Tag Archives: History

The Lady With The Books: A Story Inspired By The Remarkable Work Of Jella Lepman

This story was inspired by true events and is the fictionalized retelling of how Jella Lepman brought a collection of international books to Germany after WWII in 1946.Anneliese and Peter wander the ruined streets of Munich and discover a great hall filled with books and they meet the lady who set it up. Jella Lepman founded the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) and the International Youth Library. This book includes further information about Lepman and her work, and photos of her, the exhibition, and the library. The library in Munich today holds over 60,000 books in more than 130 different languages. The artwork in the book, mostly in blues and grays, was rendered in graphite pencil and colored digitally. mjw
Title: The Lady With The Books: A Story Inspired By The remarkable Work Of Jella Lepman
Author: Kathy Stinson
Illustrator
: Marie Lafrance
Publisher
: Kids Can Press. Toronto
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-525301544
Hardcover pages
: 32
Age range
: 4-7
Genre
: Picture Book, Historical Fiction
Book setting
: Germany
Author’s ethnicity
: Canadian
Author’s residence
: Ontario
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Canadian
Illustrator’s residence
: Montreal, Quebec
Subjects
: Books, European historical fiction, Girls and women, International children’s books, Libraries, Reading, World War II

Continue reading

Everest: The Remarkable Story Of Edmund Hilary And Tenzing Norgay

After a brief introduction, a section called Why Climb Everest? describes why Hillary and Tenzing’s achievement was so remarkable. Two very different, yet equally determined, men battled frost-biting temperatures, icefalls, snow, wind, and death-defying crevasses to climb to the top of the world’s highest mountain, Everest. The narrative is captivating and the digitally created, breathtaking illustrations are very detailed and loaded with fascinating information. A Table of Contents lists the four parts of the book: The Story of Two Very Different Childhoods, The Race for Everest, Hillary and Tenzing Climb Everest, and Their Stories Continue after Everest. The book is exciting and engaging. mjw
Title: Everest: The Remarkable Story Of Edmund Hilary And Tenzing Norgay
Author: Alexandra Stewart
Illustrator
: Joe Todd-Stanton
Publisher
: Bloomsbury Children’s Books. New York
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: English
Original Publisher
: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. Great Britain
Original Copyright
: 2019
ISBN
: 978-1-5476-0159-2
Hardcover pages
: 64
Age range
: 8-12
Genre
: Information book, Nonfiction, Picture book, Biography
Book setting
: New Zealand, Tibet, Nepal
Author’s ethnicity
: British
Author’s residence
: London
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: British
Illustrator’s residence
: England
Subjects
: Asian history, Mountain climbing, Sherpas, Yaks, Yetis

Brother’s Keeper

Twelve-year-old Sora and her family live in Communist North Korea in 1950. War is coming and they need to escape.  The family plans to walk the 300 miles from their village to the South Korean city of Busan.  There is a bombing and Sora and her eight-year-old brother Youngsoo are left to get there on their own. It’s winter, and they have to face enemy soldiers, starvation, frostbite, deprivation, and other hardships as they struggle to complete their journey.  This highly engrossing story is loosely based on the author’s mother’s experiences. An author’s note, photographs of the author’s family, a glossary of Korean words, a timeline of the Korean War, and a map of Sora’s journey are included. mjw
Title: Brother’s Keeper
Author: Julie Lee
Publisher
: Holiday House. New York
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-0823444946
Hardcover pages
: 320
Age range
: 8-12
Genre
: Historical Fiction
Book setting
: Korea
Author’s ethnicity
: Korean
Author’s residence
: U.S.
Subjects
: Asia, Communism, History, Korean War, Military action, North Korea, Refugees,  Siblings, South Korea, War zone, Winter

Hans Christian Andersen: The Journey Of His Life

Through a magical conversation with a young girl in a horse-drawn carriage, Hans Christian Andersen tells his life story. “The most wonderful fairytale is life itself.” He was a cobbler’s son who left his town in Denmark, with thirteen coins in his pocket, to go to Copenhagen to seek his fortune. He wanted to be an actor or a dancer, but things did not work out for him. What he really enjoyed was writing. A sheet of paper became his stage. He wrote poems, stories, fairytales, and plays. He traveled around the country meeting people who loved the theatre – people like himself. Hans goes on to tell the girl some of his stories, such as The Flying Trunk, Thumbelina, The Princess and the Pea, The Ugly Duckling, Clumsy Hans, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and The Snow Queen. The sumptuous illustrations use graphic novel elements to tell the story. In the illustrations, there are references to well-known authors of children’s books and some famous children’s book characters, like The Little Prince, Pinocchio, and more. An author’s note tells more about Hans Christian Andersen’s life. mjw
Title: Hans Christian Andersen: The Journey Of His Life
Author: Heinz Janisch
Illustrator
: Maja Kastelic
Publisher
: NorthSouth Books, Inc., New York
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: German
Translator
: David Henry Wilson
Original Title
: Hans Christian Andersen: Die Reise seines Lebens
Original Publisher
: NordSud Verlag AG> Zurich, Switzerland
Original Copyright
: 2020
ISBN
: 978-0-7358-4388-2
Hardcover pages
: 56
Age range
: 4-8
Genre
: Picture Book Biography
Book setting
: Denmark
Author’s ethnicity
: Austrian
Author’s residence
: Vienna
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Born in Slovenia
Awards
: White Ravens Award – Illustrator
Subjects
: Biography, Denmark, European history, Fairytales, Literary biography

