Suspect Red by L. M. Elliott

By Cindy McCan | February 2, 2019

The early 1950s come alive in Suspect Red with each chapter starting with “current” events, news articles, and information about 1950’s pop culture.  The book contains pictures of people, places and events from 1953-1954 as well as comics and maps. A good argument for audio-listeners to have both the book and the audio versions! Author …

Suspect Red by L. M. Elliott Read More »

The Luck of the Buttons by Anne Ylvisaker

By Cindy McCan | January 12, 2019

The Luck of the Buttons by Anne Ylvisaker is the first book in the Buttons trilogy. Each book focuses on a different Button family member; the first two take place in 1929 and the third book takes place during the Civil War when granddaddy Ike was just a boy. All three of the books are suitable for …

The Luck of the Buttons by Anne Ylvisaker Read More »

Dave at Night by Gail Carson Levine

By Cindy McCan | November 25, 2018

According to the author Gail Levine, inspiration to write this book came from her father who was an orphan at the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, the real life counterpart for the story’s fictional Hebrew Home for Boys.  When Dave Caros’ father dies in an accident, his stepmother places him in the Hebrew Home for Boys; an orphanage …

Dave at Night by Gail Carson Levine Read More »

Riot by Walter Dean Myers

By Cindy McCan | November 25, 2018

Walter Dean Myers is known for his creative and unique writing styles when it comes to children’s literature. This book is no exception. It is written as a screenplay complete with directions for the camera shots. While listening to the full cast audiobook with sound effects and music, I felt like I was “watching” the …

Riot by Walter Dean Myers Read More »

Witness by Karen Hesse

By Cindy McCan | September 13, 2018

Witness is a Reader’s Theater written in free verse with 11 distinct voices. The audiobook cast features a different reader for each character which really brings the book to life for listeners. The audio also includes an interview with both the author Karen Hesse and the historian Leonard Marcus.   This is a short but powerful …

Witness by Karen Hesse Read More »

The Black Duck by Janet Taylor Lisle

By Cindy McCan | July 8, 2018

The 18th amendment was the constitutional ban of the sale, manufacture and distribution (but not the consumption) of alcohol, also known as Prohibition, in the United States between 1920 and 1933.  It was hoped that Prohibition would reduce crime, but it actually increased crime and gang activity in many places. This book is a fictionalized …

The Black Duck by Janet Taylor Lisle Read More »

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

By Cindy McCan | June 22, 2018

The Witch of Blackbird Pond takes place in 1687, well before the idea of the colonies uniting to form one independent country took root.  Even so, there is plenty of tension and trouble brewing between England and the Puritans as to who will rule the Connecticut Colony. Kit Tyler lives on her wealthy grandfather’s slave …

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare Read More »

Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac

By Cindy McCan | May 24, 2018

Because of the top secret nature of the code talkers’ work, their role in World War II was unknown until it was declassified in 1969. Even now, with several books, movies and history programs on the topic, many people still don’t know the story of the Navajo code talkers. Joseph Bruchac’s book is the perfect introduction suitable …

Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac Read More »

Walking the Choctaw Road by Tim Tingle

By Cindy McCan | April 8, 2018

Tim Tingle is a Choctaw author, speaker and storyteller extraordinaire.  The stories in this book take place in several states and throughout history. My goal is to highlight a different book and author for every state. I’ve placed this book in Oklahoma, though it would be equally at home in any of the other states …

Walking the Choctaw Road by Tim Tingle Read More »

Ship of Dolls by Shirley Parenteau

By Cindy McCan | March 25, 2018

What a novel way to promote friendship between two countries: with dolls! Dr. Sidney Gulick, an American missionary who lived in Japan for 25 years, was dismayed over the deteriorating relations between the U.S. and Japan in the early 1900s. His idea was to promote friendship between the two countries by sending U.S. dolls to …

Ship of Dolls by Shirley Parenteau Read More »

Dash by Kirby Larson

By Cindy McCan | February 23, 2018

Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, over 110,000 men, women and children of Japanese descent were forced from their homes and into internment camps. The majority of the interned were American born citizens. This story is based on the true story of Mitsue Shiraishi and her dog Chubby. Life in Seattle is good to 11-year …

Dash by Kirby Larson Read More »

Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool

By Cindy McCan | February 1, 2018

Jack Baker’s mother has died and his father is away in the military.  Jack is sent to an all-boys boarding school in Maine where he meets Early Auden, an orphan. Early is an “odd” boy, according to Jack, who is fascinated and obsessed with the number Pi. Early can “read” stories in numbers and is …

Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool Read More »

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

By Cindy McCan | January 14, 2018

Pam Ryan was inspired to write Esperanza Rising by her grandmother’s childhood experiences. Although it was written in 2000, Esperanza Rising is still extremely popular and part of many school curriculums.  Esperanza Ortega (13) is the doted on daughter of a wealthy rancher. She lives in luxury with servants to help in the house and …

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan Read More »

My Name Is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson

By Cindy McCan | January 1, 2018

Debby Edwardson wrote that this story was inspired by the experiences of her husband and his two brothers while at a Catholic boarding school in the early 1960s. She also incorporated additional events of the time that had significant impacts on Native Alaskan communities. The audiobook starts out with an author’s note which contains several …

My Name Is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson Read More »

