Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Blog Tour: The Oddmire, Book 1: The Changling by Will Ritter

I am a big, big fan of William Ritter's Jackaby Series, and when I was asked if I would like to be part of the blog tour for the first book in his new middle-grade series set in the same world as Jackaby, I said, "Absolutely!" And let me tell you, this book is a real treat.


The Oddmire, Book One: The Changling by William Ritter

Publisher/ Year: Algonquin Young Reader - July 16, 2019

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Source: Review copy from the publisher


ABOUT THE BOOK


The first book in an action-packed fantasy adventure series featuring witches, shape-shifters, and other creatures of fairytale and folklore, including two brothers—one human and one a goblin changeling—on a life-changing quest into the Oddmire.

“Funny, exciting, and ultimately epic. Wow. I can’t wait for the next one.” —Adam Gidwitz, author of the New York Times bestseller A Tale Dark and Grimm

Magic is fading from the Wild Wood. To renew it, goblins must perform an ancient ritual involving the rarest of their kind—a newborn changeling. But when the fateful night arrives to trade a human baby for a goblin one, something goes terribly wrong. After laying the changeling in a human infant’s crib, the goblin Kull is briefly distracted from his task. By the time he turns back, the changeling has already perfectly mimicked the human child. Too perfectly: Kull cannot tell them apart. Not knowing which to bring back, he leaves both babies behind.

Tinn and Cole are raised as human twins, neither knowing what secrets may be buried deep inside one of them. Then when they are twelve years old, a mysterious message arrives, calling the brothers to be heroes and protectors of magic. The boys must leave behind their sleepy town of Endsborough and risk their lives in the Wild Wood, crossing the perilous Oddmire swamp and journeying through the Deep Dark to reach the goblin horde and discover who they truly are.

In The Oddmire 1: Changeling, the New York Times bestselling author of the Jackaby series brings to life a bold new adventure, the first in a series about monsters, magic, and mayhem.

 Goodreads | Amazon | Audible | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | The Book Depository



MY THOUGHTS


The Oddmire, Book 1: The Changling is absolutely enchanting. The best part, for me, was the relationship between Tinn and Cole. The two brothers are in it together for the long haul. They both wish for the best case scenario, not for themselves, but for their brother. I just loved reading about these twins. They are clever and kind and mischievous. It's really the best combination.

Another bright point in the novel is Tinn and Cole's mother, Annie Burton. Annie might just be my favorite character in the whole book. You know how parents tend to be absent and/or non-existent in middle-grade fantasy novels? Well, that is not the case in this book, and it is so refreshing. William Ritter demonstrates that you can send kids on adventures and have a present, fiercely devoted, and protective parent, even in a fantasy book. Annie is such a spitfire.

The magic of the Oddmire is very fun. This book feels like a traditional fairy tale where, once you go into the wood, magic is everywhere. I really liked the characters we met in the Wild Wood. Some were funny. Some were mysterious. Some were frightening. Some were all three.

Also, the book is also illustrated by the author, and I the silhouette drawings at the beginning of each chapter make the book a little extra special.

I read this book aloud to my fourth-grader, and we had such a fun time reading it together. I highly recommend sharing this book with the younger readers in your life.

BUT YOU DON'T HAVE TO TAKE MY WORD FOR IT


Here's what an actually middle-grader (my fourth-grader) had to say about the book:

I think this book is kind of mysterious. I really liked the mystery in the book. I kept reading because I wanted know which brother was the goblin. I also liked the other characters, especially the ones the boys met in the Wild Woods. Those characters are both very mysterious and funny. I won't tell you much about them because I think you should meet them yourselves and be surprised. I couldn't wait to keep reading this book so that I could find out what happens next. 

And there you have it, folks. It's always fun to find books that he enjoys. We're already looking forward to reading the next book in the series together.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


William Ritter is an Oregon author and educator. He is the proud father of the two bravest boys in the Wild Wood, and husband to the indomitable Queen of the Deep Dark. The Oddmire, Book 1: Changeling is his first book for middle-grade readers. 

