Novels about Gifted Children: Historical Novels

The novels in this list feature gifted characters in historical settings, providing gifted children not only with a way to discover protagonists with whom to identify but also with an immersive experience in history.

The novels in this list feature gifted characters in historical settings, providing gifted children not only with a way to discover protagonists with whom to identify but also with an immersive experience in history.

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Taking Control

Author: Love, Ann

Subjects: Leadership; Historical Adventure; Ancient Greece; Alexander the Great

Age: 9, 10, 11, 12

Grade: 4, 5, 6, 7

Pages: 137

ISBN: 978-0-89824-998-9

Order code: 9989

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 9989S

Taking Control Cover

Julian is on a class trip to a museum when he meets Mr. Callisthenes, a strange figure who offers to take Julian to the past to teach him about Alexander the Great, a legendary hero who is nothing more than a name to most modern children. Julian, bored with history as dusty artifacts locked in display cases, agrees, and so begins a series of adventures during which Julian travels back in time to find himself present for each of the significant events in Alexander's life—not just as a witness but as an active participant.

On his first trip, Julian witnesses the now-famous scene of young Alexander gentling the great horse Bucephalus. During his next trip, Julian is present as Alexander's father, King Philip, is assassinated, and Alexander becomes ruler. Later Julian goes with Alexander to Troy to honor Achilles and make his claim as Achilles’s successor. Julian is at the Battle of Issus when Alexander defeats Darius, King of the Persians, and begins to subdue the Persian Empire. He watches the taking of Tyre and the slaughter of the townspeople. He sees Alexander going to consult the Oracle of Ammon in Siwa, and he and his sister Melanie are in attendance when Darius is killed, when Alexander decides to return to Macedonia, and finally when the great leader dies. Each visit to the ancient world provides Julian with a more complete understanding of the brilliant, ambitious, complex man who was Alexander the Great.

Julian is on a class trip to a museum when he meets Mr. Callisthenes, a strange figure who offers to take Julian to the past to teach him about Alexander the Great, a legendary hero who is nothing more than a name to most modern children. Julian, bored with history as dusty artifacts locked in display cases, agrees, and so begins a series of adventures during which Julian travels back in time to find himself present for each of the significant events in Alexander's life—not just as a witness but as an active participant.

On his first trip, Julian witnesses the now-famous scene of young Alexander gentling the great horse Bucephalus. During his next trip, Julian is present as Alexander's father, King Philip, is assassinated, and Alexander becomes ruler. Later Julian goes with Alexander to Troy to honor Achilles and make his claim as Achilles’s successor. Julian is at the Battle of Issus when Alexander defeats Darius, King of the Persians, and begins to subdue the Persian Empire. He watches the taking of Tyre and the slaughter of the townspeople. He sees Alexander going to consult the Oracle of Ammon in Siwa, and he and his sister Melanie are in attendance when Darius is killed, when Alexander decides to return to Macedonia, and finally when the great leader dies. Each visit to the ancient world provides Julian with a more complete understanding of the brilliant, ambitious, complex man who was Alexander the Great.

Taking Control Cover

Taking Control Sample Pages:

Julietta

Author: Saturen, Myra

Subjects: Jewish History; Medieval History; Medicine; Gifted Women and Girls

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

ISBN: 0-88092-538-8

Order code: 5388

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 5388S

Julietta Cover

Troyes, France, 1283. Among medieval physicians, a courageous few were women. They faced popular prejudice and furious opposition to their participation in the medical field. Yet fourteen-year-old Julietta’s dream had always been to dare to follow in the footsteps of her herbalist mother and the tradition of healing.

Homeless after the expulsion of Jews from her village and removed to the city of Troyes for safety, Julietta is separated from her mother to become a ward of master physician Brion. Female and therefore banned from seeking knowledge, Julietta seeks solace in restoring Brion’s tangled, weed-filled garden. How unlike her mother’s it is! Mother’s was filled with healing herbs and color. With each herb Julietta plants, she consults her mother’s herbal notebook and discovers the herb's ability to heal. Filled with compassion for the sick and suffering, naturally intelligent Julietta learns by patience and discovery. She works with stems, leaves, berries, and flowers. She begins to create remedies. She yearns to be allowed into Master Brion’s blue-tiled special study room. She wants to learn, to apprentice.

Spirited, compassionate, and inquisitive, Julietta soon must confront the usual anti-feminist obstacles and more—a skeptical mentor, a jealous rival, and her own self-doubt—to achieve her dream of becoming a doctor.

The novel offers young readers a glimpse of a fascinating but obscure era in Jewish history: the Middle Ages, with its customs, ethos, and folk beliefs. It also explores a little-known facet of medieval life—the daring participation of women in the field of medicine. In so doing, the story highlights women’s historical journey, from herbalists to doctors’ assistants to physicians in their own right.

