Towell, Ann. Grease Town.
Titus stows away with his older brother and travels to Oil Springs, Ontario in 1863, seeking adventure. He is tired of his life in the US with his aunt, and tired of having trouble with the other boys in school. The work in the oil fields is hard and unpleasant, but life is even more unpleasant for Moses, a free black boy who lives in a shantytown, whom Titus befriends. When bounty hunters come from the US to look for escaped slaves and precipitate a riot in order to drive the black population from town, Titus realizes how difficult life is for Moses, and decides to do the right thing and testify against the hunters.
This is a Canadian book, so offers a different view from books about slavery around the time of the Civil War in the US. It would have been helpful if the time frame had been mentioned before the very end of the book, and at first, I was laboring under the delusion that Titus was black, which didn't make much sense, but this is still an interesting read about a period of history often covered in the 8th grade curriculum.
A Sign That You Have Been Reading Too Many Vampire Books: As I was coming across the creek on my way to work, there was a mist rising in the moonlight, and I thought "Hmm. This would be an excellent place for vampires to hang out and attack me!" When Rick Yancey's The Curse of the Wendigo comes out on October 19, I may just have to walk to work with a poker instead of biking, although that probably would offer little resistance to the anthropophagi!
Classroom Uses For a Kindle: I've been playing with the school Kindle a bit, and one of the language arts teachers used it to read the sample chapter from Rick Riordan's upcoming The Lost Hero to a class studying The Lightning Thief. I'm investigating how to use it with struggling readers, since it has text-to-speech capabilities for some books, which is why the Kindle was bought with grant money. Does anyone have any hints for using a Kindle in the library?