Tag Archives: History

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

Clara The Rhino

Based on a true story, this book is about the friendship between an orphaned rhinoceros from India and a Dutch sea captain in the mid 18thcentury.  Captain Douwe van der Meer decides to take Clara the rhino from India to Holland.  No one in Europe has ever seen a rhino and the Captain is sure that she will be a sensation.  The voyage from India to Holland takes many weeks and Clara eats 100 pounds of hay every day.  She especially likes oranges.   Clara wins the hearts of everyone as she and the Captain travel all over Europe. Her image appears on posters, coins, statuettes, and art in museums.  She finally returns to Holland where the Captain provides Clara a home of her own.  A map shows Clara’s extensive travels through Europe.  Bold, colorful artwork enhances the story.  Another book, Clara: The (Mostly) True Story Of The Rhinoceros Who Dazzled Kings, Inspired Artists, And Won The Hearts Of Everyone…While She Ate Her Way Up And Down A Continent was written by Emily Arnold McCully in 2016. mjw
Title: Clara The Rhino
Author: Katrin Hirt
Illustrator
: Laura Fuchs
Publisher
: North South Books, Inc.
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: German
Translator
: David Henry Wilson
Original Title
: Ein Nashorn namens Clara
Original Publisher
: NordSud Verlag.  Zurich, Switzerland
Original Copyright
: 2019
ISBN
: 978-0-7358-4395-0
Hardcover pages
: 48
Age range
: 4-8
Genre
: Picture Book
Book setting
: India, Holland, France, Italy
Author’s ethnicity
: German
Author’s residence
: Tubingen, Germany
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: German
Illustrator’s residence
: Hamburg, Germany 
Subjects
: Boats and ships, European history, Netherlands, Rhinoceroses

Greyfriars Bobby: A Puppy’s Tale

Today, visitors to Edinburgh, Scotland, come from all over the world to see Bobby’s statue and to lay flowers and sticks on his grave.  Bobby was the wee faithful Skye Terrier who patrolled Scotland’s streets with local policeman John Gray.  This story tells of Bobby’s early days when he and an orphaned boy named Sandy caught a pickpocket and how he met his master John Gray.  After John Gray died in 1858, the loyal dog lay beside his master’s grave in Greyfriar’s churchyard every day for fourteen years.  A glossary defines Scottish words.  Lively illustrations bring the Victorian streets of Edinburgh to life. mjw
Title: Greyfriar’s Bobby: A Puppy’s Tale
Author: Michelle Sloan
Illustrator: Elena Bia
Publisher
: Kelpies, an imprint of Floris Books
Copyright
: 2019
Original Language
: English 
ISBN
: 978-178250-590-7
Hardcover pages
: 32
Age range
: 4-7
Genre
: Picture Book, Historical Fiction
Book setting
: Edinburgh, Scotland 
Author’s ethnicity
: Scottish
Author’s residence
: Brought Ferry, Scotland
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Italian
Illustrator’s residence
: Novara, Italy
Subjects
: Dogs, Loyalty, Policemen, Scottish folklore