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook



Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Highly Anticipated Book Releases for the Second Half of 2019

The year is half over, which means we can start looking forward to all the fall releases. I have a hefty list of highly anticipated new books this time around. I'm looking forward to the next book in several series. I'm eager to read new books by several authors who I absolutely adore. I've also got a few new to me authors on this list, and I can't wait to give their books a go. What books are you eagerly awaiting?
The Philosopher's War by Tom Miller
The first book in this series, The Philosopher's Flight, was such a surprising delight. It was one of my favorite books of 2018, and I'm so excited for the sequel. (series featured here)

Maybe This Time by Kasie West
I've read nearly all of Kasie West's books, and this one about a girl who works for a local florist sounds delightful. (Kasie West's books featured here)

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee
I've never read any of Stacey Lee's books, which is a real shame because I love historical fiction. I'm going dive into her oeuvre with her newest book about a girl who works as a lady's maid in turn-of-the-century Atlanta.

House of Salt and Sorrow by Erin Craig
This debut novel is a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses fairy tale. It's been too long since I've read a good fairy tale retelling.

Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake
The conclusion to the Three Dark Crowns series. Need I say more? (series featured here, here, and here)

Bid My Soul Farewell by Beth Revis
Earlier this year I read the first book in this series, and I loved it. I'm excited to find out what happens next. (series featured here)

Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell
I wasn't expecting to love Carry On as much as I did. I really, really loved it. I'm up for more Simon, Baz, and Penny. (series featured here)

The Tyrant's Tomb by Rick Riordan
I love the Trials of Apollo series. Now that we know who the three emperors are that make up the evil Triumvirate (which I successfully guessed, by the way), what's going to happen? (series featured here)

The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett
I love Jenn Bennett's contemporaries, and I love historical fiction. I'm excited to journey to the Carpathian Mountains with these characters. (Jenn Bennett's books featured here)

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys
Ruta Sepetys is a master of historical fiction. Her newest book is set in General Francisco Franco's fascist Spain in 1957. (Ruta Sepetys's books featured here)

Our Year in Love and Parties by Karen Hattrup
I adored Karen Hattrup's debut novel. I read it in one sitting, and it was one of my favorite books of 2016. I'm so excited to read her sophomore book. (Frannie and Tru featured here)

Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby
Bone Gap was my favorite book of 2015. A World War II novel by Laura Ruby is almost too good to be true. (Bone Gap featured here)

In the Hall with the Knife by Diana Peterfreund
I've been a big fan of Diana Peterfreund's books for years now. This new book sounds like so much fun. It's a mystery based on the board game Clue. Basically, it sounds like the perfect Halloween read. (Diana Peterfreund's books featured here)

10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston
This books takes place during Christmas, and I love the idea of reading it during December. It's about Sophie who, after a bad breakup, gets set-up on a series of blind dates by extended family members.

The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White
Kiersten White is taking on the Arthurian legends, and I am here for it. (Kiersten White's books featured here)

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
Like so many people, I am so excited that the author of The Night Circus has a new book out this November. 

Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater
I will never not be excited for a new Maggie Stiefvater book. She's returning to the world of The Raven Boys with this series about Ronan Lynch and his family. (Maggie Stiefvater's books featured here)

Supernova by Marissa Meyer
The conclusion to the Renegades series! (series featured here)

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Reading on a Theme: American Girls Abroad

These books gave us a serious case of wanderlust. I love to read books about traveling in the summer. They are the perfect books to take on a trip, or, if you aren't traveling, they allow you to dream of exciting new places.

