In the spring of 1847, thirteen-year-old Hattie Campbell and her family leave their home in Missouri to travel west in a covered wagon on the Oregon TIn the spring of 1847, thirteen-year-old Hattie Campbell and her family leave their home in Missouri to travel west in a covered wagon on the Oregon Trail. Hattie is sad to leave her home and her best friend, as well as the graves of her little sisters who died.
In her diary, Hattie writes of all the hardships her family and others in their wagon train experience. The pioneers face sickness, dangerous river crossings. Many people do not survive. But despite all the sadness, there is happiness too, as Hattie becomes friends with another girl on the wagon train and begins to fall in love with her new friend's brother.
I first read this book many years ago, when it was first published. I was eleven years old then and absolutely loved it and reread it quite a few times. This book was one of my childhood favorites so I am glad it is back in print again. It's still one of my favorites from the Dear America series and I recommend it to all fans of the series as well as to readers who love historical fiction about pioneers in the old west. ...more
Fourteen-year-old Eleanor Rhys Davis, called Ellie by her friends, lives in England in 1935. She is a very talented swimmer, but she doesn't always geFourteen-year-old Eleanor Rhys Davis, called Ellie by her friends, lives in England in 1935. She is a very talented swimmer, but she doesn't always get the best grades in school. One of her teachers encourages her to start writing in a diary. At first, she doesn't have much to write about, and so she describes school, swimming practice, and spending time with her two best friends, who are also swimmers - Sarah, who she grew up with, and Tara, a new girl at school who is the daughter of an American diplomat. Sarah is Jewish, and although she and her parents were born in England, her grandparents were immigrants from Germany. She is worried about her relatives who still live in Germany, since the Nazis have begun to pass laws that restrict the rights of Jewish people.
As Ellie and Sarah's swimming improves, their teacher, Mrs. Williams, suggest the girls should work hard at their training in hopes of being chosen for the British swim team for the 1936 Olympics which will be held in Berlin, Germany. As the rest of the world learns about how the Nazis are treating Jews and other people they consider "racially inferior," there is debate in some countries about not participating in protest.
Although this book was not one of my favorites from the My Story series, I did enjoy it. I hadn't known much about the 1936 Olympics before reading this book, so I did learn some interesting history. I think certain parts of the story could have used more detail, and I was disappointed that it ended so abrubtly, with everything being wrapped up in an epilogue set several years later. Readers who enjoyed other books in the My Story series will probably enjoy this book as well, but if you are new to the series, many of the other books are a better choice to start with, unless you are particularly interested in the subject and historical setting of this book. ...more
This book is written as the fictional diary of Princess Margaret, the younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II. Margaret begins her diary when she is eighThis book is written as the fictional diary of Princess Margaret, the younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II. Margaret begins her diary when she is eight years old, shortly before World War II breaks out. Margaret is young, so she doesn't understand much about what is going on in the world, but she knows that Adolf Hitler is a bad man and that there may be a war with Germany. Soon her worst fears come true when the Nazis invade many countries in Europe and England must go to war.
Even though Margaret is a princess, she too must make sacrifices because of the war, which goes on for many long years. Food is rationed, and there are few parties and no fancy new clothes. Worst of all, she and her sister, Elizabeth, rarely get to see their parents, as the two princesses must live in safety in the countryside because of the Germans bombing London and other cities. However, there are still some fun times, too, despite the war, and there is also the beginnings of a romance between Elizabeth and their cousin, Prince Philip of Greece.
When I ordered this book online I expected it to actually focus on Elizabeth as the main character, since she's on the cover and the summary made it sound like it was her diary and not Margaret's. And while she is certainly an important character, and her romance with Philip is an important part of the story, I'm not sure why she's on the cover when all the other books in the series show the diarist on the cover. Margaret is closer in age to the target audience for this series, anyway, so it does make sense to have her tell the story, but I think the cover should have been more accurate and shown the main character like all the other books in the My Story series do. So I guess the cover issue is a minor complaint, since I really enjoyed the story, it's just bothering me a bit! The book seems to be historically accurate and I think the author did a good job at imagining what Princess Margaret might have been like as a young girl, and what she would have thought about the war and all the changes in her life. Readers who enjoyed other books in the My Story series and the similar Royal Diaries series will probably enjoy this book as well. ...more
Mary Kobayashi begins a diary after receiving one as a present for her twelfth birthday in May 1941. Although there is a war going on in Europe, it seMary Kobayashi begins a diary after receiving one as a present for her twelfth birthday in May 1941. Although there is a war going on in Europe, it seems very far away from Vancouver. At first, Mary writes mostly about her everyday life - school, friends, Girl Guides meetings, and summer camp. But when Japan attacks the United States at Pearl Harbor later that year, everything changes forever.
