Historical Novels for Children: The American Civil War

The Civil War raged in America from 1861 to 1865. It was one of the most pivitol times in the history of the country, pitting citizens, friends, and even family members against one another in the struggle for moral and ethical human values against a tradition of forced labor that upheld a thriving Southern economy. The war lasted only four years—a tiny fraction of American history—and yet its significance for the future of the nation is arguably unparalleled. These novels explore that volatle time.

The Civil War raged in America from 1861 to 1865. It was one of the most pivitol times in the history of the country, pitting citizens, friends, and even family members against one another in the struggle for moral and ethical human values against a tradition of forced labor that upheld a thriving Southern economy. The war lasted only four years—a tiny fraction of American history—and yet its significance for the future of the nation is arguably unparalleled. These novels explore that volatle time.

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Count the Stars Through the Cracks

Author: Hotaling, Billie

Subjects: Slavery; American History; Underground Railroad; African-Americans

Age: 12, 13, 14, 15

Grade: 7, 8, 9, 10

Order code: 521

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 521S

Count the Stars Through the Cracks Cover

Winner of an Ohio Arts Council Award for Fiction

This is the story of a fifteen-year-old boy and his ten-year-old sister who set out with their mother to escape from the plantation where they were born into slavery. Their escape is occasioned by the selling of their father to a slaveholder farther south. During their journey, their mother dies, and Jute and his sister Susu must continue without her as they traverse the Underground Railroad.

Their adventure is terrifying because at any moment they risk being captured and returned to slavery. Their lives are frequently in the hands of whites who were responsible for moving escaped slaves through a series of hiding places to safety in Canada. During their journey, Susu breaks her leg. A doctor hides them until she can recover sufficiently to be moved to the house of a free black family. This family is unusual. The husband is building a mill out of a pattern book, and he employs Jute in that endeavor. The mother teaches Susu to read.

Jute is marked by a fierce pride, a desire to be free, and a desire to make his way in the world. His pride is the driving force behind their escape and the choices he makes on the passage. The $5.00 a month he earns building the mill is a source of considerable pride and satisfaction.

After months of waiting, Susu’s leg is healed, and they take their carefully-saved money to Xenia to buy two railroad tickets to Canada. They find the town in turmoil, and they learn that the Civil War has started—they no longer have to run and hide.

“This simple narrative is a treasure, packed with information and understanding. The writing is unadorned but at the same time beautiful and emotional. Excellent for sixth grade and up. This deserves consideration for Best Books.” – VOYA Magazine

Winner of an Ohio Arts Council Award for Fiction

This is the story of a fifteen-year-old boy and his ten-year-old sister who set out with their mother to escape from the plantation where they were born into slavery. Their escape is occasioned by the selling of their father to a slaveholder farther south. During their journey, their mother dies, and Jute and his sister Susu must continue without her as they traverse the Underground Railroad.

Their adventure is terrifying because at any moment they risk being captured and returned to slavery. Their lives are frequently in the hands of whites who were responsible for moving escaped slaves through a series of hiding places to safety in Canada. During their journey, Susu breaks her leg. A doctor hides them until she can recover sufficiently to be moved to the house of a free black family. This family is unusual. The husband is building a mill out of a pattern book, and he employs Jute in that endeavor. The mother teaches Susu to read.

Jute is marked by a fierce pride, a desire to be free, and a desire to make his way in the world. His pride is the driving force behind their escape and the choices he makes on the passage. The $5.00 a month he earns building the mill is a source of considerable pride and satisfaction.

After months of waiting, Susu’s leg is healed, and they take their carefully-saved money to Xenia to buy two railroad tickets to Canada. They find the town in turmoil, and they learn that the Civil War has started—they no longer have to run and hide.

“This simple narrative is a treasure, packed with information and understanding. The writing is unadorned but at the same time beautiful and emotional. Excellent for sixth grade and up. This deserves consideration for Best Books.” – VOYA Magazine

Count the Stars Through the Cracks Cover

A Bit of Irish Earth

Author: Shanley, Paul

Subjects: American History; Civil War; Immigration; Irish-Americans

Age: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Grade: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

ISBN: 0-88092-179-X

Order code: 179X

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 179XS

A Bit of Irish Earth Cover

This is wonderful historical fiction novel with roots in Irish tradition and lore and the American Civil War. Some of the story is biographical; the rest is wishful blarney.

