Sarah’s Daughter

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Bass, Ruth. 2007. Sarah’s Daughter. Great Barrington, MA: Gadd & Company Publishers. ISBN 978-9774053-4-3. $14.95. Softcover.



*Michelle Gillett, The Berkshire Eagle, Pittsfield, Massachusetts Available at

* has 7 customer reviews and also reviews by Judith Viorst (author) and a couple news anchors.

After her mother’s death, Rose must deal with school, raising her siblings and helping her father in 19th Century New England.

She’d taken to thinking of her mother by her first name in these days since Sarah Hibbard had been buried. It let Rose think about her without the word “Mother,” which popped tears out of her eyes and down her cheeks as quickly as her father extracted milk from a cow’s teats.

Ever since Sarah’s tragic death, Rose has taken over the household. It’s a rough job of cleaning, cooking, mending on top of going to school to work on fulfilling her goal of being a teacher. Growing up so fast leaves her with many questions. Why is father acting so strange? Is there anybody who can truely help? Will I be able to fulfill my life goals? Find out if Rose can accomplish her dreams and find herself in Sarah’s Daughter.


Water for Elephants

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Gruen, Sara. 2006. Water for Elephants. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books. ISBN 978-1-56512-560-5. $13.95. Softcover.

*2006 Quill Awards nominee for General Fiction
*2007 Alex Awards selection
*Entertainment Weekly Best Novel of 2006 nominee
*New York Times Best Seller list for 12 weeks in 2006
*Book Sense #1 pick for June 2006
*Winner of the 2007 BookBrowse award for most popular book

Jacob Jankowski remenisces about his time in the circus when he was younger and how the circus taught him about life and love.

She reached for something….I saw that she’d picked up an iron stake. She held it loosely, resting its end on the hard dirt. She looked at me again, bemused. Then her gaze shifted to the back of his bare head…..I stumbled forward, screaming, even though there was no hope of my voice reaching her. “Don’t do it! Don’t do it!“….In seventy years, I’ve never told a blessed soul.

Jacob is getting old, days pass slowly and sometimes get confused. He finds more joy in remembering how when all that he held dear was taken from him, he ran away and ended up joining the circus. What is the secret that Jacob is hiding? Will he ever find someone to share it with? Is there anyone who understands the joys and pains of his life? Find the answers in Water for Elephants.

The Color of Fire

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Rinaldi, Ann. 2005. The Color of Fire. New York: Hyperion Books for Children. ISBN 078680938-8 $15.99.  Hardcover.



*Highly Recommended–Library Media Connection–Aug/Sept 2005

*School Library Journal–May 2005

Phoebe, a slave must make important choices about her loyalties when they are tested. Tells the tale of arson in New York in 1741.

For a slave, Phoebe has a good life. She lives in the house taking care of her mistress especially during her ‘spells’ and in return she is tutored and given lots of freedom. Lately this freedom has been restricted because of happenings in the town. A mysterious group is setting fire to barns in the area and the white folks are desperately looking for someone to blame.  When Phoebe’s fellow slave and friend, Cuffee is accussed, she must decide where her true loyalties lie and how far she will go to help a friend. Find out the shocking conclusion of ‘the great Negro plot’ in The Color of Fire.

The Man Who Was Poe

Avi. 1989. The Man Who Was Poe. New York: Avon Books. ISBN 0-380-71192-3. $3.50. Paperback.

*1990—Library of Congress best book

*1990 Edgar Allan Poe Award-Young Adult nominee

*Horn Book Magazine–Reviewed March 1990

*Recommended paperback for older readers by Horn Book Nov/Dec 1991.

*School Library Journal Review Sept 1989

Edmund is searching for his family and finds help in an unexpected place from a mysterious man.

“Every fear, every image,…has two sides.” Edmund learns the truth of this as he races through Providence, Rhode Island searching for his loved ones. They came in search of his mother, then his aunt went out and never returned and finally when Edmund went to buy food, Sis vanished from a locked room. While searching he comes upon a strange man, who introduces himself as Dupin. Others seem to know him as Poe. Who is he really and can he help Edmund find what he is searching for? Does he see Edmund as a person or just an idea for a story?

Poe gives voice to his writing motivations by saying, “What I believe,” he said finally, his voice strained,  “is that writers write about what they know best. And,” he concluded, “what some writers know best is what they fear.” Join Edmund on his search for his family and the truth and in the process discover, The Man Who Was Poe.