The Wonder Smith and His Son by Ella Young (published 1927) tells traditional Irish tales about the Gubban Saor, a magical builder (spelled elsewhere on the web as Gobán Saor). I had not been familiar with this traditional character from Irish history, so these stories were all new to me! They were quite strange. Unlike

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With a strong Nantucket setting, Downright Dencey by Caroline Snedeker (published 1927) is the story of a developing friendship between a Quaker girl and the young, poor orphan boy who lives on the outskirts of town. More deeply, however, it is a sweet old-fashioned story of Christian conversion and what it means to find forgiveness and

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Smoky the Cowhorse by Will James (published 1926) is an animal book telling of one young horse from the day he was born until his old age retirement. Smoky learns in a free, mountainous home for his early years, is broken in as a cow horse by a loving cowboy, spends years rounding up cattle,

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Although I tend to prefer realistic fiction (historical or contemporary), the animal story The Eyes and the Impossible by Dave Eggers (Alfred A. Knopf, May 2023) was an amusing read with a unique narrator and clever situations. Johannes, a free dog in a large park, is just a dog, the author reminds us in the

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Shen of the Sea by Arthur Bowie Chrisman (first published 1925) is a collection of stories taking place in China and featuring Chinese traditions. Although some of the tales are interesting reading, the lack of authenticity and subtle racism of the past make it a questionable book to give young children today. There are many

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The Voyagers: Being Legends and Romances of Atlantic Discovery by Padraic Colum (published 1925; reissued 2022 by Smidgen Press) was awarded a 1926 Newbery Honor. The subtitle describes the book very well. With a framework of Henry the Navigator viewing the Atlantic from a tall tower, various medieval scholars tell the tales of the lost

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The origin of the Iñupiaq Messenger Feast (an ancient tradition for native Alaskans) is retold in the magical middle grade novel Eagle Drums by Nasugraq Rainey Hopson (Roaring Brook Press, 2023). Piŋa is a resourceful and helpful young man for his father and mother, but when he goes to the mountain to collect obsidian rock, he

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TIn Mexikid: A Graphic Memoir by Pedro Martin (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2023), the author shares a pivotal time from his childhood, specifically when he traveled to Mexico to retrieve his ailing grandfather and return with him to the United States. Pedro, who is also called Peter, feels conflicted by his half-American, half-Mexican identity,

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The Dream Coach by Anne Parrish (illustrated by Dillwyn Parrish; Macmillan, 1924) is a collection of a poem and four stories that are named the dreams of four children around the world. The children include a princess, a boy from Norway, a young Chinese boy “emperor,” and a French boy in the countryside. Each story

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Middle grade readers will find themselves in for a fantastic and magical “backyard” adventure when they read Elf Dog and Owl Head by M.T. Anderson (illustrated by Junyi Wu; Candlewick 2023). This novel’s summary threw me off, because it sounded like it would be about a boy dealing with the annoyance of remaining home during

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Middle grade novel Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga (HarperCollins, 2019) captures one teen girl’s perspective as a Syrian refugee to America. Even without using dates within the text, Other Words for Home feels sadly applicable today since the Syrian conflict still rages and refugees flee to America from many different countries. Jude’s life

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