John Shanley migrated from Ireland and joined the Union Army. He was wounded in the second battle of Bull Run and was later captured and sent to Richmond, probably to Libby Prison as a prisoner of war. He died in Richmond on January 17, 1864.

Author Paul Shanley is a distant relative of John's through John’s oldest son. He visited Libby and was so moved that he felt he had to recreate John Shanley’s trek from Ireland to a better life in the United States. He has rewritten family history a bit, superimposing possible adventures, an escape from Libby, and a life in Boston and Bangor. John Shanley is given the life he could have had, and readers are treated to the person he most probably would have become because of his personal convictions.

Surely, Irish eyes are smiling on the older Shanley’s enhanced daring do’s and the younger Shanley’s sensitivity to his story. The atmosphere and mood are accurate.

This is wonderful historical fiction novel with roots in Irish tradition and lore and the American Civil War. Some of the story is biographical; the rest is wishful blarney.

John Shanley migrated from Ireland and joined the Union Army. He was wounded in the second battle of Bull Run and was later captured and sent to Richmond, probably to Libby Prison as a prisoner of war. He died in Richmond on January 17, 1864.

Author Paul Shanley is a distant relative of John's through John’s oldest son. He visited Libby and was so moved that he felt he had to recreate John Shanley’s trek from Ireland to a better life in the United States. He has rewritten family history a bit, superimposing possible adventures, an escape from Libby, and a life in Boston and Bangor. John Shanley is given the life he could have had, and readers are treated to the person he most probably would have become because of his personal convictions.

Surely, Irish eyes are smiling on the older Shanley’s enhanced daring do’s and the younger Shanley’s sensitivity to his story. The atmosphere and mood are accurate.

A Bit of Irish Earth Cover

Redheaded Angel

Author: Fowler, Joy Allen

Subjects: American History; Civil War

Age: 11, 12, 13, 14

Grade: 6, 7, 8, 9

ISBN: 978-0-88092-734-5

Order code: 7345

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 7345S

Redheaded Angel Cover

This is the story of Columbia Victoria Stuart Boyden, who finds herself a virtual orphan after her father goes to fight in the Civil War and her mother dies. She makes the long and difficult trip to her uncle's Virginia plantation, where she is taken in and treated as a member of the family.

Her uncle is the illustrious General Jeb Stuart, and Columbia becomes a part of an exciting world of war, privilege, and adventure. Through her eyes, readers can see the exuberant world of the Virginian Confederacy in the early years of the Civil War.

Dr. Joy Fowler is chair of the Writing Department at the School for Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she has taught for more than twenty years. Much of her writing is connected to her hobby of historic re-enacting and portrayals of historic characters.

This is the story of Columbia Victoria Stuart Boyden, who finds herself a virtual orphan after her father goes to fight in the Civil War and her mother dies. She makes the long and difficult trip to her uncle's Virginia plantation, where she is taken in and treated as a member of the family.

Her uncle is the illustrious General Jeb Stuart, and Columbia becomes a part of an exciting world of war, privilege, and adventure. Through her eyes, readers can see the exuberant world of the Virginian Confederacy in the early years of the Civil War.

Dr. Joy Fowler is chair of the Writing Department at the School for Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she has taught for more than twenty years. Much of her writing is connected to her hobby of historic re-enacting and portrayals of historic characters.

Redheaded Angel Cover

War Comes to Madeline

Author: Martin, Bev

Subjects: Slavery; American History; Civil War

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Order code: 4634

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 4634S

War Comes to Madeline Cover

War was coming; it was 1861. Papa owned a tobacco plantation and slaves, but he freed them all when Tennessee voted to withdraw from the Union and become a part of the Confederacy. He couldn’t go off to fight in the war knowing that he owned other human beings. Twelve-year-old Madeline and her older brothers Matthew and Sidney are to run the plantation with Mama and the now freed but always loyal Eb, Sukey, and Ole Tom.

The war is not short, as the South had predicted it would be. Running the plantation changes from slave labor to a collaborative effort between family and freed blacks working for a small wage. Daily life changes from outwardly genteel to frank problem solving as the family struggles to keep food on the table, harvest the crop, outwit the pillaging hungry soldiers from both sides, divert and dodge the slavers as the family conspires to move its precious human cargo to safety, and pray that their men will return from the battle alive.