Doha, Qatar:
Zayneb gets suspended for challenging an Islamophobic teacher, and her parents send her to Doha, Qatar to stay with her aunt. Adam is traveling home to Doha for spring break and dreading having to break some bad news to his father. Turns out, Zayneb's aunt and Adam's father work at the same international school, and the two spend their break together and learn to face their fears. I loved S.K. Ali's first novel, and her sophomore book is just as wonderful. I enjoyed so much about this book. I really loved the Doha setting, Adam's kindness, and Zayneb's passion. The "Marvels" and "Oddities" journal format made for a really clever telling as well. Love from A to Z was out April 30, 2019. Review copy from NetGalley. 


London, England:
Shane's college experience isn't going so well. Sure she has fantastic grades and is on track for medical school, but she doesn't have any good friends and her romantic prospects are even worse. Plus, med school is more her parents' dream than her own, so Shane takes matters into her own hands and decides to reinvent herself on study abroad in London. But, in London, Shane learns she's still Shane, and it will take courage to go after her dreams. I adored Again, but Better. I found it so compulsively readable. Christine Riccio's debut brought back all the joy and all the insecurities of my study abroad experience. I loved the quirky characters. I love that they took advantage of their time abroad and saw things and went places. A fantastic tale of second chances. Again, but Better was out May 7, 2019. 


Sevilla, Spain:
High school senior, Emoni Santiago dreams of becoming a chef, and the new culinary arts program at her school is proving that Emoni has what it takes. Emoni desperately wants to go with the class on its study abroad trip to Spain, but with a two-year-old daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, the more responsible thing may be to stay home. I loved Elizabeth Acevedo's debut, The Poet X, and this book is every bit as magical. The prose is a departure from Ms Acevedo's early verse novel, but the narration is still so beautifully lyrical. I loved Emoni's voice and maturity. The imagery in this book is so vivid, and the characters so well drawn. With the Fire on High was out May 7, 2019. 


Kyoto, Japan:
Kimi Nakamura has been keeping a secret from her mother, and when the secret comes out, it seems like the ticket to Japan from her estranged grandparents couldn't have arrived at a better time. So, to escape her mother, Kimi hops on a plane a flies halfway around the world to stay with grandparents she's never met. I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn is such a cute read. I love books about family and finding family, and it was so delightful to see Kimi connect with her grandparents and start to see how that connection could help her understand herself and her mother better. There's also a very sweet romance in this book with a boy who occasionally dresses as a giant mochi mascot. I Love You So Mochi was out May 28, 2019.


Oxford, England:
Ella Durran is finally living one of her life-long goals: she's a Rhodes scholar at Oxford. She's also just been offered a job that's got her poised to have a promising political career once she returns to the States. Well-laid plans go awry when Ella falls for her English tutor, Jamie Davenport. At first it's just a fling, but things get real when Ella discovers that Jamie is keeping a big secret. My Oxford Year is voice actor Julia Whelan's first novel, and I found it completely engrossing. The connection between Ella and Jamie is so mesmerizing, and I was on the edge of my seat hoping that things would go right for them. Listen to the audiobook if you can, it's narrated by the author. My Oxford Year was out April 2018.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Favorite Audiobook Narrators

June is Audiobook Month and that is exactly the kind of non-holiday I can get behind. I am a huge audiobook fan. I listened to 89 audiobooks in 2018, and that number is so large it's almost embarrassing. I almost always look up the narrator of my audiobook. I just like to know if I've listened to their voice before. As you can imagine, with so many audiobooks under my belt, I definitely have some favorite narrators. So, in celebration of Audiobook Month, here are eleven of my favorite narrators.

I've included links to Audible so that you can see what else these voice actors have narrated.You can find more audiobook recommendations here.


Fiona Hardingham:
Fiona Hardingham is a much beloved voice actor. She has narrated over 180 books. My favorite performance is her interpretation of Kiersten White's And I Darken trilogy. It's absolutely a tour de force. Other favorites narrated by Fiona Hardingham include Sabaa Tahir's An Ember in the Ashes series, Julie Berry's The Passion of Dolssa, and Megan Shepherd's The Secret Horse of Briar Hill.