"Julietta, a novel about a young Jewish girl in the 1200s, is our current read-aloud for the evenings. It is providing our fifth grader (and our third graders) with an excellent grasp of concepts she is reading about in the Kingfisher Illustrated Encyclopedia used in History Odyssey, Level Two: Middle Ages. It is giving faces, names, characterization, personalization, and heart to a time in history where there is little supplemental fictional material to be found—the persecution of Jews in the Middle Ages." – Mariann A., homeschooling parent, Oakton, VA

Author Myra Saturen is the author of Journey to a New World, also published by Royal Fireworks Press.

Troyes, France, 1283. Among medieval physicians, a courageous few were women. They faced popular prejudice and furious opposition to their participation in the medical field. Yet fourteen-year-old Julietta’s dream had always been to dare to follow in the footsteps of her herbalist mother and the tradition of healing.

Homeless after the expulsion of Jews from her village and removed to the city of Troyes for safety, Julietta is separated from her mother to become a ward of master physician Brion. Female and therefore banned from seeking knowledge, Julietta seeks solace in restoring Brion’s tangled, weed-filled garden. How unlike her mother’s it is! Mother’s was filled with healing herbs and color. With each herb Julietta plants, she consults her mother’s herbal notebook and discovers the herb's ability to heal. Filled with compassion for the sick and suffering, naturally intelligent Julietta learns by patience and discovery. She works with stems, leaves, berries, and flowers. She begins to create remedies. She yearns to be allowed into Master Brion’s blue-tiled special study room. She wants to learn, to apprentice.

Spirited, compassionate, and inquisitive, Julietta soon must confront the usual anti-feminist obstacles and more—a skeptical mentor, a jealous rival, and her own self-doubt—to achieve her dream of becoming a doctor.

The novel offers young readers a glimpse of a fascinating but obscure era in Jewish history: the Middle Ages, with its customs, ethos, and folk beliefs. It also explores a little-known facet of medieval life—the daring participation of women in the field of medicine. In so doing, the story highlights women’s historical journey, from herbalists to doctors’ assistants to physicians in their own right.

"Julietta, a novel about a young Jewish girl in the 1200s, is our current read-aloud for the evenings. It is providing our fifth grader (and our third graders) with an excellent grasp of concepts she is reading about in the Kingfisher Illustrated Encyclopedia used in History Odyssey, Level Two: Middle Ages. It is giving faces, names, characterization, personalization, and heart to a time in history where there is little supplemental fictional material to be found—the persecution of Jews in the Middle Ages." – Mariann A., homeschooling parent, Oakton, VA

Author Myra Saturen is the author of Journey to a New World, also published by Royal Fireworks Press.

Julietta Cover

Runaway Will

Author: Fisher, Linda C.

Subjects: Historical Adventure; Shakespeare; Elizabethan England

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

ISBN: 978-0-88092-720-8

Order code: 7208

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 7208S

Runaway Will Cover

From the moment sixteen-year-old Will Shakespeare runs away from home, his goal is to avoid danger. But fate ignores Will’s plan. “You’re a handsome boy,” Volka, the old gypsy queen, tells him. “With the right clothes, you’ll fit in with us.” Fit in with these fearsome gypsies? With their whips and knives and bears? Never! Then again, when you’re on the run, hiding from authorities, home is where you find it. 

How and why did William Shakespeare go to London from Stratford? How and where did he first learn to write plays? When did he first fall in love? Runaway Will has some highly original answers while transporting readers to an adventure among the sometimes violent but also romantic gypsies in Elizabethan England.

“Runaway Will is an entertaining and quick-paced read. Young readers will enjoy following Will through several scrapes and narrow misses, and even older readers will find themselves entranced by Fisher’s historical accuracy...." – Mollie Smith Waters, English and theater instructor at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College, Greenville, Alabama

See the link beneath the book cover on this page for free downloadable study notes.

From the moment sixteen-year-old Will Shakespeare runs away from home, his goal is to avoid danger. But fate ignores Will’s plan. “You’re a handsome boy,” Volka, the old gypsy queen, tells him. “With the right clothes, you’ll fit in with us.” Fit in with these fearsome gypsies? With their whips and knives and bears? Never! Then again, when you’re on the run, hiding from authorities, home is where you find it. 

How and why did William Shakespeare go to London from Stratford? How and where did he first learn to write plays? When did he first fall in love? Runaway Will has some highly original answers while transporting readers to an adventure among the sometimes violent but also romantic gypsies in Elizabethan England.

