800s. In the year 1882 alone, 120,000 canaries were shipped to New York City. A map of their journey is featured on the book’s endpapers. mjw
Title: 189 Canaries
Author: Dieter Boge
Illustrator
: Elsa Klever
Publisher
: Eerdmans Book for Young Readers. Grand Rapids, Michigan
Copyright
: 2021
Original Language
: German
Translator
: Laura Watkinson
Original Title
: 189
Original Publisher
: Aladin Verlag, an imprint of Thienemann-Esslinger. Stuttgart
Original Copyright
: 2020
ISBN
: 978-0-8028-5574-9
Hardcover pages
: 48
Age range
: 6-10
Genre
: Picture Book
Book setting
: Germany and United States
Author’s ethnicity
: German
Author’s residence
: Germany
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: German
Illustrator’s residence
: Germany
Awards
: 2022 USBBY Outstanding International Books List. Author has won the German Youth Literature Prize and has been included in the White Ravens Catalog
Subjects
: Birds, Canaries, Harz Mountains, Home, Miners, Voyages

A Kind Of Spark

A Kind of SparkEleven-year-old Addie is autistic, headstrong, and smart. She thinks differently from the people around her. She is on a campaign to have a plaque erected in her Scottish hometown in memory of the victims of the witch trials which happened there hundreds of years ago. She understands what it is like to be treated as an outcast for being different. The author is neurodivergent, too, and she insightfully tells about what it is like to be an autistic girl. She believably portrays Addie’s struggles and her beautiful friendship with a girl who is understanding and supportive. mjw
Title: A Kind Of Spark
Author: Elle McNicoll
Publisher
: Crown Books for Young Readers
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-0-593-37425-2
Hardcover pages
: 192
Age range
: 8-12
Genre
: Fiction, Novel
Book setting
: Scotland
Author’s ethnicity
: Scottish
Author’s residence
: London
Awards
: 2022 ALA Schneider Family Book Award – Middle Grade Honor
Subjects
: Autism, Bullies, Disabilities, Neurodivergency, Sharks, Teachers, Witch trials

Red Stars: The Case Of Viktor And Nadya’s Notebooks

Red Stars- The Case...

Diary entries, maps, drawings, and historical photos tell this story of Viktor and Nadya, twelve-year-old twins who were evacuated from Leningrad when Hitler declared war on the Soviet Union. They were separated when they were put on trains that were meant to take them to safety. The story is told in three voices, alternating between Viktor (printed in red), Nadya (printed in dark blue), and an offstage voice of a Soviet Secret Police officer. His handwritten comments are written in the margins. Viktor’s train makes it to Moscow, where he is expected to do hard labor on a kolkhoz (farm). It is rumored that Nadya’s train was bombed with no survivors. Viktor doesn’t believe this and sets off through cold and harsh conditions to find Nadya. They eventually find each other and unravel a mystery of treason and betrayal at the highest level of Soviet leadership. mjw

Title: Red Stars: The Case Of Viktor And Nadya’s Notebooks
Author: Davide Morosinotto
Illustrator
: Simone Tso
Publisher
: Delacorte Press
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: Italian
Translator
: Denise Muir
Original Title
:  La Stolgorante luce di due stelle rosse
Original Publisher
: Mondadori, Milan
Original Copyright
: 2017
ISBN
: 978-1-9848-9332-1
Hardcover pages
: 432
Age range
: 10-12
Genre
: Historical Fiction
Book setting
: Soviet Union
Author’s ethnicity
: Italian
Author’s residence
: Italy
Subjects
: European historical fiction, Evacuation, Germany, Hitler, Leningrad, MIlitary fictioon, Siblings, Trains, World War II

Christmas Is Coming: Traditions From Around The World

Christmas Is ComingAn international collection of legends, histories, traditions, and celebrations from around the world is included in this beautifully illustrated and detailed book. Thirty-nine brief sections take readers from Greece to Ethiopia, explaining many diverse perspectives. The book is organized by topics listed in the table of contents. Intriguing stories include Why do we decorate Christmas trees?, Why are there so many Christmas markets in Germany?, How the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree originated?, and much more. A glossary lists the words for Merry Christmas and Santa Claus in many different languages. mjw
Title: Christmas Is Coming: Traditions From Around The World
Author: Monika Utnik Strugala
Illustrator
: Ewa Poklewska Kozietto
Publisher
: NorthSouth Books, New York
Copyright
: 2021
Original Language
: Polish
Translator
: Antonia Lloud-Jones
Original Title
: Ida swieta!
Original Publisher
: NordSud Verlag AG, Zurich
Original Copyright
: 2019
ISBN
: 978-0-7358-4443-8
Hardcover pages
: 136
Age range
: 7 up
Genre
: Information Book, Nonfiction
Author’s ethnicity
: Polish
Author’s residence
: Italy
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Polish
Illustrator’s residence
: Poland
Subjects
:  Celebrations, Christmas, Customs, Traditions

