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Episode 31 — Historical Fiction
|Grades||K – 6|
|Podcast Series||Chatting About Books: Recommendations for Young Readers
See all episodes in this series
|Original Air Date||Published February 10, 2011|
Music in this podcast is provided by Freeplay Music.
Calico Dorsey: Mail Dog of the Mining Camps
Author: Susan Lendroth
Illustrator: Adam Gustavson
Publisher: Tricycle Press, 2010
Kids who are pet lovers will enjoy this historical fiction picture book about Dorsey, a smart and tough border collie who delivered mail back and forth between Calico, California, and a nearby mining camp. Dorsey’s owners discovered, by chance, that he had the capability to travel back and forth on his own. Kids can read how this incredible dog’s young owner Nellie helped to train him and the excitement that the miners and postman felt when this determined dog made his first official United States Postal Service mail run. Make sure to check out the photograph of the real Dorsey at the back of the book.
How to Get Rich on a Texas Cattle Drive
Author: Tod Olson
Illustrator: Scott Allred and Gregory Proch
Publisher: National Geographic, 2010
This book is the latest in Tod Olson’s fictional How to Get Rich series. Told through the journal entries of Little John Larkin, readers will get to experience the life of a cowboy at a pivotal time in history. Little John (who isn’t real and isn’t that little) sets out with $20, a generous loan from his dad, to try his luck as a cowboy. He begins as a cowhand and, after tiring of ranch life, signs up with the formidable Shanghai to make a cattle run. Though Little John loves life as a cattleman, ranchers and farmers are fencing their land and the life of cattledriving and cowboys is quickly coming to an end. So Little John joins Wild Bill Hickok’s Show where he finds a way to be a well-paid and famous cowboy, just like he wanted. What makes this book so fun are the illustrations and photographs that go along with the journal entries. Kids will enjoy reading the memoir of the fictional Little John, perusing the illustrations, and might even find themselves wanting to know more about the history of the Wild West!
Author: Jenny Moss
Publisher: Walker & Company, 2009
Set in a small Texas town during the 1918 Spanish Influenza pandemic, Winnie’s War is about 12-year-old Winnie, who has plenty to figure out about life without the threat of a deadly disease. Winnie must come to terms with her mother, who is distant and suffering from her own tragic past, a grandmother, who is tough and unbending, friendships that are changing, and her first love. All of these normal preteen situations occur in the midst of a time in history when the fast-spreading influenza threatens and takes some of the people closest to Winnie. Moss does an excellent job of capturing the spirit and resilience of humans in her characters while sharing a piece of history that kids might not know about.
Emily chats with Jenny Moss, the author of Winnie’s War. Jenny discusses why she chose this particular time in history, how she created the character Winnie, and how she was able to weave history into her story. Listen in as they also discuss Winnie’s relationships in the book and how historical fiction can still be pertinent to kids today.