The Detective’s Assistant by Kate Hannigan

By Cindy McCan | December 10, 2017

The Detective’s Assistant was inspired by the life of Kate Warne (1833-1868), who is credited as being the first professional female detective in the United States. She worked for the Pinkerton Detective Agency in Chicago and was instrumental in uncovering the Baltimore Plot; a plot by secessionist to assassinate president-elect Abraham Lincoln. Author Kate Hannigan …

The Detective’s Assistant by Kate Hannigan Read More »

Worth by A. LaFaye

By Cindy McCan | November 18, 2017

Farming in the late 1800s was backbreaking work full of uncertainties. Worth describes the difficulties of farming, the fragility of life, and the conflict between farmers and ranchers for land during the pioneer years. Nathaniel Peale, 11, lives on a Nebraska homestead with his parents.  He takes pride in the way he is able to …

Worth by A. LaFaye Read More »

Zane and the Hurricane by Rodman Philbrick

By Cindy McCan | November 11, 2017

This is an especially timely book; Texas and Florida are still reeling from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Zane and the Hurricane captures many of the difficult situations that people face before, during and after a hurricane. Zane Dupree travels from New Hampshire to New Orleans to get to know his great-grandmother and to see where …

Zane and the Hurricane by Rodman Philbrick Read More »

Crow by Barbara Wright

By Cindy McCan | October 26, 2017

I did say I was presenting only one book per state, but once I listened to Crow I knew I had to include it as well. Crow tells the story of the only successful coup d’état in US history; the only time a non-elected group overthrew a legally elected government. Eleven-year-old Moses lives in a …

Crow by Barbara Wright Read More »

Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper

By Cindy McCan | October 14, 2017

*Stella Mills’ character is loosely based on the author’s grandmother who grew up in a small, segregated African-American town similar to the fictional town of Bumblebee. Like the protagonist in the story, Sharon Draper’s grandmother enjoyed writing by moonlight.  Narrator Heather Alicia Simms’s rich and expressive voice is a perfect match for Stella by Starlight. …

Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper Read More »

Full of Beans by Jennifer L. Holm

By Cindy McCan | October 6, 2017

There are so many good audiobooks that take place in historical Florida! Many of the books I’ve listened to so far are serious in tone and deal with important but tough issues. This laugh-out-loud book was a nice change of pace. Note: Full of Beans is a prequel to Jennifer Holm’s Newbery Honor book Turtle …

Full of Beans by Jennifer L. Holm Read More »

march trilogy

March Trilogy by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell

The March trilogy has been widely written about and has won several awards including the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, YALSA’s Outstanding Books for the College Bound, and is also a Coretta Scott King Honor Book. We all learn about the civil rights movement in school.  Depending on …

March Trilogy by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell Read More »

the star-touched queen

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

The Star-Touched Queen takes place in the milieu of Hindu mythology: the worlds of gods, goddesses, demons, illusion, and reincarnation.  The story is about Maya, a young princess in a kingdom that has long been at war with the many surrounding kingdoms.  In a bid to bring peace, her father the king proposes that Maya …

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi Read More »

born a crime

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah, host of the Daily Show, has written a powerful book about his South African childhood.  This book is by turns fascinating, horrific, funny, heartbreaking and hopeful.  As excellent as the book is, the audiobook is even better.  Mr. Noah narrates it; not only is he a brilliant reader, but hearing him read from …

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah Read More »

the yid

The Yid by Paul Goldberg

The Yid takes place in Stalin’s Russia shortly before his death in 1953 and is a brilliant work of “reimagined” historical fiction.  Solomon Shimonovich Levinson, a former actor with the State Jewish Theater, is about to be arrested.  Realizing that his life is in peril and that he has nothing left to lose, he decides …

The Yid by Paul Goldberg Read More »

a man called ove

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Me: (holding a copy of A Man Called Ove): Hey, you really need to read this book.  It’s great! Other Person: Thanks, I need a book. What’s it about? Me: A man who is trying to commit suicide.  It’s really funny! Other Person: Uhhhhh, that’s okay. Actually, I don’t need a book right now. Ove …

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman Read More »

the thing about jellyfish

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

The Thing about Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin is the poignant story of Suzy Swanson and her attempts to comprehend a world that doesn’t always seem to make sense.  Suzy has always been a bit of a nerd and maybe a bit awkward, but she’s always been able to rely on her best friend, Franny Jackson.  …

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin Read More »

wolf hollow

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

Wolf Hollow, Lauren Wolk’s debut novel, takes place in rural Pennsylvania in late 1943. The story is told by Annabelle as she looks back in time to the year she turned 12 and “learned to lie”.  This ominous start lets the reader know that there is going to be big trouble developing, and so it …

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk Read More »

raymie nightingale

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo is a bighearted tale told by 10-year-old Raymie Clarke whose world has just been turned upside down by her father who left her and her mother in the middle of the night for another woman.  Like many kids in similar situations, Raymie thinks it is up to her to win …

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo Read More »

the fifth season

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

The Fifth Season is a compelling and multifaceted story set on a geologically unstable and volatile “Earth”.  Earthquakes and volcanoes are a constant threat and if severe enough can cause a fifth season, or extended winter, due to the amount of dust and ash sent up into the atmosphere.  Tsunamis created by “shakes” can wipe …

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin Read More »

dark days club

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

I just finished listening to The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman.  The narrator, Fiona Hardingham, an accomplished actress and reader, picked me up, transported me to Regency London and set me down among the aristocracy. It is 1812 and Lady Helen Wrexhall is 18 and ready to go out and live life to its …

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman Read More »