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Katie > Historical Fiction and Biography (choose 2)

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Katie Manuel | 21 comments Shooting the Moon by Frances O'Roark Dowell

Shooting the Moon by Frances O'Roark Dowell

This is a historical fiction novel set during the Vietnam War and taking place on an Army base in Fort Hood, Texas. It is told from the point of view of a thirteen year old girl named Jamie, whose father is a Colonel and brother, T.J., is off fighting in Vietnam. T.J. send Jamie rolls of film instead of letters, and slowly she begins to learn that fighting for your country is not as glamorous as she had originally thought. In the beginning, she was almost jealous that T.J. got to fight in the war and she couldn't. After conversing with many of the younger soldiers on the base and taking a closer look at her brother's photos, she begins to question whether or not she should have encouraged him to go. She also begins to see her dad more as person with real emotions, not just an Army Colonel who she's admired her entire life.

Even though this is a historical fiction novel, I think it feels more like realistic fiction in the aspect that the emotions of the characters could apply to any decade, including now. It would be a great book to use when studying any wars during social studies. I have had both boys and girls recommend this book to me, so I think it can appeal to most kids. If used as a read aloud or literature discussion group novel, it would lend itself toward lessons about character motivations and how sometimes a major life event can change someone's opinion about something drastically.

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Katie Manuel | 21 comments Behind the Bedroom Wall by Laura E. Williams

Behind the Bedroom Wall: A Novel of Nazi Germany by Laura E. Williams

This book won the Milkweed Prize for Children's Literature.

As I mentioned in class, I've always been fascinated by historical fiction books taking place during the Holocaust. This book was so different than the many others that I've read because it is told from the point of view of a 13 year old German girl who is a member of a Nazi youth group. She has been brainwashed to believe that Hitler is helping solve a big problem in her country and is horrified to find out that her parents are actually providing shelter to a Jewish family in her own home. After getting to know the Jewish family's point of view in this situation, she feels torn between two very different loyalties.

I think this is such an important novel because it really shows a different side to the Holocaust. So many stories paint all Germans to be horrible people during that time period, so I found it very intriguing to hear what might have gone on in the lives and thoughts of German children as they witnessed and participated in events they were expected to support. It really shows the importance of seeing another person's side of a story before forming a strong opinion. I'm thinking about using this book as a read aloud this year.

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