Even though Mary and her siblings were born in Canada to immigrant parents who became naturalized citizens of their new country, many people are suspicious of anyone with Japanese heritage. Soon, restrictions are placed upon them and the other Japanese Canadians in their community. They must observe a strict curfew, give up cars, radios, and cameras, and many are forced to leave their homes. Mary is left wondering if her life will ever be the same again.
I expected Torn Apart to be mainly about Mary's experiences in an internment camp, based upon the publisher's description and the subtitle "The Internment Diary of Mary Kobayashi." It's actually mainly about her life in Vancounter during the year and a half leading up to those events - only the last forty pages or so of the book are set at the internment camp Mary and her family are sent to. Although this book was not one of my top favorites from the Dear Canada series, I still overall enjoyed it. The author, whose parents and grandparents spent part of World War II in an internment camp, brought to life the injustices suffered by people of Japanese descent in Canada and the United States during the war. I recommend this book to readers who enjoyed other Dear Canada books (or the similar Dear America series), or who are interested in this era of history. ...more
It's May 1912, and twelve-year-old Dorothy Wilton has returned to her home in Halifax after surviving the sinking of the Titanic. She just wants to goIt's May 1912, and twelve-year-old Dorothy Wilton has returned to her home in Halifax after surviving the sinking of the Titanic. She just wants to go back to her normal routine and not talk about what happened, but finds herself expelled from school after hitting another girl who said horrible things about the victims of the disaster. Dorothy's favorite teacher suggests that during her time away from school, she should write a diary about what happened to her, to help her come to terms with her experience.
Dorothy begins the story by writing about her trip to England to meet her grandparents. Her grandparents were very kind and their housekeeper had twelve-year-old twins, a boy and a girl, that Dorothy became close friends with during her stay in England. For her journey home, her father got her a ticket on the grandest ship ever built, the Titanic. Dorothy had fun exploring the ship and made a new friend, but hated her traveling companion, Miss Pugh, who worked for Dorothy's father and had agreed to travel with her since she too was visiting a relative in England. Miss Pugh did not survive the disaster, and Dorothy blames herself for her death.
That Fatal Night is different than most novels for young readers about the Titanic, since it is set after the sinking and is mainly about a survivor struggling to accept what happened. This book is shorter than most other books in the Dear Canada series, and I think it could have been a bit longer with some more description of Dorothy's time on the Titanic. However, I still really enjoyed it, I love almost anything I read about the Titanic and I really liked that this book offered a unique perspective by being set afterwards. I recommend this book to readers interested in the Titanic or who enjoyed other books from the Dear Canada series. ...more
Dawnie Rae Johnston begins her diary on her twelth birthday in 1954, the day after the Supreme Court decision ending segregation in schools. Dawnie isDawnie Rae Johnston begins her diary on her twelth birthday in 1954, the day after the Supreme Court decision ending segregation in schools. Dawnie is one of the top students in her grade at her segregated school, but she wishes she could go to the white school in town, which is a much nicer building, with new books and supplies and even a baseball field. When Dawnie's parents decide to enroll her at the white school for the following school year, she is excited to be attending such a nice school. But many people in Hadley are racist, and her family suffers as a result. Her father loses his job, and many of the teachers and students are cruel to her.
This was a difficult book for me to rate and review, because it was well-written and well-researched, but not to my personal tastes. I always feel bad trying to decide how to review a book when it's well-written but I just didn't enjoy it. And since the Dear America series is one of my favorite series, I had really hoped to enjoy this book, but it's a bad sign when it takes me over two weeks to finish a Dear America book. I would probably give it two stars for my personal enjoyment, but I added a third star for the excellent historical research.
