Shades of Milk and Honey

I was interested in Shades of Milk and Honey as soon as I heard it described as Jane Austen “if she lived in a world where magic worked.” It’s a thoroughly enjoyable novel for those who enjoy costume dramas (which means me and most of my family). Although not explicitly a book for younger readers, […]

Sally Slick and the Steel Syndicate

Full disclosure: I’m the editor of this book. Since the point of these reviews is to provide information rather than opinions of quality, I feel any conflict of interest is minimal. Sally Slick and the Steel Syndicate is part of the Spirit of the Century universe that includes Dinocalypse Now, Beyond Dinocalypse, Khan of Mars, […]

Talkin’ About Bessie

Talkin’ About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman is an interesting conglomeration of things. It’s a biography, but it’s all told in poems. It’s filled with beautiful illustrations on each page, but it will probably appeal most to kids well past the target age for picture books. Bessie Coleman overcame both sexism and racism to […]

One Crazy Summer

You can hardly see the cover of One Crazy Summer because of all of the award emblems on it—Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, Coretta Scott King Award, Newbery Honor, and National Book Award Finalist, with a list of more awards on the back. The story is set in 1968. Delphine, our narrator who is […]

Cinders & Sapphires

I enjoy Downton Abbey, so a book loosely inspired by it is bound to get my attention. Cinders & Sapphires is a soapy Edwardian read that very much evokes Downton Abbey while still telling its own story. There are more characters and subplots than I could easily keep track of (here’s where the lack of […]


Forge picks up immediately where Chains left off, although the point of view has changed from Isabel to Curzon. Then it leaps ahead a few months. Isabel and Curzon have parted ways on less than ideal terms because he wouldn’t go to South Carolina with her to search for Ruth. Curzon ends up in the […]


Like many Laurie Halse Anderson books, Chains often feels like a punch to the gut, but you also just can’t put the book down until you get to the end. This historical novel tells the story of Isabel, a young slave from Rhode Island in 1776. When her relatively kind mistress dies, Isabel knows that […]

Mississippi Bridge

Mississippi Bridge is an illustrated novella rather than a novel, but the slim size and pictures shouldn’t lull you into thinking it’s a sweet book for young kids. It’s a powerful picture of racism in 1931 Mississippi, told from the point of view of a ten year old white boy. Jeremy, our narrator, spends a […]

The Cheshire Cheese Cat

Another book recommendation from my daughter and her school library! The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale is an amusing story about unlikely friendships and overcoming assumptions. Charles Dickens has a supporting role, with details that will keep fans of Dickens engaged (admittedly, that will mostly be adults—but that’s part of why this […]

Wild Orchid

Another fairy tale retelling from Cameron Dokey! This one is Wild Orchid, based on the ballad of Mulan. (Yes, we could get into a discussion about whether this truly qualifies as a fairy tale. Let’s not—I’ll happily have that conversation with you over coffee someday.) In this version, Mulan has mostly grown up without her […]