When Spring Comes To The DMZ

The beautiful paintings in this book show the changing seasons and the variety of wildlife that live peacefully in the Demilitarized Zone of Korea. Readers can also see the ever-present fences and soldiers. Salmon swim bravely upstream and mountain goats jump after their mother.  Grandfather goes to the DMZ every season and dreams of flinging the gates wide open and walking inside and looking up into the blue sky. The book is part of the Peace Picture Book Project by illustrators from Korea, China, and Japan. A map of Korea and historical facts are included as back matter and the endpapers provide a world map. mjw
Title: When Spring Comes To The DMZ
Author: Uk-Bae Lee
Illustrator
: Uk-Bae Lee
Publisher
: Plough Publishing House. New York
Copyright
: 2019
Original Language
: Korean
Translator
: Aileen Won
Original Title
: Bimujang chidae e bom i omyon
Original Publisher
: Sakyejul Publishing Ltd. Paju, Korea
Original Copyright
: 2010
ISBN
: 978-0-87486-972-9
Hardcover pages
: 40
Age range
: 5-8
Genre
: Picture Book, Historical Fiction
Book setting
: Korea
Author’s ethnicity
: Korean
Author’s residence
: Korea
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Korean
Illustrator’s residence
: Korea
Awards
: 2020 ALA Mildred Batchelder Honor Award
Subjects
: Grandfathers, Korean Demilitarized Zone, Seasons, Soldiers

Child Of St. Kilda

Norman John Gilles was one of the last children born on St. Kilda, a group of islands with high cliffs off the Scottish coast.   People lived there for over four thousand years, thriving in one of the most inhospitable places on Earth. They survived on sea birds, eggs, and potatoes. There was no crime or need for money.  They had no automobiles.  They trusted and cared for each other. The community came to an abrupt end in 1930 when the remaining St. Kildans begged the British government to evacuate them to the mainland. No one knows what happened. Today, the islands have become a World Heritage Site, recognized for their unique wildlife and vanished culture. The book concludes with a St. Kilda Sketchbook that provides more information and a map.  The stunning images were created by hand using monoprinting techniques. mjw
Title: Child Of St. Kilda
Author: Beth Waters
Illustrator
: Beth Waters
Publisher
: Child’s Play. Auburn, Maine. USA
Copyright
: 2019
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-78628-188-3
Hardcover pages
: 64 
Age range
: 4-9
Genre
: Picture Book, Information Book, Nonfiction
Book setting
: Scotland
Author’s ethnicity
: English
Author’s residence
: Cambridge, U.K.
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: English
Illustrator’s residence
: Cambridge, U.K.
Subjects
: Birds, History, Immigration, Mystery, Storms, Survival

My Long List Of Impossible Things

Sixteen-year-old Katja, her eighteen-year-old sister Hilde, and their mother are forced out of their house in Germany when Soviet troops take over their village after WW II. German society has collapsed and there is much hardship and violence.  Their mother is killed and the two girls make a long and dangerous journey to another town on their own.  The story is told from the point of view of Katja and the German teenage post war perspective and is rarely examined in young adult fiction.  Katja questions so much about her country, but manages to make a new life for herself.  One thing that saves Katja is her love of the piano.  Interesting facts about famous composers are sprinkled throughout this brilliant novel. mjw
Title: My Long List Of Impossible Things
Author: Michelle Barker
Publisher
: Annick Press. Toronto
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-77321-364-4
Paperback pages
: 360
Age range
: 9 up
Genre
: Historical Fiction
Book setting
: Germany
Author’s ethnicity
: Canadian
Author’s residence
: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Subjects
: Music, Musicians, Nazism, Piano, Soviet occupation, Violence, World War II

A Grain Of Rice

Thirteen-year-old Yen and her family live in rural Vietnam. A flood destroys their village.  Famine and persecution because they are of Chinese ancestry lead the family to flee from their war-torn homeland after the fall of Saigon.  They become boat people and are eventually rescued by the Malaysian Coast Guard. There is a glossary of Vietnamese words. The story is based on events from the author’s childhood. mjw
Title: A Grain Of Rice
Author: Nhung N. Tran-Davies
Publisher
: Tradewind Books. Vancouver
Copyright
: 2018
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-926890-25-8
Paperback pages
: 154
Age range
: 12 up
Genre
: Historical Fiction
Book setting
: Vietnam
Author’s ethnicity
: Vietnamese
Author’s residence
: Edmonton, Alberta. Canada 
Subjects
: Famine Food, Persecution, Poverty, Prejudice, Refugees