I think there were two main reasons why I didn't enjoy it very much. One, I couldn't relate to the main character at all. She was a tomboy who was obsessed with sports and loved baseball. I am the least athletic person on the planet, gym class was torture for me, and I just got bored and annoyed whenever she would write about sports or use some kind of sport-y metaphor (Which was really often). Two, after reading this book and a couple others, I've come to the conclusion I just don't like historical fiction set after World War II. It just seems too modern to me. If you are interested in the Civil Rights Movement or 1950s history in general, and this book sounds like something you would enjoy, don't let my review put you off reading it. I think a lot of people will enjoy this book, and like I said it's well-written, it just didn't interest me....more
This book tells the story of Henry VIII's wives through the diary of a fictional young girl, Beatrice Townhill, during the years 1536 to 1548. BeatricThis book tells the story of Henry VIII's wives through the diary of a fictional young girl, Beatrice Townhill, during the years 1536 to 1548. Beatrice begins writing in her diary when she is ten years old. Her father is the king's huntsman, so as a special birthday present she is taken to court to meet Henry and his new wife, Jane Seymour. This book is also a a sequel to the author's previous books in the My Story series, about ladies in waiting to Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, as Beatrice meets Eva and her daughter, Elinor, the main characters from those books, and learns about Catherine and Anne by reading their own diaries from when they were young girls at court.
After Jane Seymour dies giving birth to a son, Henry decides to marry again, and Beatrice, who is now old enough, is chosen to be a lady-in-waiting at court. Over the years, she serves as a lady-in-waiting to his last three wives, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard, and Katherine Parr. She also grows up, falls in love, marries, and has children of her own.
This was the longest book from the My Story series and also one of my favorites, as I love reading historical fiction set during the Tudor era. Although I have enjoyed all the books I have read from the series, often I wished for them to be longer and more detailed. So I am happy that for this book, the author was allowed to write it to be much longer than the others in the series, given that it is set over twelve years and covers quite a lot of history. ...more
In this sequel to The Winter of Red Snow, Abigail Jane Stewart continues her diary in January 1779. Her father has recently joined the army and she isIn this sequel to The Winter of Red Snow, Abigail Jane Stewart continues her diary in January 1779. Her father has recently joined the army and she is worried about him. Then her family's home burns down, and they have trouble finding a place to stay because most of their relatives moved away during the British occupation of Philadelphia. While her older sister remains in Philadelphia, Abby, her younger brother and sister, and their mother join the Continental Army as camp followers.
Life following the army is full of many hardships for Abby and her family. The winters are long and brutally cold and there is rarely enough food. There is also the worry that the Americans will lose the war, as the British have occupied many cities in the southern colonies, the Continental Army does not have enough supplies, and the promised aid and troops from France have not yet arrived. But there is also happiness, too. Abby and her family make several new friends, and there is also romance, as Abby finds herself falling in love with Willie Campbell, a young soldier.
The Winter of Red Snow was one of my favorite books from the original Dear America series, so when I learned there would be a sequel after all these years I was so excited. And I am happy to say I was not disappointed at all. The American Revolution is one of my favorite settings for historical fiction, so I really enjoyed reading Abby's diary, which brought to life the hardships faced by the American soldiers and their families during the final two years of the war. This book is now one of my favorites from the series and I would highly recommend it to all readers who enjoyed other books in the Dear America series. And if you haven't read any books from the series yet but love historical fiction, these two books are a great place to start....more
Sixteen-year-old Florence and her family live in poverty in Victorian London in 1888. Florence, who unlike many poor young girls can read and write, sSixteen-year-old Florence and her family live in poverty in Victorian London in 1888. Florence, who unlike many poor young girls can read and write, starts a diary after her grandfather dies and leaves his diary to her. To help her family, Florence must start working at the Bryant & May match factory, despite the fact the her older sister died from a terrible disease as a result of working at the match factory.
Shortly after Florence goes to work at the factory, she starts hearing rumors of a possible strike, especially from a young newspaper reporter who interviews her to learn about the conditions at the match factory. While men in many industries have gone on strike before, this would be the first time for women. Florence isn't sure what to think. She believes herself and the other workers deserve better pay and conditions, but she is afraid of going on strike and not being able to bring any money home to her family, when they are already struggling to survive even with her wages.