“Runaway Will is an entertaining and quick-paced read. Young readers will enjoy following Will through several scrapes and narrow misses, and even older readers will find themselves entranced by Fisher’s historical accuracy...." – Mollie Smith Waters, English and theater instructor at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College, Greenville, Alabama

See the link beneath the book cover on this page for free downloadable study notes.

Runaway Will Cover

Runaway Will Study Notes:

A Will of Her Own

Author: Fisher, Linda C.

Subjects: Historical Adventure; Shakespeare; Elizabethan England

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

ISBN: 978-0-88092-641-6

Order code: 6416

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 6416S

A Will of Her Own Cover

This is a fascinating story of intrigue and murder set in murky sixteenth-century London, where a young man named Luke makes friends with a young actor/playwright named Will Shakespeare. But Luke really is fifteen-year-old Lady Lucinda, a young woman who has disguised herself as a boy so she can act in a play. Only males were allowed to act in plays in Elizabethan England. As a boy, however, Lucy finds herself fighting off assailants and even getting involved in a duel. Together, Luke and Will have a series of adventures that lead to uncovering and foiling a plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth.

As Lady Lucinda, "Luke" is a dutiful daughter of a lord, and no one suspects her double life. As she explains to Will Shakespeare, it is her brother who has all the fun; she leads a sheltered, dull life.

"When well done, historical novels are great fun. A  Will of Her Own is great fun…. Sword play and word play abound, and the novel moves with the precision and suppleness of a fencing match…. The plot turns on various cases of mistaken identity and deliciously echoes The Comedy of Errors, a device which enhances the fun…. Fisher has made her first-person narrative convincing and believable." – Professor Peter Huggins, Auburn University  

See the link beneath the book cover on this page for a free downloadable teaching guide.

This is a fascinating story of intrigue and murder set in murky sixteenth-century London, where a young man named Luke makes friends with a young actor/playwright named Will Shakespeare. But Luke really is fifteen-year-old Lady Lucinda, a young woman who has disguised herself as a boy so she can act in a play. Only males were allowed to act in plays in Elizabethan England. As a boy, however, Lucy finds herself fighting off assailants and even getting involved in a duel. Together, Luke and Will have a series of adventures that lead to uncovering and foiling a plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth.

As Lady Lucinda, "Luke" is a dutiful daughter of a lord, and no one suspects her double life. As she explains to Will Shakespeare, it is her brother who has all the fun; she leads a sheltered, dull life.

"When well done, historical novels are great fun. A  Will of Her Own is great fun…. Sword play and word play abound, and the novel moves with the precision and suppleness of a fencing match…. The plot turns on various cases of mistaken identity and deliciously echoes The Comedy of Errors, a device which enhances the fun…. Fisher has made her first-person narrative convincing and believable." – Professor Peter Huggins, Auburn University

See the link beneath the book cover on this page for a free downloadable teaching guide.

A Will of Her Own Cover

A Will of Her Own Teaching Guide:

The Shot Not Heard Around the World

Author: Damitz, Charlie

Subjects: American History; Revolutionary War; Medicine

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Order code: 4403

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 4403S

The Shot Not Heard Around the World Cover

Young Jeremy has hunted rabbits and squirrels many times with his father in the woods near their farm. He is a good marksman with his musket. On April 19, 1775, he is one of those alerted by Paul Revere to the British march to Concord. The Redcoats are coming! Jeremy hurries to assume his assigned place in the Minuteman plan: a sniper behind a stone wall to hunt the Redcoats. He has practiced; he is ready. All he has to do is wait.

Yet when the moment comes to shoot the enemy, who is close enough to look into his eyes, Jeremy cannot. Nor can the giant of a Redcoat shoot Jeremy. In that moment, two unsung heroes are called into action, and bloodshed is averted. An understanding passes between them.

Jeremy keeps his mouth shut about the incident because no Minuteman would understand. After soul-searching about being a coward or a traitor to the cause of liberty, Jeremy finally decides to confide his innermost thoughts to Doc Thorndike, whom he has known all his life.

The answer is clear: Jeremy will train with Doc Thorndike to be a surgeon’s assistant, and as a team they will help the war effort as true patriots. Events lead a wounded Roger Poole, the Redcoat of Jeremy’s previous encounter, to hide in the chicken coop on Jeremy’s farm. Finding him, Jeremy sneaks him to Doc Thorndike for treatment. Roger, too, wants to be a doctor and to study with Doc Thorndike. The good doctor invents a new identity for Roger and now has two dedicated pupils. Their instruction is rigorous, hands-on, and graphic.

Soon the team is on its way to Bunker Hill to join the makeshift medical corps already there. At the Battle of Bunker Hill, they see the true horrors of war.

Author Charlie Damitz tells his story in an extended flashback, as the now elderly Doctor Jeremy recalls why he became a doctor. This is an easy read, even with its many details about anatomical, pathological, procedural, and other medical matters, because Jeremy’s youthful yet intelligent viewpoint prevails.

