Alias Anna: A True Story of Outwitting the Nazis by Susan Hood with Greg Dawson is a novel about the Holocaust told in verse and organized into seven parts. The story rings with Zhanna’s love for her Ukrainian homeland, sorrow for her lost family, and fury for both Stalin and the Nazis. The story opens with the insatiable curiosity of Zhanna Arshanskaya, a born explorer. Until 1935, Zhanna and her sister, Frina, live a candy-coated life in Berdyansk, Ukraine, nestled near the Sea of Azov. When Stalin begins to devour their country and imposes “death by hunger,” the family is forced to seek refuge inRead More →

In his newest book, A Rebel in Auschwitz, Jack Fairweather tells the true story of a resistance hero who fought the Nazis from inside the tortuous prison camp.  The book opens with an introduction to Witold Pilecki, a young Polish underground operative. Once readers have a sense of this man’s values, we read about Hitler’s goal to obliterate the Polish people as well as their nation—“to drown the people in blood” (12). Feeling it is imperative to face down evil, Witold accepts a mission to infiltrate Auschwitz so that he can pass on any intelligence to the resistance group and rally the power of theRead More →

September 11, 2021 will mark the twentieth anniversary of 9/11, and Alan Gratz’s book Ground Zero is here to bring that history to middle grade readers. Told in alternating perspectives between Brandon Chavez, a nine-year-old living in New York City in 2001, and Reshmina, an eleven-year-old girl living in Afghanistan in 2019, the two tales run parallel to one another but ultimately intersect in a surprising twist. As the novel opens, Brandon has been suspended for punching a bully in the nose, and because his mother has died and no one is available to watch him at home, he has to accompany his father toRead More →

Perhaps the most widely recognized Supreme Court case in American history, Brown v. Board of Education was a nationwide assault on beliefs of white supremacy. But for all its renown, many Americans know little about the case itself or of the great changes in American society that propelled the Supreme Court to rule as it did on May 17, 1954. With his Scholastic published book Separate No More, Lawrence Goldstone enlightens readers about the long road to Brown v. Board of Education. In this nonfiction account, readers will learn the names of many personalities instrumental in proving that separate did not mean, and could notRead More →

In 1943 in Wichita Falls, Texas, twelve-year-old Jerrie Cobb climbed, dipped, and banked in her father’s 1936 Waco biplane under her father’s guidance.  These were precious times for Jerrie, since flying was in her blood.  However, despite her talent and aptitude, Jerrie was denied a career as a jet pilot or an astronaut since she grew into adulthood during an era when flying was considered men’s work and society expected their women to be timid and beautiful. Because piloting a jet was physical, technical, dangerous, and dirty and because war maneuvers involved rough, rowdy, and ruthless work, women were excluded. While men scooped up theRead More →

With the overwhelming amount of homework in middle school, Gregory Korenstein-Jasperton wonders how all the popular kids at Morris Champlin Middle School have time to be popular.  He hasn’t even found the time or the energy for writing the poetry and short stories he loves.  When his dropping grades get him grounded, preventing him from attending open mic night at Booktastic, an indie bookstore and his favorite place on earth, Gregory decides to take action. Borrowing inspiration from Dr. Seuss’ character, the Lorax, Gregory realizes change never comes unless someone speaks up: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going toRead More →