Three years in war-torn Tennessee change young Maddie, too. Always a curious, observant artist and vivacious child, she becomes an expert rider with a purpose: a smuggler of runaway slaves to a safe stop on the Underground Railroad and, at least once, the youngest female spy in Tennessee. War Comes to Madeline is a fast-reading, action-packed story that will keep readers with it from the first page to the last.

War was coming; it was 1861. Papa owned a tobacco plantation and slaves, but he freed them all when Tennessee voted to withdraw from the Union and become a part of the Confederacy. He couldn’t go off to fight in the war knowing that he owned other human beings. Twelve-year-old Madeline and her older brothers Matthew and Sidney are to run the plantation with Mama and the now freed but always loyal Eb, Sukey, and Ole Tom.

The war is not short, as the South had predicted it would be. Running the plantation changes from slave labor to a collaborative effort between family and freed blacks working for a small wage. Daily life changes from outwardly genteel to frank problem solving as the family struggles to keep food on the table, harvest the crop, outwit the pillaging hungry soldiers from both sides, divert and dodge the slavers as the family conspires to move its precious human cargo to safety, and pray that their men will return from the battle alive.

Three years in war-torn Tennessee change young Maddie, too. Always a curious, observant artist and vivacious child, she becomes an expert rider with a purpose: a smuggler of runaway slaves to a safe stop on the Underground Railroad and, at least once, the youngest female spy in Tennessee. War Comes to Madeline is a fast-reading, action-packed story that will keep readers with it from the first page to the last.

War Comes to Madeline Cover

Secesh

Author: Thomas, Sue

Subjects: Slavery; American History; Civil War

Age: 9, 10, 11, 12

Grade: 4, 5, 6, 7

Order code: 540X

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 540XS

Secesh Cover

July, 1861. The Civil War is dividing the people of Missouri. Eleven-year-old Kate was loyal to the Confederacy from the onset, but when she listened to her parents and two older brothers and heard their divided opinions, she began to realize that the issues were not simple. Through Kate’s eyes we see a family’s daily life and a system of relationships: North and South, families and neighbors, parents and children, siblings, families and farmland.

Momma was raised on a Kentucky tobacco plantation and condones slavery, viewing slaves as manpower. Steadfast and loving Poppa came from the Kentucky hill country, is a hard worker, and learned to read from Momma. Together they are homesteading in Missouri and raising a family. Their oldest son David shares the popular idea that the war will be short, and he joins the Confederates for the money. Fifteen-year-old Waltus joins the Yankees. Passionate about the rights of every human being to live, to work, and to dream of accomplishment, and himself dreaming one day of owning a wool mill, Waltus can’t fight on the side that condones men stealing his sheep, his dream, or the rights and hopes of others. Young Benjamin is often the thorn in Kate’s side, Momma’s “good boy,” but he and Kate share dangerous adventures.

Kate is a typical intelligent eleven-about-to-be-twelve-year-old. She cannot keep a secret. She asks a hundred questions. Her pet goat, named Grasshopper, is her confidant. She has just begun to question Momma’s opinions because she is shaken by Momma’s heartless reaction to a neighbor’s captured runaway slave girl being separated from her baby (who is sold) to teach her a lesson. Throughout the insecurities and deepening awareness of others’ feelings that the war brings to her, Kate learns that family love remains a solid grounding.

Sue Thomas is a leading educator in the field of teaching children to express their creativity. She has written an excellent book on teaching the writing of poetry, The Poetry Pad. In Secesh, she has brought her considerable talents to shaping absorbing characters and a historically correct, action-filled plot. Young Kate, who acts as our eyes to her slice of history and into the fine workings of her family, is a gem of a child with a diversity of expressions of her feelings and thoughts and a growing awareness of self.

July, 1861. The Civil War is dividing the people of Missouri. Eleven-year-old Kate was loyal to the Confederacy from the onset, but when she listened to her parents and two older brothers and heard their divided opinions, she began to realize that the issues were not simple. Through Kate’s eyes we see a family’s daily life and a system of relationships: North and South, families and neighbors, parents and children, siblings, families and farmland.

