Tarshis, Lauren. I Survived #7: I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863
1 February 2013, Scholastic
Copy received from Young Adult Books Central and Reviewed there
Thomas and his sister Birdie are slaves on a plantation. After the death of their mother, a cousin, Clem, looked out for the two until he was sold to a cruel master. When Thomas finds out he is about to face the same fate, he and Birdie run off into the woods. When the two run into a Yankee soldier who is about to be killed by a Rebel one, Thomas throws a nearby skunk at the two, saving Henry's life. Henry is so grateful that he has the two children accompany his troop back to Pennsylvania, where they unfortunately get caught up in the terrible battle of Gettysburg. At one point, Birdie is taken captive, but Henry and Thomas manage to rescue her. Thomas manages to survive, thanks to a book in a metal case that Henry gave him to carry. Although Henry doesn't survive, he has made arrangements for the siblings to be cared for by his family in Vermont.
Strengths: For short, easy-to-read books, this series packs a huge historical wallop. Tarshis mentions in a note the research involved in writing this book, and it shows. I loved the action and adventure, as well as the nice touches like the skunk throwing. These are perfect for elementary students, and certainly would have been something I order through the Scholastic book clubs when my own children were younger. For middle school students, these are fast, easy reads that also teach them a whole lot when they least expect it!
Weaknesses: Sometimes the prose is a bit wooden, but not as often as I would expect for a low level reader.
Anderson, Tanya. Tillie Pierce: Teen Eyewitness to the Battle of Gettysburg
by Tanya Anderson
1 April 2012, Twenty First Century Books
E ARC from Netgalley.com
lived in Gettysburg and was in school when soldiers appeared in her
town. She rushed home, and when things looked bad, a neighbor asked if
Tillie would come with her and her two small daughters to her father's
farm three miles out of town. This seemed like a good plan; Tillie would
be safe, and the neighbor would have help with her girls. Instead, this
journey took them perilously close to the fighting, and Tillie ended up
ministering to the wounded who were brought to the farmhouse. This book
describes the area around Gettysburg, the military action that led up
to this particular battle, and the aftermath with which the people of
Gettysburg had to deal. The army didn't clean up all of the dead horses,
and you just can't leave those lying about in fields. Well-illustrated
and attractively presented, this book is one that I am definitely
purchasing. Our 8th grade travels to D.C. in the spring, with a stop at
Gettysburg, and this is an excellent introduction.
I had the E ARC and the actual digital book might be different, I found
the digital version to be extremely frustrating. It would not load at
all on my Nook, and turning pages on an iPad took anywhere from 12
seconds to 5 minutes and 25 minutes. Yes, I got so bored waiting that I
timed it. The pictures came out very nicely on the iPad, but I read the
entire newspaper while waiting for the pages to turn. Please note that
this refers only to the digital ARC.
It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts. Both sites have lots of links to reviews about books that are great for the 4th through 8th grader. It's also Nonfiction Monday, hosted this week at A Wrung Sponge.