Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Last of the Name

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

I’m continuing reading historical mg novels with the really good Last of the Name (Carolrhoda Books, 2019) by Rosanne Parry.

Twelve-year-old Daniel O’Carolan and his sixteen-year-old sister Kathleen have lost so much. First their father, then brothers and mother, and now Granny on their way from Ireland to America. To survive, Danny must pretend to be a girl and hire on with Kathleen as housemaids. But he has to be himself sometimes and slips away early mornings in his rightful clothes and sings and dances. Can he keep his secret? And the job? He and Kathleen have to stay together. But it seems their troubles in Ireland have followed them to America.

This book is set in 1863 New York City, during the Civil War, and the terribly sad draft riots. You’ll meet immigrants from Ireland, Italy, Germany, plus black freedmen, and everyone is trying to find or keep a job.

In the back of the book you’ll find book partners–other books from the time period. Read more about that here. I definitely understand some more of the issues than I did before (such as Irish Catholics and English Protestants.)

Go here to see what books Rosanne likes to read.

I’ve recommended several of her other books here as well: a YA and another mg.

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Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

The Seventh Wish

theseventhw.jpgI’ve been a fan of Kate Messner‘s since I read The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z, Her newest novel The Seventh Wish (Bloomsbury USA Childrens, 2016) doesn’t disappoint as it explores the old phrase of “be careful what you wish for.”
Charlie Brennan is originally on the ice fishing to earn money for a fancy Irish dancing dress, but when she pulls up a magical talking fish, she starts wishing for a lot of different things. The wishes don’t work out as Charlie had hoped. Then her life gets seriously messed up when her college age sister has a crisis that cancels her trip to the feis (dance competition.)
Readers will sympathize with twelve-year-old Charlie and enjoy meeting her friends and discovering their problems. Flour babies, anyone? I now know a lot more about ice fishing and Irish dance than I ever have before–love those bonuses when reading a story.
Sadly, this book experienced some censorship earlier this year. It blows my mind that it did. Here’s an interview with Kate on the topic.
A fun place to visit on Kate Messner’s website is her photo gallery. There you can see places where she did research, items she tasted or touched for research, and more.

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