Young Jeremy has hunted rabbits and squirrels many times with his father in the woods near their farm. He is a good marksman with his musket. On April 19, 1775, he is one of those alerted by Paul Revere to the British march to Concord. The Redcoats are coming! Jeremy hurries to assume his assigned place in the Minuteman plan: a sniper behind a stone wall to hunt the Redcoats. He has practiced; he is ready. All he has to do is wait.

Yet when the moment comes to shoot the enemy, who is close enough to look into his eyes, Jeremy cannot. Nor can the giant of a Redcoat shoot Jeremy. In that moment, two unsung heroes are called into action, and bloodshed is averted. An understanding passes between them.

Jeremy keeps his mouth shut about the incident because no Minuteman would understand. After soul-searching about being a coward or a traitor to the cause of liberty, Jeremy finally decides to confide his innermost thoughts to Doc Thorndike, whom he has known all his life.

The answer is clear: Jeremy will train with Doc Thorndike to be a surgeon’s assistant, and as a team they will help the war effort as true patriots. Events lead a wounded Roger Poole, the Redcoat of Jeremy’s previous encounter, to hide in the chicken coop on Jeremy’s farm. Finding him, Jeremy sneaks him to Doc Thorndike for treatment. Roger, too, wants to be a doctor and to study with Doc Thorndike. The good doctor invents a new identity for Roger and now has two dedicated pupils. Their instruction is rigorous, hands-on, and graphic.

Soon the team is on its way to Bunker Hill to join the makeshift medical corps already there. At the Battle of Bunker Hill, they see the true horrors of war.

Author Charlie Damitz tells his story in an extended flashback, as the now elderly Doctor Jeremy recalls why he became a doctor. This is an easy read, even with its many details about anatomical, pathological, procedural, and other medical matters, because Jeremy’s youthful yet intelligent viewpoint prevails.

The Shot Not Heard Around the World Cover

The Key to Honor

Author: Wanttaja, Ronald

Subjects: American History; Leadership; War of 1812; Maritime History; Sailing Ships

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

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

Order code: 2702

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 2702S

The Key to Honor Cover

A Pacific Northwest Writers Conference Award Winner

High praise from the Sea Room: “A perfect book for young adults...it demonstrates civility and honor, teaches leadership, teaches the nautical stuff along the way, is a bit better than reality..., and feels authentic.... Highly recommended....”

Set during the War of 1812, The Key to Honor is filled with maritime action and images. Young Nate Lawton’s bravery in combat aboard the U.S.S. Constitution in her famous victory over the H.M.S. Guerriere has earned him midshipman’s rank, but he hides a guilty secret: he deserted his post during the battle. Although everyone saw him save the Constitution's captain, no one saw him hide from the rest of the fight. Nate is determined to regain his honor, and it looks as though he will soon have his chance. He has been assigned to the Chesapeake in Boston Harbor. A pair of British frigates, led by the H.M.S. Shannon, blockade the harbor, and the Chesapeake’s Captain Lawrence is under heavy pressure to deal with the blockade and reopen Boston’s vital trade.

Nate must first discover what honor is. Does it lie in the senseless duels fought by his superior officers? The arrogant leadership shown by his fellow midshipmen? Or in overcoming the contempt of the experienced seamen directed toward him as their fifteen-year-old leader? One of the shortest battles of the early U.S. Navy provides Nate’s answers and the novel’s finale.

Readers become one with Nate as he shares his thoughts and feelings, which are juxtaposed with Navy protocol and shown both aboard and off ship. The author’s extensive research is deftly blended with his smooth writing style to enhance the novel’s superb realism, from dialogue and full-bodied characterization to ships’ details, Navy rules, confrontational scenes, and the historic final battle.

“...fascinating...a gripping naval story hard to lay down, it is also a coming-of-age story, a novel of character development that far surpasses many naval stories for adults.” – John Forester

A Pacific Northwest Writers Conference Award Winner

High praise from the Sea Room: “A perfect book for young adults...it demonstrates civility and honor, teaches leadership, teaches the nautical stuff along the way, is a bit better than reality..., and feels authentic.... Highly recommended....”

Set during the War of 1812, The Key to Honor is filled with maritime action and images. Young Nate Lawton’s bravery in combat aboard the U.S.S. Constitution in her famous victory over the H.M.S. Guerriere has earned him midshipman’s rank, but he hides a guilty secret: he deserted his post during the battle. Although everyone saw him save the Constitution's captain, no one saw him hide from the rest of the fight. Nate is determined to regain his honor, and it looks as though he will soon have his chance. He has been assigned to the Chesapeake in Boston Harbor. A pair of British frigates, led by the H.M.S. Shannon, blockade the harbor, and the Chesapeake’s Captain Lawrence is under heavy pressure to deal with the blockade and reopen Boston’s vital trade.