Ninos: Poems For The Lost Children Of Chile

On September 11, 1973, a military coup in Chile led to a 17-year dictatorship. An Introduction to the book explains that 3197 people were killed and 34 were children under the age of 14. Thirty-four poems provide an homage to these children. The titles of the poems are the names of the children who were killed during General Pinochet’s regime. Four-year-old Soledad liked the sound of raindrops. Elizabeth wanted to be a teacher. Raul liked his mother calling him “little bird.” Many of the poems are about the natural world. This beautiful, heartfelt collection of poems is a touching memorial to the lost children of Chile. Backmatter includes every child’s full name and age. The soft, pastel-toned illustrations were created with watercolor, graphite pencil, charcoal, and colored pencils. mjw
Title: Ninos: Poems For The Lost Children Of Chile
Author: Maria Jose Ferrada
Illustrator
: Maria Elena Valdez
Publisher
: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.
Copyright
: 2021
Original Language
: Spanish
Translator
: Lawrnece Schimel
Original Title
: Ninos
Original Publisher
: Alboroto ediciones, Mexico
Original Copyright
: 2019
ISBN
: 978-0-8028-5567-1
Hardcover pages
: 76
Age range
: 7 up
Genre
: Picture Book, Poetry
Book setting
: Chile
Author’s ethnicity
: Chilean
Author’s residence
: Chile
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Studied art in Caracas, Venezuela
Illustrator’s residence
: Barcelona, Spain
Subjects
: Democracy, Dictatorships, Nattural world, Poetry, Political violence

The Story Of Bodri

The Story of BodriHedi and her friend Marika spend their days playing in the park with Hedi’s dog Bodri. Hedi is Jewish and Marika is Christian, but that doesn’t stop them from being friends. All is well until Adolf Hitler ’s frightening voice is heard on the radio saying that he hates Jews. His soldiers come and round up Hedi’s family and all the other Jews and put them onto a train for the camps. Bodri is left behind. Hedi dreams of Bodri for the many months that she and her sister are separated from Bodri and their parents. They are cold and hungry in the camp. Their heads are shaved and they have to wear dirty uniforms and hard shoes. The sisters survive and they are reunited with Bodri. Carefully chosen language tells this difficult story. The author, who was born in 1924, is a Holocaust survivor who experienced the horrors of Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, and several work camps. The illustrations, which were created with watercolor, ink, and digital media, evoke the time and place perfectly. mjw
Title: The Story Of Bodri
Author: Hedi Fried
Illustrator
: Stina Wirsen
Publisher
: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. Grand Rapids, Michigan
Copyright
: 2021
Original Language
: Swedish
Translator
: Linda Schenck
Original Title
: Historien om Bodri
Original Publisher
: Natur & Kultur. Stockholm, Sweden
Original Copyright
: 2019
ISBN
: 978-0-8028-5565-7
Hardcover pages
: 32
Age range
: 6-10
Genre
: Picture Book. Historical Fiction
Author’s ethnicity
: Swedish-Hungarian
Author’s residence
: Stockholm, Sweden
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Swedish
Illustrator’s residence
: Stockholm, Sweden
Awards: 2022 USBBY Outstanding International Books List
Subjects
: Concentration camps, Dogs, Germany, Adolf Hitler, Holocaust, Jews

Beyond Me

This novel-in-verse examines the aftershocks of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan and damaged a nuclear power plant in March, 2011, through the eyes of eleven-year-old Maya.  Maya and her family were lucky. They didn’t lose their Tokyo home or the lives of family members, but Maya is still terrified. She feels helpless and hopeless. What can she do to help? She chronicles the 24 days after the quake, sometimes minute by minute. Maya and her friend Yuka fold paper cranes and ask for sunflower seeds to plant. She continues writing her journal for 113 days with interesting formatting and timelines. An author’s note tells more about the Great Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11, 2011. mjw

