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At the library: Historical fiction

By Erika Kosin
Rowan Public Library
These days, the term historical fiction is not taboo among children, especially girls, due to the popularity of historical fiction series such as American Girls and Dear America.
Many youngsters who found a love of these stories set in different time periods usually develop an appreciation for historical fiction that carries through into their late teens. What these lucky few find out is that there are many wonderful stories out there that can be found in history, and historical fiction is a great place to start.
Many fourth- through eighth-grade students, however, will answer with a resounding no when asked if they like historical fiction. On the other hand, if you ask them if they would like to read a book about a boy living on Alcatraz with Al Capone as in ěAl Capone Does My Shirtsî or the book ěBlueî about a girl living in North Carolina during the polio outbreak, they might be slightly more interested.
While the authors of these works may have spent months or years conducting historical research in order to accurately set the time and place, the experiences of the characters have to resonate with the youth of today in order to pique their interest.
Some interesting stories that can be found at the Rowan Public Library include:
ěBlack Duckî by Janet Taylor Lisle ó On the beaches of Newport, R.I., in 1929, Reuben Hart and his best friend Jeddy find a dead body washed up along the shore. They are certain the man is a bootlegger, trying to smuggle liquor onto shore. Suddenly the two are engrossed in the illegal activities happening in their town, and when they meet the charismatic captain of the elusive Black Duck, the legendary rum-running boat that worked off of the coast of New England during the time of prohibition, find they are in too deep.
Historical House Series by various authors ó This set of six books takes a look at six different girls who all lived at No. 6 Chelsea Walk, England, during the years 1764, 1857, 1895, 1914, 1941 and 1969. While each 12-year-old girl has very different experiences tied to the time-period they grew up in, the house, starting as a girlís school in1764 and becoming an apartment building by 1914, and the town they live in also accurately portray the changes in time. This series is for those who like the American Girls series.
ěInvention of Hugo Cabretî by Brian Selznik ó Set in Paris, this award winning book takes place in 1931 Paris, as 12-year-old Hugo lives in the walls of the train station making sure the clocks are running on time. When he befriends a young girl and her grandfather, a toy maker, he is taken on a journey of self-discovery and science as he unravels the mystery of the automated man that his father left behind. Told through both text and illustrations, even reluctant readers may find this one interesting.
ěNory Ryanís Songî by Patricia Reilly Giff ó The Irish potato famine that began in 1845 was caused by a blight that attacked the potato crops. When 12-year-old Nory Ryan wakes up to the foul smell of rotting potatoes, she canít shake the words of her grandmother, that without the potato crop, they would all starve. As hunger quickly sets in, Nory refuses to give up and uses her newfound strength to try to save her family as her community falls apart, dreaming of moving to America, where no one goes hungry.
Computer classes: Classes are free. Sessions are approximately 90 minutes. Class size is limited and on a first-come, first-serve basis. Dates and times at all locations are subject to change without notice.
South ó April 28, 11 a.m., Introduction to Gmail
Childrenís Storytime: Now through April 29, weekly story time. For more information, call 704-216-8234.
Headquarters ó Toddler Time (18-35-month-olds), Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.; Baby Time (6-23-month-olds), Wednesdays, 11 a.m. Preschool Time (3-5-year-olds), Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; Noodlehead (4-8 years), Thursdays, 4 p.m.
South ó Noodlehead, Mondays, 4 p.m.; Baby Time, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.; Preschool Time, Tuesdays, 1:30 p.m.; Toddler Time, Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m.
East ó Preschool Time, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.; Toddler Time, Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m.; Baby Time, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.
Book Bites Club: South only; Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., ěA Reliable Wifeî by Robert Goolrick. Book discussion groups for both adults and children will meet the last Tuesday of each month. The group is open to the public; anyone is free to join at any time. There is a discussion of the book, as well as light refreshments at each meeting. For more information please call 704-216-8229.
JRís Adventure Club: Headquarters, April 30, 11 a.m. The club will choose a project to build, and have books from the library and recommended websites that go along with the project. The club is open to all school age children. Light refreshments will be served. Call 704-216-8234 to learn more.
Teen program: Enjoy board games and video games.
South ó Tuesday, 5:30-7 p.m.
Holiday closing: All library locations will be closed today for Easter.
Displays: Headquarters ó Lee Street Theatre and National Library Month; South ó watercolors by Caroline Marshall; East ó Ann Furr 4-H.
Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.

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