Nate must first discover what honor is. Does it lie in the senseless duels fought by his superior officers? The arrogant leadership shown by his fellow midshipmen? Or in overcoming the contempt of the experienced seamen directed toward him as their fifteen-year-old leader? One of the shortest battles of the early U.S. Navy provides Nate’s answers and the novel’s finale.

Readers become one with Nate as he shares his thoughts and feelings, which are juxtaposed with Navy protocol and shown both aboard and off ship. The author’s extensive research is deftly blended with his smooth writing style to enhance the novel’s superb realism, from dialogue and full-bodied characterization to ships’ details, Navy rules, confrontational scenes, and the historic final battle.

“...fascinating...a gripping naval story hard to lay down, it is also a coming-of-age story, a novel of character development that far surpasses many naval stories for adults.” – John Forester

The Key to Honor Cover

The Key to Honor Sample Pages:

The Price of Command

Author: Wanttaja, Ronald

Subjects: American History; Leadership; War of 1812; Maritime History; Sailing Ships

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

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

Order code: 2869

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 2869S

The Price of Command Cover

The Battle of Lake Erie took place a little more than three months after the battle between the U.S.S. Chesapeake and the British H.M.S. Shannon. In this follow-up novel to The Key to Honor, Midshipman Nate Lawton is sent to Lake Erie to help man the rough frontier fleet built by Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry.

To his initial delight, Nate finds that a shortage of officers places him in a much higher position than his limited experience would normally bring. The fortunes of war catapult him to an even higher rank: the acting first lieutenant of a brig of war. But command has its price. Nate’s captain is unwilling to pay it, and he uses Nate as a scapegoat for the dirty work. The captain thinks nothing of bending the truth to glorify his own career and to ruin Nate if he speaks out. Now Nate is caught between the rocks of naval discipline and the shoals of his superior officer’s unbending ambition, and he must decide what to do.

The Battle of Lake Erie took place a little more than three months after the battle between the U.S.S. Chesapeake and the British H.M.S. Shannon. In this follow-up novel to The Key to Honor, Midshipman Nate Lawton is sent to Lake Erie to help man the rough frontier fleet built by Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry.

To his initial delight, Nate finds that a shortage of officers places him in a much higher position than his limited experience would normally bring. The fortunes of war catapult him to an even higher rank: the acting first lieutenant of a brig of war. But command has its price. Nate’s captain is unwilling to pay it, and he uses Nate as a scapegoat for the dirty work. The captain thinks nothing of bending the truth to glorify his own career and to ruin Nate if he speaks out. Now Nate is caught between the rocks of naval discipline and the shoals of his superior officer’s unbending ambition, and he must decide what to do.

The Price of Command Cover

The Price of Command Sample Pages:

Finding Her Way

Author: Faigen, Anne

Subjects: American History; Relationships; Gifted Women and Girls; Growing Up Gifted; Transcendentalism

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

Grade: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Order code: 4055

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 4055S

Finding Her Way Cover

“A novel that will illuminate Thoreau, Walden Pond, Margaret Fuller, and the Transcendentalists for secondary students” – KLIATT Magazine

Concord, Massachusetts, 1845. Fifteen-year-old Rachel is neglecting her farm chores in order to sketch and draw. To make money for her art supplies, she raises hens for their eggs. But a drought forces her father to ask for that money for the farm. Understanding his need, but miserable when he calls her life’s ambition to draw a “little hobby,” Rachel runs to Walden Pond to recover. There, she is befriended by Henry David Thoreau, who is living “an experiment” in Walden Woods.

During a subsequent visit to Thoreau, Rachel meets Margaret Fuller, author, editor of The Transcendentalist Journal, reporter, and America’s first female foreign correspondent. Fuller takes samples of Rachel’s art with her to New York for an opinion about an art tutor. Gino Riccardi agrees to instruct Rachel by mail until she can come to New York.

Rachel’s family visits her brother in Boston, and Rachel, not allowed into the factory, contents herself with sketching a young boy warming himself by the fire in the courtyard. She is shocked by the number of children working there.

Rachel’s talent reaches new highs with the sketch of the young Simon, and Riccardi notifies her that she must now come to New York for instruction. With no means of living in New York, Rachel wants Thoreau to intercede with Riccardi to keep her lessons coming by mail, but Thoreau instead tells her about his friends, the Emersons, who live in New York and have room for her (William is Ralph’s brother). Their conversation is interrupted by shouts of Rachel's brother falling into frozen Walden Pond while ice fishing. Thoreau rushes out to save him.

