Lynne Reid Banks’ newest novel is historical fiction set in Rome around the 3rd century AD. Two tiger cubs are captured and brought to Rome. One is given to the emperor’s daughter to be raised as her pampered pet. The other brother is taught to be a vicious man-eating fighter at the Colosseum. There is description of the gladiators and animals slaughtering each other, and also innocent, forbidden love between the princess and a slave. It demonstrates the social structure of Rome very vividly and also demonstrates how Christianity was viewed by the Romans. Tiger, Tiger would be excellent to use if you are teaching ancient Roman historyRead More →

Revolution is Not a Dinner Party by Ying Chang Compestine is the sleeper hit of my library this semester. It sat on my new releases shelf for a while, unchecked by students. One afternoon, as I prepared for a booktalk, I stared at the book, wondering what had made it stand out to me when I made my purchasing order. Imagine a world where George Bush put his face on posters all over the country, required everyone to have a picture in their home, and stopped work halfway through the day to listen to his teachings. Thankfully we have a president and not a ChairmanRead More →

Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis tells the story of Elijah Freeman, the first freeborn child born in the colony of Buxton, Canada, a settlement of runaway slaves just over the border from Detroit.  The year is 1860 and when a conman steals the money of a family friend that was intended to buy the man’s family from slavery in the South, Elijah embarks on a dangerous journey to America in pursuit of the thief and he discovers the unimaginable horrors of the life his parents fled. As readers have come to expect from Curtis, he delivers superior historical research (the author’s notes at the endRead More →