This book wasn't one of my favorites from the My Story series. The historical information was interesting and the book was a quick read, but Florence's character wasn't really that well developed and so I didn't care that much about what happened to her. Readers who love the series or who are particulary interested in the historical setting might enjoy this book, but for readers who are new to the series I'd recommend starting with one of the other books. It wasn't a terrible book, I just enjoyed most of the other books in the series much more....more
Fourteen-year-old Heen and his father must leave their home in China and travel far across the sea to Canada to work on building the transcontinentalFourteen-year-old Heen and his father must leave their home in China and travel far across the sea to Canada to work on building the transcontinental railroad. The family business has been lost to gambling debts, and there are not enough jobs in China. On the day Heen leaves home, he begins writing in a diary given to him as a parting gift from his schoolteacher.
The journey across the sea is long and miserable, and many people are sick. Heen resents his father for continuing to gamble, even after losing the family store because of gambling debts. When they arrive in Canada, Heen finds the work much more difficult than he expected. The Chinese workers must work long hours for less pay than the white workers. The conditions are dangerous and many men are hurt or killed.
I love the similar Dear Canada series from the same publisher, written from the viewpoints of young girls in Canadian history, so I was interested to try the new I Am Canada series, which is similar but from a male viewpoint. The historical information seemed really well researched and I loved the voice of the narrator, Heen. The book really seemed like it could be the diary of a boy his age. At first he was a rather humorous narrator, giving nicknames to all the people he encountered based on their characteristics. However, the story soon became more serious and tragic, showing the horrible working conditions the Chinese laborers had to endure. If you enjoyed the Dear Canada series or historical fiction in general, I think you will enjoy this book. ...more
Eleven-year-old Lydia Pierce lives a carefree life in Portland, Maine, in 1918, until the terrible flu epidemic that is spreading worldwide takes theEleven-year-old Lydia Pierce lives a carefree life in Portland, Maine, in 1918, until the terrible flu epidemic that is spreading worldwide takes the lives of her parents and baby sister. Lydia and her older brother Daniel are now orphans, and their aunt and uncle have no room for them on the crowded family farm. With no other options available, their uncle takes them to live in Sabbathday Lake with the Shakers, who care for orphaned children.
Life with the Shakers is very different from Lydia’s old life in Portland. The Shakers have many rules that must be strictly followed. Males and females must stay separate and not socialize, which means Lydia can rarely speak to her brother. In her diary Lydia describes her first few months living with the Shakers and how she eventually adjusts and finds some happiness in her new life.
I was really looking forward to this new Dear America book as the historical setting looked really interesting and unique. However, the main character, Lydia, seemed to adjust far too quickly to her new life. Her parents and little sister died, she and her brother were separated, she had to start a totally new life in a place with very different rules and a new religion, where she could not even keep the few mementos she had of her family and old life - and less than a month later, she didn’t seem too sad or concerned and her only worry was that she thought her brother might be unhappy. It seemed more than a bit unrealistic for an eleven-year-old girl to adjust so quickly to so many losses and I would have enjoyed the story more and found it more realistic if these changes in Lydia had taken place over a longer period of time. While the historical information was interesting - I hadn’t read any books before about Shaker life during this time period - ultimately, I just found the main character to be totally unrealistic. The historical detail and interesting setting are well written, and the book is possibly still worth a read if you are a dedicated fan of the series, but personally, how unrealistic the main character seemed pretty much ruined the book for me. (I gave it an extra star for the quality of the historical detail)...more
When Margaret Ann Brady was seven years old, her father died, and her mother died not long after. Eventually, her brother left her at an orphanage inWhen Margaret Ann Brady was seven years old, her father died, and her mother died not long after. Eventually, her brother left her at an orphanage in London and immigrated to America, hoping to find a good job there so that he could later pay for Margaret’s passage to America and they could be reunited. When Margaret is thirteen, in the spring of 1912, she gets the opportunity to travel to America and join her brother in Boston, in a different way than expected. Mrs. Carstairs, a wealthy American woman, is returning home on the maiden voyage of the R.M.S. Titanic, and wants a companion to keep her company during the voyage. She hires Margaret to be her companion, with passage to America as her payment.
