set in Boston area during revolution; scientists raise the son of an enslaved African princess to determine his intellectual capacity. At first, he'sset in Boston area during revolution; scientists raise the son of an enslaved African princess to determine his intellectual capacity. At first, he's raised like a prince and taught Greek, Latin, and music, etc., but then they loose their funding and are taken over by a group of southern slaveholders who want to confirm the inferiority of slaves, and his education is altered to ensure the findings they want. Most of the story takes place inside the 'college' and anything happening outside its walls is only discussed as rumor. At one point he runs away and becomes a soldier, but ultimately rumor of him reaches his owners and he's caught (at the time, a well spoken African American with a high level classical education stuck out). At which point he becomes the man in the iron mask, pictured on the book's cover.
Its a very interesting read, and the author's note helps to explain some otherwise inexplicable story choices. An interesting literary exercise that would help to reinforce things already taught, but not really helpful as a teaching tool of the revolution. It might however be helpful in a history of science type class, for younger students...more
Salem Witch-trials: begins w/historical context of plague, religious & Indian conflicts (from Phillip's war to hostage raids), and property disputSalem Witch-trials: begins w/historical context of plague, religious & Indian conflicts (from Phillip's war to hostage raids), and property disputes. From that background as well as the pre-story of the central characters, the motivations for false claims of witch are woven. The local is actually Andover, the town that accounted for more than 1/3 of those who where accused during the Salem witch-trials. The book doesn't actually begin the events we associate with witch trials until the end of chapter 5 (44%).
The story is well researched, and is of the actual ancestors of the author. It includes the text of the original indictment brought against the mother.
Needs a glossary: Son of a Knight, partially paralyzed by illness, overcomes his disability and saves the castle. Probably Edward III's reign but I'mNeeds a glossary: Son of a Knight, partially paralyzed by illness, overcomes his disability and saves the castle. Probably Edward III's reign but I'm not sure, the language is styled to emulate the period and still be readable. Lots of talk of the plague, the wars with Scotland, etc. Starts slow but towards the climax (which isn't until close to the end) the book actually gets exciting, and you find yourself cheering for him in the final pages. The only major problem I have with this book is the language is REALLY difficult, as in at least every page has between one to five words that most kids won't know, I'm a 46 year old Ph.D and found myself racking my brain for definitions on some words, and was clueless on a handful of others (the author loads the difficult words in the front 1/2 of the book so that it's almost like a challenge to the readers,'if you can overcome the boredom that comes from reading a book significantly above your grade level, you get to find out how great this book really is'). For todays kids this book really needs a glossary. Maybe this is because it came out in the early 50's (before every household had a TV) and kids read more back then. ...more
1793, yellow-fever epidemic in Philadelphia --our capitol at that time, Washington is President: really well written, reveals the best and the worst o1793, yellow-fever epidemic in Philadelphia --our capitol at that time, Washington is President: really well written, reveals the best and the worst of human nature in a way that feels like war time. The main character is the daughter of a single mother who runs a coffee house, which is considered a respectable business for a woman to own. The state of medicine at the time is discussed, with the struggle between the French doctors who believe in boiling water and cleanliness vs. US ones who still believe in letting blood and having patients consume mercury. Of course this is also a coming of age book, as the realities she must confront change her and mature her from a slightly lazy teenage girl with big dreams, to someone capable of facing the challenges of life.
by the same author as of Chains & Forge (also historical fiction), as well as Speak, which was a major hit with young adult readers....more