With the family now in debt to Thoreau for their son’s life, he asks that they express their gratitude by allowing Rachel to stay with the Emersons and study art in New York. He also asks for the portrait of Simon.

In the spring, Rachel says goodbye to Thoreau and her beloved woods; he too prepares to leave Walden.

Throughout the novel, the author is careful to contrast for the reader the difference between commonly accepted attitudes and expectations and those of the Transcendentalists, who judged people in defiance of conventional expectations. This book is an accessible introduction to the Transcendentalists and to some of the important issues that characterized their thought.

“A novel that will illuminate Thoreau, Walden Pond, Margaret Fuller, and the Transcendentalists for secondary students” – KLIATT Magazine 

Concord, Massachusetts, 1845. Fifteen-year-old Rachel is neglecting her farm chores in order to sketch and draw. To make money for her art supplies, she raises hens for their eggs. But a drought forces her father to ask for that money for the farm. Understanding his need, but miserable when he calls her life’s ambition to draw a “little hobby,” Rachel runs to Walden Pond to recover. There, she is befriended by Henry David Thoreau, who is living “an experiment” in Walden Woods.

During a subsequent visit to Thoreau, Rachel meets Margaret Fuller, author, editor of The Transcendentalist Journal, reporter, and America’s first female foreign correspondent. Fuller takes samples of Rachel’s art with her to New York for an opinion about an art tutor. Gino Riccardi agrees to instruct Rachel by mail until she can come to New York.

Rachel’s family visits her brother in Boston, and Rachel, not allowed into the factory, contents herself with sketching a young boy warming himself by the fire in the courtyard. She is shocked by the number of children working there.

Rachel’s talent reaches new highs with the sketch of the young Simon, and Riccardi notifies her that she must now come to New York for instruction. With no means of living in New York, Rachel wants Thoreau to intercede with Riccardi to keep her lessons coming by mail, but Thoreau instead tells her about his friends, the Emersons, who live in New York and have room for her (William is Ralph’s brother). Their conversation is interrupted by shouts of Rachel's brother falling into frozen Walden Pond while ice fishing. Thoreau rushes out to save him.

With the family now in debt to Thoreau for their son’s life, he asks that they express their gratitude by allowing Rachel to stay with the Emersons and study art in New York. He also asks for the portrait of Simon.

In the spring, Rachel says goodbye to Thoreau and her beloved woods; he too prepares to leave Walden.

Throughout the novel, the author is careful to contrast for the reader the difference between commonly accepted attitudes and expectations and those of the Transcendentalists, who judged people in defiance of conventional expectations. This book is an accessible introduction to the Transcendentalists and to some of the important issues that characterized their thought.

Finding Her Way Cover

Charlie Boy

Author: Cory, Kim Delmar

Subjects: American History; Relationships; Automobiles; Technology; Inventions

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Order code: 4969

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 4969S

Charlie Boy Cover

Detroit in the 1890s. In bicycle shops around the city, men are experimenting with the internal combustion engine in an effort to make horseless carriages. It is the crucial time in the development of Detroit as the automobile center of the world, and this book brings to life the excitement of the early development of the automobile, as well as the intense competition among the individuals involved.

A bicycle shop owner named William Metzger was one of the pioneers of the auto industry. Into his shop comes twelve-year-old Charlie O’Brien, a young man with an astounding ability to draw and to make automobile ideas come alive. Charlie moves into Metzger’s shop, and together they work toward the development of the automobile. They ride with Charles King in the first car to drive the streets of Detroit. They spend evenings with the Dodge brothers working on ideas. They do not miss baseball at Bennett Park, which would later be called Tiger Stadium, and many of the other attractions of Detroit in the 1890s.

The novel is accessible for young readers, who are drawn into Charlie’s world.

Charlie is a fictional character, but Will Metzger was a real Detroiter who opened the first automobile dealership in Detroit in the 1890s. He was the M in EMF cars—an early competitor of Ford. He built cars for Pierce Arrow and was a founder of the Detroit Athletic Club and the American Automobile Association.

Kim Delmar Cory is the author of Lilly’s Way and Tending Ben's Garden, also published by Royal Fireworks Press. Her books are meticulously researched historical novels and are frequently used in fourth-grade curricula in the study of Michigan history.

Detroit in the 1890s. In bicycle shops around the city, men are experimenting with the internal combustion engine in an effort to make horseless carriages. It is the crucial time in the development of Detroit as the automobile center of the world, and this book brings to life the excitement of the early development of the automobile, as well as the intense competition among the individuals involved.

