Tag: Historical Fiction

Video Review of What the Night Sings

Kim is back with another video review! This time it is What the Night Sings by Vesper Stamper. As you will see, she loved it!

Title: What the Night Sings
Author: Vesper Stamper
Published: February 20, 2018
266 pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4.5 stars

Book Description:

After losing her family and everything she knew in the Nazi concentration camps, Gerta is finally liberated, only to find herself completely alone. Without her Papa, her music, or even her true identity, she must move past the task of surviving and onto living her life. In the displaced persons camp where she is staying, Gerta meets Lev, a fellow teen survivor who she just might be falling for, despite her feelings for someone else. With a newfound Jewish identity she never knew she had, and a return to the life of music she thought she lost forever, Gerta must choose how to build a new future.

Kim’s Video Review:

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Twenty and Ten

Author: Claire Huchet Bishop
Published: March 30th 1978
76 pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

During the German occupation of France, twenty French children were brought to a refuge in the mountains. One day a young man came to their school with a request: Could they take in, and hide, ten Jewish refugee children? Sister Gabriel spoke up. “The Nazis are looking for those children. If we take them we must never let on they are here. Do you understand?” Of course the children understood—but how would they hide them if the Nazis came?

Kim’s Review:

I first had this book read to me all the way back in 5th grade. I loved it then and when I found it on sale at Book Outlet, I got myself a copy, my mother in law a copy, my mom a copy . . . Hey this book will make an awesome Christmas gift for the nieces and nephews this year! Sweet! It’s one of those books that sticks with you. It’s a children’s book, but handles the mature topics of the Holocaust and Nazis in a way that kids will safely understand.

The kids at the school handled the German soldiers better than many others did during WW2. Somehow, they took some of the most annoying kid qualities and twisted them into heroic actions. I have nothing but good things to say about Twenty and Ten and I absolutely recommend it to everyone, especially to any kid, whether they like to read or not. This would be such a great resource for teachers in their classrooms. In a world that shies away from teaching the Holocaust, this is a great foundation for the younger kids to have in preparation for later more mature lessons and conversations.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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The Hired Girl

Author: Laura Amy Schlitz
Published: September 8, 2015
400 pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Today Miss Chandler gave me this beautiful book. I vow that I will never forget her kindness to me, and I will use this book as she told me to—that I will write in it with truth and refinement…But who could be refined living at Steeple Farm?

Fourteen-year-old Joan Skraggs, just like the heroines in her beloved novels, yearns for real life and true love. But what hope is there for adventure, beauty, or art on a hardscrabble farm in Pennsylvania where the work never ends? Over the summer of 1911, Joan pours her heart out into her diary as she seeks a new, better life for herself—because maybe, just maybe, a hired girl cleaning and cooking for six dollars a week can become what a farm girl could only dream of—a woman with a future.

Inspired by her grandmother’s journal, Newbery Medalist Laura Amy Schlitz brings her sharp wit and keen eye to early twentieth-century America in a comedic tour de force destined to become a modern classic. Joan’s journey from the muck of the chicken coop to the comforts of a society household in Baltimore (Electricity! Carpet sweepers! Sending out the laundry!) takes its reader on an exploration of feminism and housework, religion and literature, love and loyalty, cats, hats, bunions, and burns.

Kim’s Review:

I did enjoy this book, mainly based on the relationships that Joan establishes throughout her experiences. This is essentially, a story about growing up in the early 20th century. I’ll admit that I thought Joan to be a little whiny, but she is only 14 and it wasn’t too annoying. I also liked the way that Schlitz tackled anti-Semitism. That’s not a very popular issue to take on but there was plenty of material from that time period!

She seemed to be very accurate with the personalities of people such as Mrs. Rosenbach and Malka. I ended up liking them the most. Malka is a crotchety old lady who knows how she likes things done and won’t tolerate any change or nonsense. Yet she still has a soft spot. Reading about her interactions with Joan and the Rosenbachs endeared her to me. And Mrs. Rosenbach handles every situation with grace, poise, and a steady moral compass. I really appreciate how Mr. Rosenbach encourages Joan’s love of learning and tries to hold his own children to a higher academic standard. Hardwork is also a central theme that I think would benefit certain generations who are far too entitled for their own good! All this to say that although the book is written in Joan’s own thoughts, I liked it for most of the characters aside from Joan! I recommend this to any teenager and anyone who enjoys historical fiction.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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