Title: Beyond Me
Author: Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu
Publisher
: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-48143-789-9
Hardcover pages
: 304
Age range
: 8-12
Genre
: Fiction, Verse
Book setting
: Japan
Author’s ethnicity
: U.S.
Author’s residence
: Tokyo, Japan
Subjects
: Earthquakes, Family life, Japan, Novels in verse, Paper cranes, Sunflowers, Survival, Tsunamis

The World’s Poorest President Speaks Out

This unusual picture book is based on Uruguay President Jose Mujica’s 2012 speech to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. He asks the world to question the dogma of consumption that has forced us into environmental and economic crisis. Mujica is known as “the world’s poorest president” because, as Uruguay’s 40th President, he donated 90% of his salary to charity. He was a simple and much-loved leader. In his speech he asks us to appreciate the beauty of nature and life itself and to care for our world. Bold digitally-created illustrations complement the powerful and thought-provoking text from the beginning of the speech where his audience looks bored to the final words where he has earned a standing ovation. mjw
Title: The World’s Poorest President Speaks Out
Author: Jose Mujica
Editor:  Yoshimi Kusaba
Illustrator
: Gaku Nakagawa
Publisher
: Enchanted Lion Books. New York
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: Japanese
Translator
: Andrew Wong
Original Title
: Sek ai De Ichiban Mazushi Daitoryo No Supichi
Original Publisher
: Choubunsha Publishing Co., Ltd. Tokyo
Original Copyright
: 2014
ISBN
: 978-1-59270-289-3
Hardcover pages
: 40
Age range
: 4-8
Genre
: Picture Book
Book setting
: Uruguay
Author’s ethnicity
: Uruguayan
Author’s residence
: Uruguayan
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Japanese
Illustrator’s residence
: Japan
Subjects
: Biographies, Homelessness, Poverty. Presidents, South America, Speeches

Amrita Sher-gil: Rebel With A Paintbrush

This beautiful, well-researched book tells the story of modern Indian artist Amrita Sher-Gil’s short, but fascinating life. She was born in Hungary in 1913. Her mother was a Hungarian pianist and her father was an Indian Sikh. Amrita was raised in Hungary and trained in France. She was inspired by writers, musicians, artists, and the time she lived – world wars, the Indian freedom movement, and major changes in the art world. The set-up of the book is amazing. The text that tells Amrita’s story is woven around pictures and boxes of information. Political events and artistic movements that shaped her life are found in other boxes. Real photographs, sometimes taken by her father, are included in the margins, and reproductions of Amrita’s gorgeous paintings are also spread throughout the book. Back matter provides a section called Why Was Amritas’s Art Important? and another section of interesting references. mjw
Title: Amrita Sher-gil: Rebel With A Paintbrush
Author: Anita Vachharajani
Illustrator
: Kalyani Ganapathy
Publisher
: Harper Collins Children’s Books
Copyright
: 2018
Original Publisher:
Harper Collins Children’s Books. India
Original Copyright
: 2018
ISBN
: 978-93-5277-473-9
Hardcover pages
: 184
Age range
: 10 up
Genre
: Information book, Biography, Nonfiction
Book setting
: Hungary, India, France, Pakistan
Author’s ethnicity
: Indian
Author’s residence
: Mumbai
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Indian
Illustrator’s residence
: Nilgiris
Awards
: 2020 USBBY Honor List
Subjects
: Art Biography, India, Indian freedom, Hungary, Painting

Catherine’s War

This teen Jewish French girl’s historical graphic novel is inspired by a true survival story. Rachel Cohen, whose passion is photography, lives at the Sevres Children’s Home outside Paris. As Hitler’s war escalates, she must go into hiding. She has to leave her friends, but she takes her camera as she is forced to move from location to location. The ink and watercolor illustrations capture beautifully the detail of the French setting. A map of Catherine’s journey through France is included, as well as photographs of the real Catherine, and an interview with the author. mjw
Title: Catherine’s War
Author: Julia Billet
Illustrator
: Claire Fauvel
Publisher
: Harper Alley, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: French
Translator
: Ivanka Hahnenberger
Original Title
: La Guerre de Catherine
Original Publisher
: Rue de Sevres, Paris
Original Copyright
: 2017
ISBN
: 978-0-06-291559-7
Paperback pages
: 176
Age range
: 8-12
Genre
: Historical Fiction, Graphic Novel
Book setting
: France
Author’s ethnicity
: French
Author’s residence
: France
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: French
Illustrator’s residence
: France
Awards
: 2021 ALA Batchelder Honor Award
Subjects
: Cameras, Coming of age, Holocaust, Nazis, Paris, Photographs, World War II