A bicycle shop owner named William Metzger was one of the pioneers of the auto industry. Into his shop comes twelve-year-old Charlie O’Brien, a young man with an astounding ability to draw and to make automobile ideas come alive. Charlie moves into Metzger’s shop, and together they work toward the development of the automobile. They ride with Charles King in the first car to drive the streets of Detroit. They spend evenings with the Dodge brothers working on ideas. They do not miss baseball at Bennett Park, which would later be called Tiger Stadium, and many of the other attractions of Detroit in the 1890s.

The novel is accessible for young readers, who are drawn into Charlie’s world.

Charlie is a fictional character, but Will Metzger was a real Detroiter who opened the first automobile dealership in Detroit in the 1890s. He was the M in EMF cars—an early competitor of Ford. He built cars for Pierce Arrow and was a founder of the Detroit Athletic Club and the American Automobile Association.

Kim Delmar Cory is the author of Lilly’s Way and Tending Ben's Garden, also published by Royal Fireworks Press. Her books are meticulously researched historical novels and are frequently used in fourth-grade curricula in the study of Michigan history.

Charlie Boy Cover

Only the Birds Are Free: The Story of a War-Child in Greece

Author: Cornwell, Anna Christake

Subjects: Greek-Americans; European History; World War II

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

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

Order code: 5728

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 5728S

Only the Birds Are Free: The Story of a War-Child in Greece Cover

Born in the United States to Greek parents, Anna Christake Cornwell was trapped in Greece during the Nazi occupation in World War II. Her mother and father had returned to Greece to educate their young son Tasio and their daughter Anna in the mother tongue and the ways of the homeland. Underlying the parents' concern was their daughter's free spirit, which seemed so different from what was expected of a proper girl in Greece. In 1940, in spite of the growing danger of world war, her father opted to return to the United States, leaving the rest of the family to follow later. But before they could book passage, they were trapped by the war, and Mama was left to protect her two young children from the Nazis for the next five and a half years.

The horrors of war brought Anna, Tasio, and Mama to know hunger and the constant threat of starvation, disease, exposure to the elements, and enemy bullets. Constantly on the alert for raids, the refugees often ran to the mountains to hide, abandoning what little of their belongings remained.

As was the case with everyone they knew, Mama and her children came to hate the Nazis and side with the resistance. As she grew up, Anna’s natural ability marked her for leadership in the resistance, and by the time she was fourteen, she was a leader in the youth resistance movement—with her mother’s full approval. What was proper behavior for a young girl had changed dramatically under the pressure of German occupation.

Only the Birds Are Free is a story of action and emotion. The characters are robust, and the descriptive passages are unforgettable. Anna’s story was originally published in Greek; this is her English translation. Anna and her family now reside in New York.

Born in the United States to Greek parents, Anna Christake Cornwell was trapped in Greece during the Nazi occupation in World War II. Her mother and father had returned to Greece to educate their young son Tasio and their daughter Anna in the mother tongue and the ways of the homeland. Underlying the parents' concern was their daughter's free spirit, which seemed so different from what was expected of a proper girl in Greece. In 1940, in spite of the growing danger of world war, her father opted to return to the United States, leaving the rest of the family to follow later. But before they could book passage, they were trapped by the war, and Mama was left to protect her two young children from the Nazis for the next five and a half years.

The horrors of war brought Anna, Tasio, and Mama to know hunger and the constant threat of starvation, disease, exposure to the elements, and enemy bullets. Constantly on the alert for raids, the refugees often ran to the mountains to hide, abandoning what little of their belongings remained. 

As was the case with everyone they knew, Mama and her children came to hate the Nazis and side with the resistance. As she grew up, Anna’s natural ability marked her for leadership in the resistance, and by the time she was fourteen, she was a leader in the youth resistance movement—with her mother’s full approval. What was proper behavior for a young girl had changed dramatically under the pressure of German occupation.

Only the Birds Are Free is a story of action and emotion. The characters are robust, and the descriptive passages are unforgettable. Anna’s story was originally published in Greek; this is her English translation. Anna and her family now reside in New York.

Only the Birds Are Free: The Story of a War-Child in Greece Cover

My Friend in Africa

Author: Franck, Frederick

Subjects: History; Personal Experience; Africa; Medicine; Schweitzer, Dr. Albert

Age: 8, 9, 10

Grade: 3, 4, 5

ISBN: 978-0-88092-325-5

Order code: 3253

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 3253S

My Friend in Africa Cover

This is the story of a young African boy who is brought to Schweitzer’s clinic for an infection in his foot. There, he comes to admire the doctor and wishes to become a doctor himself, but before he can do so, there is much he has to learn and unlearn. He finds a place and a set of duties at the hospital, only to be sent away by Dr. Schweitzer when his foot has healed. He later returns as a doctor.

My Friend in Africa is based on a true story and is delightfully illustrated by Dr. Franck. It was originally published as a joint publication with the Schweitzer Institute for the Humanities.