Momma was raised on a Kentucky tobacco plantation and condones slavery, viewing slaves as manpower. Steadfast and loving Poppa came from the Kentucky hill country, is a hard worker, and learned to read from Momma. Together they are homesteading in Missouri and raising a family. Their oldest son David shares the popular idea that the war will be short, and he joins the Confederates for the money. Fifteen-year-old Waltus joins the Yankees. Passionate about the rights of every human being to live, to work, and to dream of accomplishment, and himself dreaming one day of owning a wool mill, Waltus can’t fight on the side that condones men stealing his sheep, his dream, or the rights and hopes of others. Young Benjamin is often the thorn in Kate’s side, Momma’s “good boy,” but he and Kate share dangerous adventures.

Kate is a typical intelligent eleven-about-to-be-twelve-year-old. She cannot keep a secret. She asks a hundred questions. Her pet goat, named Grasshopper, is her confidant. She has just begun to question Momma’s opinions because she is shaken by Momma’s heartless reaction to a neighbor’s captured runaway slave girl being separated from her baby (who is sold) to teach her a lesson. Throughout the insecurities and deepening awareness of others’ feelings that the war brings to her, Kate learns that family love remains a solid grounding.

Sue Thomas is a leading educator in the field of teaching children to express their creativity. She has written an excellent book on teaching the writing of poetry, The Poetry Pad. In Secesh, she has brought her considerable talents to shaping absorbing characters and a historically correct, action-filled plot. Young Kate, who acts as our eyes to her slice of history and into the fine workings of her family, is a gem of a child with a diversity of expressions of her feelings and thoughts and a growing awareness of self.

Secesh Cover

The Printer's Devil

Author: Page, Marion

Subjects: American History; Civil War; Newspapers

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Order code: 4640

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 4640S

The Printer's Devil Cover

Newcomers Tyler Maldren and Jem Harvey have southern accents that few in Groton, Vermont, have ever heard. And they have a printing press. The townspeople don’t trust them; many are convinced that they are Southern spies. Why else would the two want to start a newspaper in little Groton?

When fifteen-year-old Livy chances to meet Tyler and Jem on the road near her home, they seem an answer to her dream. She has just graduated from the one-room schoolhouse and hopes to go to secondary school at Newbury Seminary, and she needs money. If these are newspapermen, they need news. Writing things down is easier for Livy than talking, and with a houseful of sisters, she knows all the town’s news. She blushes at her own forwardness in asking the men if she can be a reporter for their paper, but she has no idea of the dangerous future she is bargaining herself into.

Livy manages to get herself into danger. She determines to rescue the child slave Solomon, whom she believes the newspapermen are holding captive. She screws up her courage to investigate the existence of the legendary tunnel under the Peter Paul house, where the newspapermen have set up shop. And she loses her Yankee heart to Jem, who turns out to be an officer in the Confederate army looking for a stash of counterfeit money, plates, and dies made by the infamous Bristol Bill and his gang. This money, and the ability to print more of it, would enable the Confederates to buy arms, food, uniforms, and supplies—or to print a flood of fake bills and make inflation worse in the North, or to purchase gold and trade with European countries sympathetic to the South.

Livy grows up fast and clarifies her values in this Civil War story.

The Printer’s Devil plays on several well-wrought levels: the mystery of the newspapermen and their interest in a storied tunnel, the harsh reality of what happens in wartime to a farming town when sons go off to war and the old folks cannot keep up the farm, the significance of girls taking over the men's chores and how their lives are impacted, and the effects of the Missouri Compromise of 1820.

Newcomers Tyler Maldren and Jem Harvey have southern accents that few in Groton, Vermont, have ever heard. And they have a printing press. The townspeople don’t trust them; many are convinced that they are Southern spies. Why else would the two want to start a newspaper in little Groton?

When fifteen-year-old Livy chances to meet Tyler and Jem on the road near her home, they seem an answer to her dream. She has just graduated from the one-room schoolhouse and hopes to go to secondary school at Newbury Seminary, and she needs money. If these are newspapermen, they need news. Writing things down is easier for Livy than talking, and with a houseful of sisters, she knows all the town’s news. She blushes at her own forwardness in asking the men if she can be a reporter for their paper, but she has no idea of the dangerous future she is bargaining herself into.

