Projekt 1065: A Novel of World War II by Alan Gratz (2016)

Another winner from Alan Gratz: action, intrigue, and real live history.

Recommended grade level: 5-8

Pages:   320 (for ISBN 9780545880169)

Genre(s) and keywords: historical fiction, action/thriller, international (Germany)

Tone/Style: tense

Pace: fast

Topics: World War II, spies, Irish people, phobias

Themes: deception, sacrifice, reasons for evil, Do the ends justify the means?

Summary: World War II is raging. Michael O’Shaunessey, the son of the Irish ambassador to Nazi Germany, lives in war-torn Berlin with his parents. Like the other boys at his school, Michael is a member of the Hitler Youth. But Michael has a secret:

He and his parents are spies.

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City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson (2017)

This mystery, set in Kenya and the Congo, packs an emotional and disturbing punch.

Recommended grade level: mature 8th graders and up

Pages:   401 (for ISBN 9780399547584)

Genre(s) and keywords: mystery, thriller, realistic, diverse, international, Africa (Kenya and the Congo)

Tone/Style: gritty

Pace: moderate

Topics: murder, investigations, refugees

Themes: family, trust, revenge, traumatic family history

Summary: In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn’t exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city’s most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill’s personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it. Continue reading

Samurai Rising by Pamela S. Turner (2016)

samBlood and battles abound in the epic story of one of Japan’s first samurai.

Recommended grade level: 6 and up

Pages:   236 (for ISBN 9781580895842)

Genre(s) and keywords: nonfiction, action, history, international, Asia (Japan)

Tone/Style: grimly gleeful

Pace: fast

Topics: samurai, medieval Japan, war, revenge

Themes: loyalty, honor, death

Summary: Child exile. Teenage runaway. Military genius. Immortal hero.

Yoshitsune had little going for him. Exiled to a monastery, he had no money, no allies, and no martial training. He wasn’t big or strong or good-looking. His only assets were brains, ambition, and a dream. But childhood dreams can change history.

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The Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse (2016)

girlinThis World War II mystery set in the occupied Netherlands demonstrates the horrors of the Holocaust.

Recommended grade level: 7-11

Pages:   309 (for ISBN 9780316260602)

Genre(s) and keywords: historical fiction, mystery, international, Europe (the Netherlands)

Tone/Style: bleak, fearful, desperate

 

Pace: moderate

Topics: the Holocaust, World War II, the Netherlands, investigations, missing persons

Themes: resistance against oppression, grief and loss, selfishness, risks

Summary: Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days procuring and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, her nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded. She likes to think of her illegal work as a small act of rebellion. Continue reading

Shadow on the Mountain by Margi Preus (2012)

shadowThis WWII fiction draws students’ attention to the resistance against Nazi rule in Norway.

Recommended grade level: 6-10

Pages: 304 (for ISBN 9781419704246)

Genre(s) and keywords: historical fiction, adventure, international, Europe (Norway)

Tone/Style: danger-filled, exciting

Pace: moderate

Topics: World War II, Norway, spies, skiing

Themes: resistance, courage, treachery

Summary: Fourteen-year-old Espen and his friends are swept up in the resistance movement in Nazi occupied Norway. He gets his start delivering illegal newspapers, then graduates to the role of courier, and finally becomes a spy, dodging the Gestapo along the way. Continue reading

Geek Girl by Holly Smale (2013)

geek girlThis light, funny book speaks to the geek in all of us.

Recommended grade level: 6-10

Pages: 378 (for ISBN 9780007489442)

Genre(s) and keywords: humor, chick lit, British import, international, Europe (England)

Tone/Style: self-deprecating, geeky

Pace: moderate

Topics: modeling, geeks, crushes, fashion and style

Themes: reinventing oneself, friendship, leaving your comfort zone

Summary: Geek + runway = a runaway UK hit! Geek Girl is the first book in a hilarious, internationally bestselling series that’s perfect for fans of Louise Rennison and The Princess Diaries. Continue reading

The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim by E.K. Johnston

story ofThis quirky modern dragon story is more about politics than fighting.

Recommended grade level: 6 and up for content, 8 and up for interest

Pages: 312 (for ISBN 9781467710664)

 Genre(s) and keywords: fantasy, modern fantasy, Canadian author, international, North America (Canada)

Tone/Style: sensible, humorous

Pace: leisurely

Topics: dragons, music, storytelling, rural communities, government programs, friendship, politics

Themes: truth vs. fiction, being born into a role vs. choosing it, defying tradition

Summary: Listen! For I sing of Owen Thorskard: valiant of heart, hopeless at algebra, last in a long line of legendary dragon slayers. Though he had few years and was not built for football, he stood between the town of Trondheim and creatures that threatened its survival. Continue reading