The Good Lord Bird (James McBride): Hands down, this was the best book I’ve read in awhile. It’s a fictionalized account of John Brown, and both Brown and the book’s narrator (Henry/Onion) were vivid and remarkable. Even as the story marched toward the inevitable historical conclusion, I waited for a last-minute miracle to save them… and somehow McBride pulled that off.
Gene Card (E.E. Giorgi) is a sci-fi thriller heavy on the science, which is realistic and compelling. Gene Card occurs in a disastrous future in which all the characters are complicated and no one’s motives are pure.
The Boys in the Boat (Daniel James Brown). I loved this book and even regretted loaning Sam my kindle while I was reading it. Brown tells the story of the US 1936 Olympic crew from childhood through their brush with the Nazis, and I couldn’t put it down.
The Watch that Ends the Night (Alan Wolff). This was a reread for me, and I did a test read with the children, who keep asking for it. It’s the story of the Titanic from many perspectives. In free verse. Longer review here.
Peace and Bread: The Story of Jane Adams (Stephanie Sammartino McPherson). This biography of Jane Adams was a surprise hit with the under-13 crowd, and I found myself reading ahead. Free from sentimentality. Inspiring.
Finding Calcutta (Mary Poplin): Another reread, and absolutely worth coming back to. Poplin’s observations about her time with the Missionaries of Charity are incisive and compelling. I’m glad I found it again.
From This Day Forward (Elswyth Thane): A Thane romance between a famous singer and a scientist in the 1930’s. Last time I read it I hadn’t been to Guatemala yet, and I enjoyed her descriptions of Central America. I see how reading this book as a teenager shaped my ideas of marriage.
Okay for Nor (Gary Schmidt): I was skeptical that any book would live up to The Wednesday Wars, but Schmidt did it again. This family is in grave distress, but the painful beginning is powerfully redeemed by the end.