This is the story of a young African boy who is brought to Schweitzer’s clinic for an infection in his foot. There, he comes to admire the doctor and wishes to become a doctor himself, but before he can do so, there is much he has to learn and unlearn. He finds a place and a set of duties at the hospital, only to be sent away by Dr. Schweitzer when his foot has healed. He later returns as a doctor.

My Friend in Africa is based on a true story and is delightfully illustrated by Dr. Franck. It was originally published as a joint publication with the Schweitzer Institute for the Humanities.

My Friend in Africa Cover

The African Term

Author: Hagen, Michael

Subjects: History; Peace Corps; Africa

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

Grade: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Order code: 3687

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 3687S

The African Term Cover

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps as a governmental agency whose aims were to raise living standards in developing countries and to promote international friendship and understanding. Peace Corps projects were established at the request of the host country, and volunteer personnel usually served two years.

The African Term is set in Addis Ababa, 1962. Tom Berk, a 42-year-old accountant-turned-teacher, has answered the Peace Corps call. There are 32 male students ranging in age from 12 to 24 occupying 16 double wooden desks in his gray, non-windowed classroom. A single 60-watt bulb hangs from the center of the ceiling. All of the students wear shorts and white shirts. Some do not wear shoes. Berk wears a busi­ness suit. Here, schooling is a great honor, and the students are outwardly respectful. All eyes are on the new teacher from America who will teach English, but one pair cannot mask its dislike.

Fifteen-year-old Sahle Kifle is filled with mistrust for the American; he is clear about his reasons in his conversations with his friends. However, he is one of the fortunate to go to school, so he must abide by Berk’s rules. He is not impressed by Berk’s ability to write in Ahmeric and to speak his language or by Berk’s preference to live among the local inhabitants. But as his friends begin to appreciate the teacher’s efforts to teach with understanding and in a friendly atmos­phere, Sahle begins to soften, much against his own wishes. By the time Berk must leave, pre­maturely, to go to his sick father’s bedside back in America, an understanding friendship has developed between the two; Berk appreciates Sahle’s intelligence, and Sahle trusts Berk.

The author handles Berk’s world in Addis Ababa outside of the classroom brilliantly. Unforgettable are his trek to get there, his house boy’s antics, the foods, the smells, the grit of the dirt, and the sound of the bugs. The school hierarchy and the punishment it doles out for minor infractions is striking. And Sahle’s home life and family relationships are relat­ed as naturally as if the reader was a casual eavesdropper in the kitchen.

Michael Hagen is an accomplished stage actor and screenplay writer who was in the Peace Corps. He is also the author of the historical novels Klaus and Sail to Caribee, both of which are published by Royal Fireworks Press.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps as a governmental agency whose aims were to raise living standards in developing countries and to promote international friendship and understanding. Peace Corps projects were established at the request of the host country, and volunteer personnel usually served two years.

The African Term is set in Addis Ababa, 1962. Tom Berk, a 42-year-old accountant-turned-teacher, has answered the Peace Corps call. There are 32 male students ranging in age from 12 to 24 occupying 16 double wooden desks in his gray, non-windowed classroom. A single 60-watt bulb hangs from the center of the ceiling. All of the students wear shorts and white shirts. Some do not wear shoes. Berk wears a busi­ness suit. Here, schooling is a great honor, and the students are outwardly respectful. All eyes are on the new teacher from America who will teach English, but one pair cannot mask its dislike.

Fifteen-year-old Sahle Kifle is filled with mistrust for the American; he is clear about his reasons in his conversations with his friends. However, he is one of the fortunate to go to school, so he must abide by Berk’s rules. He is not impressed by Berk’s ability to write in Ahmeric and to speak his language or by Berk’s preference to live among the local inhabitants. But as his friends begin to appreciate the teacher’s efforts to teach with understanding and in a friendly atmos­phere, Sahle begins to soften, much against his own wishes. By the time Berk must leave, pre­maturely, to go to his sick father’s bedside back in America, an understanding friendship has developed between the two; Berk appreciates Sahle’s intelligence, and Sahle trusts Berk.

The author handles Berk’s world in Addis Ababa outside of the classroom brilliantly. Unforgettable are his trek to get there, his house boy’s antics, the foods, the smells, the grit of the dirt, and the sound of the bugs. The school hierarchy and the punishment it doles out for minor infractions is striking. And Sahle’s home life and family relationships are relat­ed as naturally as if the reader was a casual eavesdropper in the kitchen.

Michael Hagen is an accomplished stage actor and screenplay writer who was in the Peace Corps. He is also the author of the historical novels Klaus and Sail to Caribee, both of which are published by Royal Fireworks Press.

The African Term Cover

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