Book Reviews

These books are fiction for ages 9–12.
Use the following links for other books.

Nonfiction 9–12

Railroad Fever
This is just a great book! Part of National Geographic's new Crossroads America series, Railroad Fever is as concise yet informative and entertaining as can be, with enough words and pictures to tell the whole story of the building of the transcontinental railroad.

The Real Vikings
This is an excellent introduction to or reminder of the study of the Vikings, complete with perspective, illustrations, and excellent facts to match. The book, as is usually the case with National Geographic, is packed with illuminating photos and illustrations, showing just how pervasive the Viking influence was all over Europe, from merely geographic settlements to cultural borrowing and lending that filters down to this day.

Remember D-Day
National Geographic, as always, has come out with another excellent book, this one on the World War II Allied invasion of Normandy known as D-Day. Author Ronald J. Drez has filled his book with rare photographs and familiar maps, illustrating the harrowing and horrific challenges faced by the Allied soldiers and commanders in finding a way to pierce Germany's Fortress Europe and turn back the tide of Hitler's Nazi expansion.

The Revolutionary John Adams
Cheryl Harness, who knows a thing or two about the presidents (having written biographies of Washington, Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt), paints a compelling portrait of John Adams, the nation's second president and an often overlooked hero of the American Revolution.

Roanoke, the Lost Colony: A Unsolved Mystery in History
Award-winning author Jane Yolen is back with another book in the Unsolved Mystery from History series, this time focusing on the Lost Colony of Roanoke, again with her daughter, former private investigator Heidi Stemple. The story of Roanoke is a familiar one to many people, although the precise details of that story are known only to the more-than-casual observer of history. This book does a good job of handing to the reader just about everything he or she needs to make an intelligent decision as to what really happened to the poor, lost colonists on that tiny island all those years ago.

The Salem Witch Trials: A Unsolved Mystery in History
The mother-and-daughter team of Jane Yolen and Heidi Elisabet Yolen Stemple have turned their Mysteries from History series attention to one of colonial America's most enduring horror stories, the Salem Witch Trials. As with other books in this series, the format is that of a detective's notebook, with the reader having everything he or she needs to draw an informed conclusion as to what really happened: facts, a notebook full of notes, a glossary to help you decode complex words and concepts, and illustrations that help complete the picture of the time period in which this historical mystery took place.

Thomas Jefferson
Yet another great American history book by Cheryl Harness, Thomas Jefferson is a good basic biography of America's third president that also provides some enlightening and not-always-talked-about details of the life of the author of the Declaration of Independence.

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David White