Ivy Takes Care by Rosemary Wells

By Cindy McCan | December 9, 2019

It took a bit of looking to find children’s historical fiction on audio that was set in Nevada! Ivy’s summer adventures give readers a close-up look at some of the unique animals and terrain of Nevada and is a perfect summer read for elementary-aged children. Ivy and her best friend Annie live near Carson City, …

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Ghetto Cowboy by G Neri

By Cindy McCan | October 20, 2019

Although Ghetto Cowboy is set in the present, there’s a lot of history here. This fast-paced story is set among today’s urban horsemen of North Philadelphia’s Fletcher Street Riding Club, whose history and traditions date back to the black cowboys of the 1800s. Ghetto Cowboy is being made into a film which will star Idris …

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Out of Left Field by Ellen Klages

By Cindy McCan | September 30, 2019

Out of Left Field is a work of love dedicated to the unsung heroes and history of women’s baseball. If you’re a baseball fan, this book is definitely for you. But here’s the thing: if you, like me, have no interest in baseball or women’s baseball, or for that matter, no interest in sports at …

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A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

By Cindy McCan | September 9, 2019

Tennessee is a state awash in folk tales, legends and tall tales including the well-known stories of Davy Crockett, Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind and Casey Jones. A Snicker of Magic is a charming tale filled with magical realism that fits right in with the spirit of Tennessee storytelling. Although this story takes place in …

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The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis

By Cindy McCan | July 21, 2019

I’ve come across many southern pre-Civil War stories about wealthy plantation owners and slaves. I’ve also read a few stories set in the post-Civil War era and that feature sharecroppers, both black and white. This is the first book I’ve read about white sharecroppers living in the pre-Civil War era south. Once again, Christopher Paul …

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Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson

By Cindy McCan | March 28, 2019

Hattie Big Sky was inspired by the author’s great-grandmother who single-handedly “proved up” on a Montana homestead. Many thanks to the librarians at the ImagineIF Libraries of Flathead County, Montana for helping me find an audiobook for this project. Hattie Inez Brooks is a 16 year old orphan living in Iowa with her distance relatives, …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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.  …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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the lie tree

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

I was immediately hooked by The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge.  As an anthropologist, I had read a number of works by “armchair anthropologists” that tracked the history of science through the Victorian era, the publication of Darwin’s The Origin of Species, the gradual unearthing of fossils that called into question a worldview based on counting …

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truth witch

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard – Another Review

Cindy spoke highly of Truthwitch, by Susan Dennard, so I decided to read it also.  Her review of Truthwitch really does a good job of summing up the book, so I won’t cover the same ground.  Rather, I’ll report that the book was fun to read and that its fast pace held my interest throughout.  The …

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the forgetting

The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron

Writing teachers tell their students to keep a journal, that by writing you learn about yourself.  This book gives a twist to that age-old wisdom.  First the title, every twelve years everyone in the community forgets everything.  To combat the periodic forgetting, everyone carries around a book where they write about their lives so that after the forgetting …

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