Livy manages to get herself into danger. She determines to rescue the child slave Solomon, whom she believes the newspapermen are holding captive. She screws up her courage to investigate the existence of the legendary tunnel under the Peter Paul house, where the newspapermen have set up shop. And she loses her Yankee heart to Jem, who turns out to be an officer in the Confederate army looking for a stash of counterfeit money, plates, and dies made by the infamous Bristol Bill and his gang. This money, and the ability to print more of it, would enable the Confederates to buy arms, food, uniforms, and supplies—or to print a flood of fake bills and make inflation worse in the North, or to purchase gold and trade with European countries sympathetic to the South.

Livy grows up fast and clarifies her values in this Civil War story.

The Printer’s Devil plays on several well-wrought levels: the mystery of the newspapermen and their interest in a storied tunnel, the harsh reality of what happens in wartime to a farming town when sons go off to war and the old folks cannot keep up the farm, the significance of girls taking over the men's chores and how their lives are impacted, and the effects of the Missouri Compromise of 1820.

The Printer's Devil Cover

Summer Spy

Author: Wilson, Linda Miller

Subjects: American History; Civil War; Adventure

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8

Order code: 1722

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 1722S

Summer Spy Cover

Summer Spy is a terrific Civil War yarn.” – Children’s Bookwatch

Tennessee was almost split in half by the Civil War. Residents of the eastern mountain region were largely pro-Union. When the state seceded in 1861, those resisting the Confederacy faced harsh retribution. Many families left the state, but Matthew and Elizabeth Burnett, who owned a farm high in the Smoky Mountains, chose to stay.

By 1863, Tennessee was a battleground for the clash of Union and Confederate forces. Nathaniel, the Burnett’s oldest son, is a Pinkerton spy, risking his life for the Union to report on Confederate troop movements. When Nat breaks his leg in a fall, he asks his fourteen-year-old brother Jonathan to deliver vital information to the Pinkerton contact. Jonathan enjoys the solitude of mountain life and lacks his brother’s daring spirit, but he agrees to go.

In his first confrontation with a Confederate officer, Jonathan manages to quell his jittery stomach by imitating Nat. Later, his resourcefulness is tested in a midnight battle with bushwhackers. An unexpected detainment in a Confederation camp and his friendship with Onesimus, a young black slave, convince Jonathan that “there is no winning under either flag.”

Summer Spy is the story of a boy whose unswerving determination to fulfill a promise to his brother carries him through each personal challenge until he finally realizes his own strength and courage.

Linda Miller Wilson is the author of A Few Days' Journey, a story about Mattie, the sister of Jonathan and Nathaniel from Summer Spy.

Summer Spy is a terrific Civil War yarn.” – Children’s Bookwatch

Tennessee was almost split in half by the Civil War. Residents of the eastern mountain region were largely pro-Union. When the state seceded in 1861, those resisting the Confederacy faced harsh retribution. Many families left the state, but Matthew and Elizabeth Burnett, who owned a farm high in the Smoky Mountains, chose to stay.

By 1863, Tennessee was a battleground for the clash of Union and Confederate forces. Nathaniel, the Burnett’s oldest son, is a Pinkerton spy, risking his life for the Union to report on Confederate troop movements. When Nat breaks his leg in a fall, he asks his fourteen-year-old brother Jonathan to deliver vital information to the Pinkerton contact. Jonathan enjoys the solitude of mountain life and lacks his brother’s daring spirit, but he agrees to go.

In his first confrontation with a Confederate officer, Jonathan manages to quell his jittery stomach by imitating Nat. Later, his resourcefulness is tested in a midnight battle with bushwhackers. An unexpected detainment in a Confederation camp and his friendship with Onesimus, a young black slave, convince Jonathan that “there is no winning under either flag.”

Summer Spy is the story of a boy whose unswerving determination to fulfill a promise to his brother carries him through each personal challenge until he finally realizes his own strength and courage.

Linda Miller Wilson is the author of A Few Days' Journey, a story about Mattie, the sister of Jonathan and Nathaniel from Summer Spy.

Summer Spy Cover

Gideon Tell and the Siege of Vicksburg

Author: Walker, Robert W.

