The Left Behinds series so far contains two different historical fiction novels with time travel adventures in which preteens must save the day. In The iPhone that Saved George Washington, three kids travel to 1776 to discover that George Washington has been shot. Can they reverse this alternate history before history is changed forever? In Abe Lincoln and the Selfie that Saved the Union, the same kids must stop a change in the Battle of Gettysburg. Will they be quick enough?Continue Reading
Somewhere Among by Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu is a novel in poetry about the effect of September 11, 2001 about a Japanese-American girl living in Japan. As Ema prepares in her grandparent’s home for the arrival of a new sibling, she struggles with bullying in her school, as the other students tease her and she adjusts to a very Japanese school in a new neighborhood.
Then, in shock, she hears of the unfolding of the terrorist attacks in the USA. Now she is even more torn between her identity as a biracial and bi-national girl in her school, and she struggles with the relationship with her grandparents as well. Is there any hope for the world if the USA goes down? How can she go to school as if nothing has happened? And how can she handle the bully she must face when she does return to class?Continue Reading
Chloe in India by Kate Darnton is about an American preteen trying to find her place while living in a foreign country. Chloe is a preteen American girl who has moved to India, but she dislikes living there because she is the outsider. She has blonde hair, she doesn’t know Hindi, and she doesn’t quite understand the social circles in her small private school. As most fifth graders may feel, she wants to be popular.
Chloe’s story is one of growing into yourself and being okay with who you are. Although she really wants to fit in with the most popular girl in school, she recognizes that this girl is not nice and is actually not really any fun. The school system in India is such that the private schools are required to provide spaces for children who are unable to afford it. This is to give everybody the opportunity of a good education. One such poor girl, Lakshmi, joins Chloe’s class, and the two girls finds they have a special bond with each other. They enjoy playing after school hours at the playground together, and they both feel out of place in their new school.
When the school has a dance contest Chloe and Lakshmi decide to practice a winning dance together. They are determined to win! However, when it comes down to it, at school, Chloe is still torn because she wants to be a part of the popular girl’s circle well.
Chloe in India is a nice look at a culture that I was not familiar with. I like that we can see this glimpse into Delhi and that in the end, Chloe became comfortable with who she is. It was predictable, but I am glad she found the ability to stand up for her new friend.
I think it’s important to note that Chloe in India is full of subtle cultural and social commentary (Chloe’s mother was a sensational journalist) so obviously this book also became that. That’s not a bad thing: I think it is important for children to understand different cultures and the commentary gave such a glimpse. The book was not only commentary: it certainly was a fun story as well.
Note: I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration.
Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman is a strange, dream-like story. It is a story told by a father to his children when he took too long to go to the store and get some milk. When he came home with the milk, the children asked why it had taken so long. The remainder of the book is a clever and ridiculous story that the father tells in order to convince his children that he had been gone for good reason.Continue Reading