Posts tagged true story
It’s Milking Time by Phyllis Alsdurf, illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher
Based on author Phyllis Alsdurf’s own childhood on a Midwestern dairy farm, this book has a lyrical story, a description of the daily chores a daughter shares with her father each evening as they milk and take care of their cows. Each two-page spread is a beautiful illustration that supports Alsdurf’s simple, straightforward narrative, a step-by-step introduction to evening tasks on a small family dairy farm. The story goes beyond that, though, sharing not only chores but the loving relationship between a father and daughter as well as the relationship between humans and animals.
So you won’t think I’m overly infatuated with this book (and maybe I am), I’ll let you in on a secret: I showed this book to an authentic dairy farm girl, and she loved it too. My soon-to-be Mother in Law grew up on her father’s Wisconsin dairy farm, and she gave It’s Milking Time her official seal of approval and accuracy. (more…)
(Review is based on an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of the book.)
This is a story about friendship, friendship between nations and friendship between people. While researching Hattie Big Sky, Kirby Larson came across a picture of an American farm girl standing next to a life-size Japanese doll, and a story was born.
In 1927, to strengthen relations with America, 58 life-size, beautifully crafted dolls were made and sent as Ambassadors of Friendship. They toured the country, with many of them eventually ending up in museums where we can see them today. One mystery remains, 13 of the 58 are still missing.
This is the story of Miss Kanagawa and four girls, who unknowingly need her guidance. Miss Kanagawa sees herself as “the Ambassador.” Larson has created a character that lives and feels. To the Japanese, dolls are not playthings, but noble creations who have a purpose.
“When the Japanese gave a doll in friendship, it was bestowed with great meaning and honor…even adults speak about dolls as though they were almost human. A doll is not simply stored in a box. She sleeps waiting for a child to wake her.” – Jamie Tobias Neely The Spokesman-Review, March 3, 1993
Miss Kanagawa has a mystical otherworldliness to her. When you look into her eyes, she has something profound to say to you. She often likens herself to a samurai, because she is also a noble, honorable warrior. (more…)
In Amsterdam in the middle of World War II, two Jewish families–the Franks and the Van Pels–hide away in an annex above an office, praying for survival and the downfall of the Nazis. In Annexed, Dogar has created her vision of what it was like in the annex with Anne Frank from Peter van Pels’ point of view. To take a time and character so closely scrutinized by the world and so well documented–by the world-renowned diary of Anne Frank–is a challenge, to say the least, but Dogar has done a good job at not over-sensationalizing the material. She also manages to stay true to what she believes might have gone through the mind of a teenage boy in a time of personal and world-wide crisis. Following Peter from the morning before seclusion to his death (potentially, according to records, in a concentration camp sick bay), readers see the hope and the despair, two sides of many moments he experienced as his memories are shared in the book.
Full of hate and fear, love, shame, sexual longing, wavering faith, and all the “why” questions one could ponder, Peter examines life both inside and outside the walls of the annex and tries to make sense of it all, all the while experiencing the morphing relationships inside the hideout as tensions flow between the families and genders. Why, Peter asks, must I hide instead of fight? Why do we have to be the chosen people? Why does being Jewish have to define everything about me? Will I ever experience life beyond this point? (more…)
Bass Reeves was born in 1838 and is thought to be one of the first African-Americans to be commissioned as a Deputy US Marshal. For the first 17 years of his life, he was a slave “owned” by his master George Reeves (as far as I know, no relation to the George Reeves of Superman fame), a farmer. Just before the Civil War, Bass parted ways with his master and ran to Indian Territory, where he lived among the Creek and Seminole Indians for about 20 years. Later he moved to Arkansas, where he married twice and had 10+ children. There he was approached by the well-known Judge Isaac Parker (aka the Hanging Judge), who heard about his life living in Indian Territory. Bass Reeves spoke many Indian dialects and knew the land intimately. During his time as a lawman, he pursued and caught many a criminal using unique methods for the time. He would go undercover and disguise himself to catch his man. He even had to dress up as a woman at one point. He had to track down and arrest his own son for murder. During his 30+ years of service, he was shot at many times, but never hit. He became a constable at the ripe old age of 81. Bass Reeves was a well-respected and feared lawman of his time. A lot of his history still remains a mystery, but what is know about him is this…he was honorable, steadfast, feared, and respected. Bass was truly worthy of legendary status. In the words of US Marshal Leo Bennet, “He never shirked his duty.” (more…)
Fourteen-year-old Manjiro is full of questions, questions that irritate the elder fishermen. Manjiro must learn his place, but Manjiro dreams of one day becoming a samurai. That dream is impossible though, because he comes from a family of fishermen and that’s all he thinks he will ever be.
It is 1841, and Japan is the greatest country in the world, so they say. Stories are told of the horrible beasts that inhabit the West. When Manjiro and his fellow fishermen are swept out to sea in a great storm, they are fearful of not being able to go home and worst of all…meeting the barbarians. They eventually are stranded on Bird Island, so named for the thousands of albatross that nest there. They are stranded on this island for six months, with no hope in sight, until one day a monstrous ship appears on the horizon. The barbarians have come.
Manjiro is more curious than afraid of these strangely dressed and unclean people of the John Howland. They are taken on board, but Manjiro’s companions want nothing to do with these people who will corrupt their ways. Manjiro soon joins the crew and finds out that the John Howland is an American whaling ship. Because he is different and speaks differently, there is prejudice on board; however, most become friends with him. His greatest relationship is with the Captain, who later becomes a father figure to him. (more…)