Kate Rudd:
I love Kate Rudd's narration. She had narrated several books (and big ones too, like The Fault in Our Stars), but I didn't cross paths with her until I listened to Rysa Walker's Chronos Files. I loved that series and Kate Rudd's narration so much that I've kept my eye out for her ever since. I chose to listen to the audiobooks of Rysa Walker's next series, The Delphi Trilogy, and Maureen Johnson's Truly Devious because Kate Rudd was narrating.

Julia Whelan:
By including I'll Give You the Sun, I'm getting a two for one. Julia Whelan narrates Jude and Jesse Bernstin narrates Noah. I've loved many of the books Julia Whelan narrates, including Highly Illogical Behavior, Educated, and her own book, My Oxford Year.

Jesse Bernstein:
Jesse Bernstein is great as Jude's twin brother Noah in I'll Give You the Sun. I also really love his narration of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians. I have fond memories of listening to those books on a road trip with my brother and sister.

Bahni Turpin:
Bahni Turpin has narrated some huge books in the last few years, and she has more than delivered. I loved her voice acting for Angie Thomas's The Hate U Give and On the Come Up. She also narrated The Sun is Also a Star and Children of Blood and Bone, but I think my favorite is her narration of Dread Nation by Justina Ireland.

Robbie Daymond:
Robbie Daymond is so great as Apollo in Rick Riordan's Trials of Apollo series. Just thinking of his narration is making me smile because he delivers Apollo's bad poetry so well. Robbie Daymond has also narrated some of my other favorites including The Lost Sun by Tessa Gratton, John Corey Whaley's Highly Illogical Behavior (which I listened to in one sitting), Hope and Other Punch Lines by Julie Buxbaum, and One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus.

Neil Gaiman:
Neil Gaiman is an author who does a fantastic job narrating his own work. I once saw Neil Gaiman in person at a book event, and it was weird to have his voice coming out of his mouth because I was so used to listening to his disembodied narration. Some of my favorite Neil Gaiman books that he narrates himself are Neverwhere, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and Norse Mythology.

Katherine McEwan:
Katherine McEwan's narration of The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein made that book so much creepier. I really love her voice. It's very soothing and smooth. She also narrates Helene in The Ember and the Ashes series and reads Circling the Sun by Paula McLain. 

Rebecca Soler:
Rebecca Soler has narrated so many of my favorite books, and whenever I see that she's the narrator, it makes my decision of whether to read or listen that much easier. I found Rebecca Soler through Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles. She also narrates Stephanie Garber's Caraval series, Melissa Albert's The Hazel Wood, and Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore. 

Lincoln Hoppe:
I absolutely love the full cast audio of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff's Illuminae Trilogy. Everything about it is so engaging, but my favorite narrator of the bunch is Lincoln Hoppe who is absolutely remarkable as AIDAN. I was so happy to learn he was back narrating for Kaufman and Kristoff's new book, Aurora Rising.

Moira Quirk:
Moira Quirk is kind of a new favorite. I knew that I loved her when I listened to Gail Carriger's Finishing School series a few years ago, but what really solidified her on my favorite's list was her voice acting on Mackenzi Lee's The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, which is just perfection. 



Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Reading on a Theme: Dragons

Dragons are undeniably one of the best mythical beasts out there. We love seeing how each author makes the dragon mythology their own, and we have thoughts about this. If you are in the mood for a dragon book or two or five, might we suggest one of these?


Dragon Sanctuary:
Mira Minkoba wishes she could spend all her time at the dragon sanctuary, but as the Hopebearer and the face of the Mira Treaty, she is expected to behave far more properly. But even being the famous Mira Minkoba can't save her when she discovers something that threatens her home, the treaty, and the dragons she so loves. Before She Ignites alternates between "Before" and "After," allowing the mystery to unravel slowly as we came to know Mira. Jodi Meadows truly built a beautiful world. The Fallen Isles are full of rich cultures and interesting religions. I read the second book in the series immediately after finishing this one, and I'm looking forward to the conclusion, When She Reigns, out in September.