Subjects: American History; Civil War; Vicksburg; Photography

Age: 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Grade: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Order code: 5558

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 5558S

Gideon Tell and the Siege of Vicksburg Cover

“Recommended” – The Book Report

With his father killed in the Battle of Shiloh and four younger children still at home to support, and too young by one year to join the Union Army, fourteen-year-old Gideon Tell becomes an apprentice photographer to fast-talking, clever, and well-read Charles Rintree. Rintree is headed to infiltrate enemy lines at Vicksburg to take photographs of positions and armaments, reckoning to get them to General Grant—not for outright cash but for the fame and subsequent money that fame will bring. Occupation of Vicksburg by the Confederates has made it impossible for Union forces to use the Mississippi River as a means of moving men and supplies.

Aboard the Empress, Grant’s supply steamer, Gideon and Rintree are caught between a double line of fire. The captain has taken civilian passengers aboard against the arguments of Union troop commander Lieutenant Stephen Kane. With the steamer under attack, Rintree has Gideon bravely remain on deck taking pictures of the shore battlements. Later, seeing the photographs and realizing that photographic surveillance is the way of the future, Kane conspires with Rintree to place him and Gideon inside the city of Vicksburg—their cover story to be that they are refugees desiring to return to the South, Rintree as a surgeon and Gideon as his son with an interest in the new science of photography chronicling his father’s work. The Millers, newspaper owners with Union sympathies, will be their contacts.

Rintree quickly becomes a surprisingly good full-time civilian surgeon. Vicksburg’s society loves him. Gideon realizes that it is up to him to take the pictures. Under the guise of a newspaper photographer creating an image of Vicksburg for the Millers' newspaper, Gideon can go almost anywhere and photograph freely “on assignment.” His objective is the panoramic view from atop the courthouse.

Slowly, Gideon reassesses Rintree as a liar, a forger, and perhaps a wheeler-dealer angling to sell the photographs to the highest bidder. When Kane arrives incognito (switching identity with a recently dead war correspondent and doing a fine impression of him), they share their suspicions of Rintree being a double spy. It becomes imperative to get Gideon and his prints to General Grant. A prisoner/troop train out of Vicksburg is the answer. What follows is a thrilling, action-packed, no-holds barred, identities-revealing great train escape.

The novel is seasoned with humor, seeds of romance, masked identities, and great insight into character development and relationships. A bonus is actual photographs of Vicksburg and historical personages who are woven into the story.

“Recommended” – The Book Report 

With his father killed in the Battle of Shiloh and four younger children still at home to support, and too young by one year to join the Union Army, fourteen-year-old Gideon Tell becomes an apprentice photographer to fast-talking, clever, and well-read Charles Rintree. Rintree is headed to infiltrate enemy lines at Vicksburg to take photographs of positions and armaments, reckoning to get them to General Grant—not for outright cash but for the fame and subsequent money that fame will bring. Occupation of Vicksburg by the Confederates has made it impossible for Union forces to use the Mississippi River as a means of moving men and supplies.

Aboard the Empress, Grant’s supply steamer, Gideon and Rintree are caught between a double line of fire. The captain has taken civilian passengers aboard against the arguments of Union troop commander Lieutenant Stephen Kane. With the steamer under attack, Rintree has Gideon bravely remain on deck taking pictures of the shore battlements. Later, seeing the photographs and realizing that photographic surveillance is the way of the future, Kane conspires with Rintree to place him and Gideon inside the city of Vicksburg—their cover story to be that they are refugees desiring to return to the South, Rintree as a surgeon and Gideon as his son with an interest in the new science of photography chronicling his father’s work. The Millers, newspaper owners with Union sympathies, will be their contacts.

Rintree quickly becomes a surprisingly good full-time civilian surgeon. Vicksburg’s society loves him. Gideon realizes that it is up to him to take the pictures. Under the guise of a newspaper photographer creating an image of Vicksburg for the Millers' newspaper, Gideon can go almost anywhere and photograph freely “on assignment.” His objective is the panoramic view from atop the courthouse.

