STARRED REVIEW
March 2020

Girls across the ages

STARRED REVIEW

Girls across the ages

March 2020
STARRED REVIEW
March 2020

Girls across the ages

March 2020
STARRED REVIEW
March 2020

Girls across the ages

STARRED REVIEW
March 2020

Girls across the ages

March 2020

Girls across the ages

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Two masters of historical fiction send their heroines on life-changing journeys in these middle grade novels.

Gold Rush Girl
Award-winning author Avi (Crispin: The Cross of Lead, Sophia’s War) opens his latest novel in 1848, when Rhode Islander Tory Blaisdell makes a vow to live like Jane Eyre and control her own destiny. Her resolve is put to the test when her father decides to seek his fortune in the California gold rush, bringing along Tory’s little brother, Jacob. Tory convinces her brother to help her stow away. 

When the trio arrives in San Francisco, they’re confronted by the harsh realities of the mining craze. They trade their middle-class house for a dirt-floor tent on a muddy road. Water costs a dollar a bucket. When Tory’s father departs for the hills, she dresses as a boy to do manual labor. Then Jacob is kidnapped, and Tory and her friends must launch a desperate rescue attempt before he is shipped off as a cabin boy.

Gold Rush Girl tells an adventure-filled but grounded story of what life was like for many families whose dreams of gold came to nothing but who nevertheless made new lives for themselves in California. 

The Blackbird Girls
Anne Blankman’s The Blackbird Girls tackles a subject rarely touched on in middle grade fiction: the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.  

This riveting story opens on the fateful morning of April 26, 1986, when Valentina Kaplan’s father doesn’t return from the late shift at the Chernobyl power station. At school, Valentina’s neighbor and classmate Oksana, whose father also works at Chernobyl, taunts Valentina with anti-Semitic insults. In the aftermath of the disaster, the girls are separated from their mothers and evacuated to Leningrad, where they live with Valentina’s grandmother, Rifka. The experience challenges Oksana’s attitudes about Jewish families, while Valentina begins to connect more deeply with her faith and her family’s history. 

Flashbacks from Rifka’s life during World War II deepen Blankman’s exploration of the transformative power of friendship across time. Rich with historical details, The Blackbird Girls places Valentina and Oksana’s compelling relationship firmly at the story’s center.  

Get the Books

Gold Rush Girl

Gold Rush Girl

By Avi
Candlewick
ISBN 9781536206791
The Blackbird Girls

The Blackbird Girls

By Anne Blankman
Viking
ISBN 9781984837356

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