Night Dragons:
Onyx and Ivory follows the stories of Kate and Corwin. Childhood friends, the two have long-since been separated due to the traitorous actions of Kate's father. However, when a new threat arises in the form of drakes who attack in the daylight, Kate and Corwin's stories intertwine once again. Onyx and Ivory is another example of beautiful world-building. There's a medieval feel to the whole story and I was interested in the different kinds of magic and the rituals in this world. The drakes were a different kind of dragon, both fascinating and terrifying. I really enjoyed this read by Mindee Arnett and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the sequel, Shadow and Flame, out June 4, 2019.



Travels with Dragons:
Though ostensibly about a girl who's on a journey with her lesser-dragon companion to find a mythical beast, Tess of the Road is really about so much more than that. This new addition to Rachel Hartman's world of Seraphina is very philosophical and introspective. It's about healing from abuse, not fitting into your family, figuring out how to make your own way, and proving that you are capable. Tess of the Road is a hero's journey in the traditional sense because it really is a journey of self-discovery for Tess. And that self-discovery involves a heap of feminism and a dismantling of rape culture. Don't expect tons of action, but do expect greatness. Out February 27, 2018. Review copy from NetGalley.


Dragon Stories:
Asha is the daughter of the king of Firgaard.. She's also the Iskari, the fiercest dragon hunter in the realm. Asha has a secret. She's been telling the forbidden old stories to the dragons, and they listen. In The Last Namsara, Asha must uncover the truth about why the old ways are forbidden. I really enjoyed Kristen Ciccarelli's debut novel. The premise that dragons would listen to stories and tell their own back is pretty fantastic. I also really liked Ciccarelli's writing style. It helps to create a quiet, magical atmosphere, and it also has a folktale feel to it. I loved how the old stories were mingled with the narration. A companion novel, The Cage Queen, is out now, and the third book in the series, The Sky Weaver is out in November 2019.


Shape-Shifting Dragons:
The children of Vallen all dream of being ice wolves and defending their home against scorch dragons. All except siblings Anders and Rayna who are simply trying to survive on the streets. But when Anders discovers that he is an ice wolf and Rayna is a scorch dragon, he seeks a way to save her from the brutal dragons. This middle-grade selection by Amie Kaufman has the fantastic premise of people taking the shape of ice wolves or scorch dragons and I enjoyed watching Anders' understanding of his world change throughout the book. I will say that it took me some time to get into Ice Wolves, but I really enjoyed it in the end. The second book in the series Scorch Dragons was out March 26, 2019.


Before She Ignites, Onyx & Ivory, and Ice Wolves reviewed by Paige.
Tess of the Road and The Last Namsara reviewed by JoLee.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Young Adult Books for Pride Month

Here are some of my favorite picks for Pride Month. Happily, we are seeing more and more books that could fit into this list with every year that passes. What are some of the favorites on your list?


Contemporaries:

Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram (featured here)
A book about connection to family and friends. In Iran Darius meets Sohrab, who becomes the first really close friend he's ever had, and with that relationship Darius begins to understand himself. 

I'll Give You the Sun (featured here)
I really loved this story about twins Noah and Jude, who have become estranged. This book has some big issue-type topics in it, but they never overwhelmed the story. The themes of finding oneself, finding one's family, and being honest were my big takeaways.   

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whalen (featured here)
This is the story of Solomon, who hasn't left his house in three years, Lisa, the girl who believes she can fix him, and Clark, Lisa's charming boyfriend. This book is incredibly entertaining and thought-provoking with endearing characters.
 
Let's Talk About Love by Claire Kann
This book about Alice, whose girlfriend breaks up with her when she finds out she is asexual, is a great summer read. It balances the cute and serious and has great friendships. 

Historical Fiction:

The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein (featured here)
This book is a prequel to Code Name Verity. I love the vivid descriptions of Scotland, the mystery, and how much I learned about Scotland during this time period from this novel. 

