Each month I get to visit with two high school English classes to talk about books for independent reading. For November's visit I focused on historical fiction matched with a nonfiction book about the same time period, event, or person(s). So, shared here are some of the matched books that I brought to the classes. Fiction covers are on the left, nonfiction covers are on the right.
To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party, by Skila Brown, 2016. A young survivor of the tragic Donner Party of 1846 describes how her family and others became victims of freezing temperatures and starvation. (Novel in verse.)
The Perilous Journey of the Donner Party, by Marian Calabro, 1999. Uses materials from letters and diaries written by survivors of the Donner Party to relate the experiences of that ill-fated group as they endured horrific circumstances on their way to California in 1846-47.
Donner Dinner Party, Nathan Hale, 2013. The Reed family struggles to survive the wagon train journey from Illinois to California as members of the ill-fated Donner Party. (comic book format)
Women of the Frontier: 16 Tales of Trailblazing Homesteaders, Entrepreneurs, and Rabble-Rousers, by Brandon Marie Miller, 2013. Drawing on journal entries, letters and song lyrics to evoke the courage and spirit of female pioneers and early activists, a collection of portraits traces the heroic lives of such individuals as Amelia Stewart Knight, Miriam Colt and Clara Brown.Projekt 1065, by Alan Gratz, 2016. Michael, son of the Irish ambassador to Nazi Germany in Berlin, is a spy for the British Secret Service. He has joined the Hitler Youth, and pretending that he agrees with their violence and book-burning is hard enough--but when he is asked to find out more about "Projekt 1065" both his and his parents' lives get a lot more dangerous.
Hitler Youth: Growing up in Hitler's Shadow, by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, 2005.The story of a generation of German young people who devoted all their energy to the Hitler Youth and the propaganda that brought Hitler his power, and the youths that resisted the Nazi movement.
Four-Four-Two, by Dean Hughes, 2016. Forced into an internment camp at the start of World War II, 18-year-old Yuki enlists in the Army to fight for the Allies as a member of the "Four-Four-Two," a segregated Japanese American regiment.
Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans During World War II, by Martin W. Sandler, 2013. Drawing from interviews and oral histories, chronicles the history of Japanese American survivors of internment camps.
Sweet Madness, by Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie, 2015. Bridget Sullivan, a maid in the Borden household, describes the events leading up to the murder of Andrew Borden and his second wife, and how the youngest daughter, Lizzie, was put on trial for the crime.
The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden & the Trial of the Century, by Sarah Miller, 2016. Examines the Borden murders, using newspaper articles to recreate the events and the trial and acquittal of Lizzie Borden and exploring Lizzie's story to theorize on what may have happened.
Anastasia and Her Sisters, by Carolyn Meyer, 2015. A novel in diary form in which the youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas II describes the privileged life her family led up until the time of World War I and the tragic events that befell them.
The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion and the Fall of Imperial Russia, by Candace Fleming, 2014. Traces the story of the Russian Revolution, the lives of the Romanov family, and the story of their tragic deaths, in an account that draws on primary source materials and includes period photography.
X, by Ilyasah Shabazz, 2015. Follows the childhood of the civil rights leader to his imprisonment at age twenty, where he found the faith that would lead him to his path towards activism and justice.
Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary, by Walter Dean Myers, 1993. Traces the life of the controversial Black leader, describes his involvement with the Nation of Islam, and looks at his speeches and assassination. See also:
Malcolm X: A Graphic Biography, by Andrew Helfer, 2006. A graphic novel that shows Malcolm Little's transformation from a black youth beaten down by Jim Crow America into Malcolm X, the charismatic, controversial, and doomed national spokesman for the Nation of Islam.
The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices From the Titanic, by Allan Wolf, 2011. Recreates the 1912 sinking of the Titanic as observed by millionaire John Jacob Astor, a beautiful young Lebanese refugee finding first love, "Unsinkable" Molly Brown, Captain Smith, and others including the iceberg itself. (Novel in verse.)
Titanic: Voices From the Disaster, by Deborah Hopkinson, 2012. Tells the tale of the sinking of the Titanic using the narratives of the witnesses and survivors to the disaster.