First class on a ship like the Titanic is full of wonders to a young girl like Margaret, who grew up in poverty in a working-class neighborhood in London and later in an orphanage. She enjoys exploring the ship and meets Robert, a handsome young steward working on the ship. But the excitement of the voyage turns to tragedy when the Titanic hits an iceberg and sinks.
I read this book when it was first published years ago as part of the Dear America series, which is now being re-released for a new generation of readers. This book wasn’t one of my top favorites from the series, since I was a bit sick of Titanic books at the time - it was originally published shortly after the Titanic movie was released. However, it is still a very enjoyable read, and both new and old fans of the Dear America series are sure to enjoy it....more
This book is one in the My Story series. The books in this series are fictional diaries of young girls living during different periods of British, ScoThis book is one in the My Story series. The books in this series are fictional diaries of young girls living during different periods of British, Scottish, and Irish history.
Twelve-year-old Catherine Lumsden, called Kitty by her friends and family, is the daughter of Tilly Middleton, the main character from a previous My Story book by the author, "Bloody Tower." Having enjoyed keeping a diary at that age, Tilly gives her daughter a diary of her own to write in. It is November of 1583 in England, and Elizabeth I is queen. There are constant rumors going about of plots against the Queen by those who wish to put a Catholic monarch on the throne. Kitty is worried about the threat of foreign invasion, and suspecting that her father and brother may be spies charged with keeping the Queen safe, Kitty determines that she will find out the truth.
This book was an enjoyable way to learn about the history of the time and the plots against Queen Elizabeth I such as the Babington plot which is featured prominently in the book. The diary format was easy and enjoyable to read, and the many appearances by historical figures of the time were well-incorporated. I'd recommend this book to readers who enjoyed other books in the My Story series as well as to those who are interested in historical novels set in this time period. ...more
Isabelle begins her diary in the summer of 1792, when she is thirteen. Raised the privileged daughter of an aristocrat in a chateau outside of Paris,Isabelle begins her diary in the summer of 1792, when she is thirteen. Raised the privileged daughter of an aristocrat in a chateau outside of Paris, Isabelle is frightened and confused by all the changes brought about by the French Revolution. Because she cannot speak freely of her fears, she begins a diary where she can write down all her thoughts and true feelings as everything in her life changes. Because she was born into an aristocratic family, many of the revolutionaries hate Isabelle and her family simply for who they are.
The news from Paris grows worse every day. The royal family are imprisoned and the king is executed. Many of her friends, neighbors, and relatives have fled to the countryside or left France to seek safety in other countries. Isabelle and her own family eventually leave their home, hoping to find refuge in their old chateau in the countryside, but even there they are not safe forever, and are eventually imprisoned. Throughout this difficult time Isabella keeps writing in her diary, hoping that someday the Revolution will be over, she will be free again, and have her diary as a record of all she went through, to show her own children someday.
The Fall of the Blade is enjoyable addition to the My Story series, and I am glad to see the series branching out recently and featuring books set in places other than England. The French Revolution has always been a time in history I found interesting so I really enjoyed reading Isabelle’s story. I do wish the book had been a bit longer and that the ending had been more detailed as I wanted to know what happened to some of the other characters. But overall this was an enjoyable book that I would recommend to readers who enjoyed other My Story books or books from other similar series such as the Dear America or Royal Diaries series. ...more
This book is one of the books in the My Australian Story series, which is an Australian version of Dear America, featuring the fictional diaries of yoThis book is one of the books in the My Australian Story series, which is an Australian version of Dear America, featuring the fictional diaries of young people during different events in Australian history.
The year is 1790, in colonial Sydney, Australia. Elizabeth Harvey, or Lizzie as she is called, is a young girl sent to Sydney Cove as a convict. Wrongly convicted of stealing from her employer, Lizzie was forced to leave behind her beloved brother in England and was transported to Sydney, where she lives in servitude. Life is very difficult in the colony, and food is scarce. Will Lizzie survive to ever see her brother and home again?
Written in the form of Lizzie's diary, this book brought to life the early days of colonial Australia through the eyes of young convict girl. The book describes the injustices faced by the lower class in early England and the hardships of settling a new land. I recommend this book to young readers who enjoy historical fiction written in diary form and who enjoyed other books in the My Story series. ...more