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee
This book is really more of an historical fantasy novel. Both books in Lee's Montague Siblings series would work well for this list, but the second is my favorite of two because it is so charming and smartly feminist.

Fantasy:

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
All of the novels in the Wayward Children series are fantastically diverse. The first book in the series involves a mystery at the boarding school, and I always love a good mystery/ fantasy combo. Also, I love learning more about the imaginative worlds the children visited with each additional book in the series.

Graphic Novel:

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
This book has such a cute story. It's about a prince who hires a dressmaker to help him dress how he really feels. The understanding between the two main characters is really lovely, and I really loved the art.

Memoir:

Spinning by Tillie Walden
This graphic memoir is the story of the author's days on the ice as a competitive figure skater and synchronized skater. Tillie is keeping so many things to herself: her desire to quit skating, her romantic feelings toward girls, her unhappiness. It's a story about wanting to be yourself but not knowing how to make the changes needed to do so.

Nonfiction:

A Queen History of the United States for Young People by Michael Bronski
Adapted for a younger audience from Bronski's 2011 text, this book contains brief bios of LGBTQ+ people from all eras of United States history. 

Caper:

Death Prefers Blondes by Caleb Roehrig 
Caleb Roehrig's first two books are intense thrillers. This one is a caper involving a teen socialite turned cat burglar and her drag queen sidekicks. What's not to love?



Wednesday, June 5, 2019

World War II Nonfiction for Young Readers: D-Day Edition


June 6, 2019 is the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the landing at Normandy by the Allied Forces. As you know, I love a good commemorative post, and I wanted to put something together for this anniversary. This group of World War II history books for young readers has several books that include D-Day events. Though written with young readers in mind, these books are great for readers of any age.



D-Day: The World War II Invasion that Changed History by Deborah Hopkinson
On June 6, 1944 the allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy and began the final push that would end the war in Europe. This landing was product of months and years of planning and cost nearly 20,000 lives. Deborah Hopkinson's book is a great introduction to the Allied invasion. She very clearly lays out the circumstances leading up to the D-Day and then takes the readers through several of the crucial events of the day. With an event so momentous as D-Day, a history can get bogged down in the details. Hopkinson narrows the focus by primarily discussing the American efforts at Utah and Omaha beach, rather than trying to tackle the landings at all five beaches. My favorite part of the book is that it is filled with many firsthand and personal accounts, which helps the history come alive in a way that a strict military recounting cannot. This book would be a great resource for anyone who is doing a report or school project on D-Day or World War II, as it includes links to many other resources. Published August 28, 2018 by Scholastic Nonfiction.

Code Girls: The True Story of the American Women Who Secretly Broke Codes in World War II by Liza Mundy
I've long been fascinated by the stories of the codebreakers of World War II. However, I realized that most of the code breaking stories I was hearing came from the British, and I didn't know as much about the American codebreakers. Liza Mundy's young reader's adaptation of her bestselling book, tells the story of the more than ten thousand American women who were recruited to work as codebreakers for the U.S. Army and Navy. These women were recruited from colleges around the country. Many others had worked as teachers. Code breaking requires a variety of skills--language, math, pattern recognition, precision, etc. Those women who passed their crash course in code breaking, went on to help break the Japanese codes. They were not allowed to tell anyone what their real job was, and their work was classified for decades. I love books about the women's contributions to World War II, and this one is fascinating and informative. Published October 2, 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

The Perfect Horse: The Daring Rescue of Horses Kidnapped by Hitler by Elizabeth Letts
Hitler claimed  so much for the Germans, including land, art, and Europe's most renowned horses. Elizabeth Letts' young readers edition of her New York Times bestseller, tells the story of the fight to keep these horses safe during World War II. The book brings together the stories of the famous Austrian Lipizzaner Stallions and the Polish Arabian Thoroughbreds. Keeping the horses safe and fed was not small feat. Many were transported several times during the war years. The Americans come into play near the end of the war, when the horses were sheltered at a Czechoslovakian breeding farm. With the Soviet Army, who had been known to slaughter even the finest horses to feed its army, fast approaching the caretakers made the daring decision to go to the American forces for help. The Perfect Horse is a facet of the war that I had never heard about before reading this book. It's an excellent choice for animal lovers. Published February 12th 2019 by Delacorte Press. 