Slowly, Gideon reassesses Rintree as a liar, a forger, and perhaps a wheeler-dealer angling to sell the photographs to the highest bidder. When Kane arrives incognito (switching identity with a recently dead war correspondent and doing a fine impression of him), they share their suspicions of Rintree being a double spy. It becomes imperative to get Gideon and his prints to General Grant. A prisoner/troop train out of Vicksburg is the answer. What follows is a thrilling, action-packed, no-holds barred, identities-revealing great train escape.

The novel is seasoned with humor, seeds of romance, masked identities, and great insight into character development and relationships. A bonus is actual photographs of Vicksburg and historical personages who are woven into the story.

Gideon Tell and the Siege of Vicksburg Cover

March of Glory

Author: Joinson, Carla

Subjects: Values; American History; Civil War; Confederate Army

Age: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16

Grade: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

Order code: 0823

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 0823S

March of Glory Cover

March of Glory is a handsomely written novel for young adults and Civil War buffs. It is about the mindset of a young Southern soldier. It is an American history experience masterfully crafted, richly documented, and accurately detailed. Cadet Charlie Stuart’s story is a must-read, either alone or as a parallel piece to The Red Badge of Courage.

Born into a prosperous North Carolina family with business ties in the North, Charlie decides to become a soldier when North Carolina secedes from the Union. Against his father’s wishes, he enrolls in the Virginia Military Institute to become a good fighting soldier for the honor of his state and his country. The war, he believes, had started over states’ rights but was now becoming a war over slavery.

Through Charlie’s relationships with and observations of his Southern family and VMI cadets and upperclassmen, we experience the toll of the war on the Southern family unit and social groups. The economics of the plantation system and slavery are clear, too. Hard work, long hours of study, little food, belittling relationships with upperclassmen, and close friendships with other new cadets are all here.

The characters in this story have pasts and personalities. Even Charlie’s brief capture by Union soldiers has unusual depth as he dramatically shares his fear and his discovery that a Union soldier is capable of compassion. Although the South is ill-equipped for war, the pervading feeling is that it will fight to the death to preserve its way of life. Therefore, when the VMI Corps of Cadets supports General John C. Breckenridge’s forces in Staunton, Virginia, we see an extraordinary battle scene. March of Glory is an American novel of human feelings, honor, values, and soldiering.

March of Glory is a handsomely written novel for young adults and Civil War buffs. It is about the mindset of a young Southern soldier. It is an American history experience masterfully crafted, richly documented, and accurately detailed. Cadet Charlie Stuart’s story is a must-read, either alone or as a parallel piece to The Red Badge of Courage.

Born into a prosperous North Carolina family with business ties in the North, Charlie decides to become a soldier when North Carolina secedes from the Union. Against his father’s wishes, he enrolls in the Virginia Military Institute to become a good fighting soldier for the honor of his state and his country. The war, he believes, had started over states’ rights but was now becoming a war over slavery.

Through Charlie’s relationships with and observations of his Southern family and VMI cadets and upperclassmen, we experience the toll of the war on the Southern family unit and social groups. The economics of the plantation system and slavery are clear, too. Hard work, long hours of study, little food, belittling relationships with upperclassmen, and close friendships with other new cadets are all here.

The characters in this story have pasts and personalities. Even Charlie’s brief capture by Union soldiers has unusual depth as he dramatically shares his fear and his discovery that a Union soldier is capable of compassion. Although the South is ill-equipped for war, the pervading feeling is that it will fight to the death to preserve its way of life. Therefore, when the VMI Corps of Cadets supports General John C. Breckenridge’s forces in Staunton, Virginia, we see an extraordinary battle scene. March of Glory is an American novel of human feelings, honor, values, and soldiering.

March of Glory Cover

In Sherman's Path

Author: Spieles, J. F.

Subjects: Slavery; American History; Civil War

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

ISBN: 978-0-89824-859-3

Order code: 8593

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 8593S

In Sherman's Path Cover

Twelve-year-old orphan Henry Akinson lives in Georgia. It is in the autumn of 1864, during the time of Sherman’s March to the Sea from Atlanta to Savannah. Henry carries out some dangerous missions for a plantation owner who has offered to protect him, but instead he is put directly in the path of Sherman’s looters and foragers. Through it all, Henry develops a relationship with a slave family. His interactions with them challenge his previously held attitudes and beliefs about slaves. He is forced to consider what equality really means, and he learns that true honor and courage have nothing to do with the color of one’s skin.