Brave With Beauty: A Story Of Afghanistan

This beautiful book is the extraordinary story of Queen Goharshad, a 15thcentury monarch. She was an Afghani woman who was the wife of Sha Rikh.  Together they ruled over the empire of Khorasan that stretched from Turkey to China. Goharshad loved all things of beauty, including art, poetry, music, architecture, calligraphy, and the sciences. She “didn’t care a fig for war.” She was a strong woman whose mission was to bring beauty into the world. Goharshad was instrumental in the construction of a mosque, a university, and a library.  The book is filled with elaborate period illustrations and poems.  There is a guide with pronunciations of some of the words used in the story, an author’s note, and a guide for parents and educators.  A downloadable Activity Guide is included on the Yali Books website. mjw
Title: Brave With Beauty: A Story Of Afghanistan
Author: Maxine Rose Schur
Illustrator
: Patricia Grush, Robin Dewitt, Golsa Yaghoobi
Publisher
: Yali Books. New York
Copyright
: 2019
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-949528-97-8
Hardcover pages
: 42
Age range
: 7-9
Genre
: Picture Book, Historical Fiction, Biography
Book setting
: Afghanistan
Author’s ethnicity
: U.S.
Author’s residence
: U.S.
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: U.S.
Illustrator’s residence
: U.S.
Subjects
: Architecture, Beauty, Biographies, History, Queens, Royalty

The Brave Princess And Me

Young Tilde Cohen and her mother are Jews who are searching for a safe place to hide.  They go to Princess Alice’s residence unannounced, begging the princess to hide them.  Princess Alice of Greece was born deaf, but is proficient in lip-reading.  Her kindness is put to the test when two Gestapo agents come by and demand to search the house.  She uses her cleverness to outwit the men and keep Tilde and her mother safe. The illustrations depict emotions beautifully.  Also included are biographical facts and photographs of Princess Alice.  The book is based on a true story from World War II Greece.  Alice is the grandmother of England’s Prince Charles and the great-grandmother of Princes William and Harry. mjw
Title: The Brave Princess And Me
Author: Kathy Kacer
Illustrator
: Juliana Kolesova
Publisher
: Second Story Press, Toronto, Canada
Copyright
: 2019
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-772601022
Hardcover pages
: 32
Age range
: 7-10
Genre
: Picture Book
Book setting
: Greece
Author’s ethnicity
: Canadian
Author’s residence
: Toronto. Canada
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Canadian
Illustrator’s residence
: Toronto. Canada
Subjects
: Athens, Holocaust, Jewish, Nazis, World War II

Captain Rosalie

Five-year-old Rosalie lives with her mother in a French village during World War I.  Her father is away at the front.  She keeps a secret notebook and is on a mission. She is Captain Rosalie, spying on the enemy.  Her mother reads aloud Father’s letters and they all look forward to the war’s end and Father’s return home.  One day, a letter arrives that Rosalie’s mother does not read.  Watercolor, pen, and ink illustrations in muted grays with soft spots of orange, pink, and blue contribute to this quiet, emotional story of hope and courage. mjw
Title: Captain Rosalie
Author: Timothee De Fombelle
Illustrator
: Isabelle Arsenault
Publisher
: Candlewick Press
Copyright
: 2019
Original Language
: French
Translator
: Sam Gordon
Original Publisher
: Walker Books Ltd.
Original Copyright
: 2014
ISBN
: 978-1-5362-0520-6
Hardcover pages
: 64 
Age range
: 8-12
Genre
: Historical Fiction, Novella
Book setting
: France
Author’s ethnicity
: French
Author’s residence
: Paris, France
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Canadian
Illustrator’s residence
: Quebec
Subjects
: Fathers and daughters, Letters, Loss, Military fiction, Reading, School issues, World War I

The Good Son: A Story From The First World War Told In Miniature

It’s Christmas time 1914, and a French soldier named Pierre leaves his regiment to visit his family. When he returns, he is imprisoned and faces execution for desertion.  Did he leave without permission?  Did he return late?  Part of the story is told in a letter he writes to his mother.  This is a heartbreaking and sad story of a terrible war. It is based on true events and is played out in photographs of miniature scenes.  A map of the Western front and an author’s note are included.  The author explains his connection to the story and his interest in “little soldiers” and photography.  The illustrators’ process is similar to that used in filmmaking, but in miniature.  Fascinating pictures illustrate the process.  This book is a piece of art. mjw
Title: The Good Son: A Story From the First World War Told In Miniature
Author: Pierre-Jacques Ober
Illustrator
: Jules Ober and Felicity Coonan
Publisher
: Candlewick Studio
Copyright
: 2019
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-5362-0482-7
Hardcover pages
: 104
Age range
: 14 up
Genre
: Picture Book, Nonfiction, Information Book
Book setting
: France
Author’s ethnicity
: French
Author’s residence
: Australia
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Australian
Illustrator’s residence
: Australia
Subjects
: Campaigns, Desertions, France, Military, Miniatures, Soldiers, Storytelling, Violence, Western front