Secret Soldiers: How the U.S. Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis by Paul B. Janeczko
The Twenty-Third Special Troops or Ghost Army was created to perfect and deploy deception techniques that would mislead the Nazis and give the Allies the advantage of surprise. It was a unit made up of artists, actors, sound engineers, and set designers. They pulled off their deceptions by employing inflatable dummy tanks and guns, phony radio messages, sonic deception, and good acting. One of the first missions of the Twenty-Third was to convince the Nazis that D-Day would occur at Calais rather than Normandy and at a much later date. Once the invasion was underway the troops came to the continent to execute many other deceptions. I think the Ghost Army is a really fascinating aspect of military history, and this book is a very detailed look into the role they played. I liked that the book had information boxes about some of the key weapons and tactics of WWII and artist notebooks that featured prominent members of the troop. I would recommend it to a young reader who is on the older side or to a reader who really likes military history. Published April 23rd 2019 by Candlewick Press. Review copy from NetGalley.

Defying the Nazis: The Story of German Officer Wilm Hosenfeld by Hermann Vinke
Wilm Hosenfeld initially supported Hitler's conquests. He was stationed in Poland as the games director, and quickly grew disillusioned with the Nazi party. He quietly helped as many Poles and Jews as he could, employing them in his office, reunited them with their families, and doing his best to protect them from Nazi brutality. Older readers might have seen one of Hosenfeld's heroic acts of charity in the Oscar-winning film, The Pianist. Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Polish Jew Hosenfeld helped, did not even know the name of his benefactor for decades. What is perhaps most fascinating about Vinke's book is how he's able to reconstruct Hosenfeld's transformation through the many letters that he wrote to his wife and children. In them, we see Hosenfeld's eyes open slowly to the horrors of the Nazi regime. Vinke's book includes excerpts from many of Hosenfeld's letters and photographs of Hosenfeld and his family. Out September 30th 2018 from Star Bright Books. Review copy from NetGalley.

Standing Up Against Hate: How Black Women in the Army Helped Change the Course of WWII by Mary Cronk Farrell
The military was segregated during World War II, and this segregation extended to the newly formed women's units. This book tells the story of the African American women who enlisted in the Women's Army Corps (WAC). These black women faced discrimination from their commanders and from civilians. However, these segregated units also gave black women a large amount of autonomy and leadership opportunities. Charity Adams commanded the only black WAC battalion to serve overseas. Tasked to sort an enormous amount of mail, these women served with distinction and honor. Their time in England and France, countries which were far less prejudice than the United States, gave these women a glimpse of what America could become. This book is very engaging and well written, and I really enjoyed learning about these remarkable women and their legacy. This book and Steve Sheinkin's Port Chicago 50 are an excellent pair. I would definitely recommend reading them together. Published January 8th 2019 by Harry N. Abrams. Review copy from NetGalley.

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin
The military was segregated during World War II, and the African American men who joined the Navy were not permitted to go to sea. 300 men from an all-black unit stationed in Port Chicago, California were killed when the ammunition they were loaded onto ships at port exploded. When the men were ordered back to work, 244 refused to go, seeking safer working conditions; 50 would be charged with mutiny. Steve Sheinkin's book is an informative look at segregation and racism. I found the racism really horrifying, especially as it plays out in the courtroom. This book a very fast read that almost reads like a court procedural. Sheinkin makes a good case for this event being instrumental in the eventual desegregation of the military as well as an prelude to the Civil Rights movement. Published January 21, 2014 by Roaring Brook Press.


More World War II Wednesday posts here.
More History Books for Young Readers here.
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