This is a compelling story that brings the dangers and realities of the Civil War alive for young readers. It is a powerful and effective way to engage them when learning about history.

Jeffrey Spieles is an elementary school teacher in Englewood, Ohio. A nominee for the 2011 Ohio Teacher of the Year award, drama and storytelling have been major influences on his teaching style.

Reviews:

"Through vivid description, a well-crafted plot, and a satisfying ending, J.F. Spieles brings to life an ugly time in American history through the eyes of an innocent boy struggling to survive. As Henry witnesses the horror of Sherman’s army, he is betrayed by those he should be able to trust and saved by one he has been taught to hate. Through fear and friendship, Henry learns that decisions have consequences, that once a coward, not always a coward, and that family can be found in unlikely places. In Sherman’s Path exposes the roots of prejudice and teaches timeless coming-of-age lessons of tolerance, trust, and humanity. A must-read for any student who thinks one’s skin reveals anything about the person beneath it." – Becky Davis, eighth-grade language arts teacher

"Some people aren't cut out for war, but times may need them anyway.... As Sherman's war machine storms through Georgia, Henry realizes that running forever won't save him forever, and it may be up to him to slow down the cruelty of Sherman. In Sherman's Path is a compelling tale of the Civil War, very much recommended reading." – The Midwest Book Review

"A wonderful story of how war and peoples’ actions can have life-changing effects on one young man's life." – Teresa Gaylard, children’s librarian, Dayton Metro Library

"Spieles's amazing attention to detail, especially in regards to what life was like for women and children, as well as newly freed slaves, will make Civil War history come alive for students. It is particularly unique that students have an opportunity to view events through the eyes of Southern characters, providing a fabulous opportunity to encourage a discussion about points of view and how history is written. What a great resource!"  Jessica Klinker, Library Media Director, Immaculate Conception School, Columbus, Ohio

Twelve-year-old orphan Henry Akinson lives in Georgia. It is in the autumn of 1864, during the time of Sherman’s March to the Sea from Atlanta to Savannah. Henry carries out some dangerous missions for a plantation owner who has offered to protect him, but instead he is put directly in the path of Sherman’s looters and foragers. Through it all, Henry develops a relationship with a slave family. His interactions with them challenge his previously held attitudes and beliefs about slaves. He is forced to consider what equality really means, and he learns that true honor and courage have nothing to do with the color of one’s skin. 

This is a compelling story that brings the dangers and realities of the Civil War alive for young readers. It is a powerful and effective way to engage them when learning about history.

Jeffrey Spieles is an elementary school teacher in Englewood, Ohio. A nominee for the 2011 Ohio Teacher of the Year award, drama and storytelling have been major influences on his teaching style.

Reviews:

"Through vivid description, a well-crafted plot, and a satisfying ending, J.F. Spieles brings to life an ugly time in American history through the eyes of an innocent boy struggling to survive. As Henry witnesses the horror of Sherman’s army, he is betrayed by those he should be able to trust and saved by one he has been taught to hate. Through fear and friendship, Henry learns that decisions have consequences, that once a coward, not always a coward, and that family can be found in unlikely places. In Sherman’s Path exposes the roots of prejudice and teaches timeless coming-of-age lessons of tolerance, trust, and humanity. A must-read for any student who thinks one’s skin reveals anything about the person beneath it." – Becky Davis, eighth-grade language arts teacher

"Some people aren't cut out for war, but times may need them anyway.... As Sherman's war machine storms through Georgia, Henry realizes that running forever won't save him forever, and it may be up to him to slow down the cruelty of Sherman. In Sherman's Path is a compelling tale of the Civil War, very much recommended reading." – The Midwest Book Review

"A wonderful story of how war and peoples’ actions can have life-changing effects on one young man's life." – Teresa Gaylard, children’s librarian, Dayton Metro Library

"Spieles's amazing attention to detail, especially in regards to what life was like for women and children, as well as newly freed slaves, will make Civil War history come alive for students. It is particularly unique that students have an opportunity to view events through the eyes of Southern characters, providing a fabulous opportunity to encourage a discussion about points of view and how history is written. What a great resource!"  Jessica Klinker, Library Media Director, Immaculate Conception School, Columbus, Ohio

In Sherman's Path Cover

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