Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Really Good Historical Fiction

If you read my blog, you know I am a fan of historical fiction.  It is a wonderful opportunity to hear a compelling story and learn something about the events that shaped our present lives.  My kids are so exhilarated when they are in school and have a point of reference for what they are learning based on a story they read.  It enriches the school experience.  That is probably one of the best selling points for me to encourage children to read historical fiction.  Well that and the stories are just plain good.

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Title:The Great Trouble

Author:Deborah Hopkinson

Target:Grade 4-8

Series: No

What this book is about: 
A terrible cholera epidemic begins around the Broad Street well in London in 1854.  As a young orphan, Eel, sees his friends dying and he desperately wants to do something to help.  But what can a boy living off odd jobs and trolling the Thames do to help these people?  It turns out one of his employers, Dr. Snow has a theory that the well, and not the “infected air” are the cause of the problem.  But how do you convince a population who have heard the old wives tales of the dirty air be convinced that the source is a well that they depend on daily?  Well with scientific inquiry of course, and Eel is the only one with enough knowledge and trust of these residents to get the job done.

Why I love this book: 
First off this book is a wonderful blend of actual historical events and fictional characters that bring the story of this cholera epidemic to life.  Kids will be amazed that much of the medical knowledge we take for granted today was unheard of 150 years ago.

I think that Hopkins does a wonderful job of introducing kids to scientific research and how you isolate the causes of disease.  The book teaches this process while kids are caught up in an exciting mystery, and they never even realize what they are learning.

The story itself reminded me of a Dicken's tale as Eel himself is running from the bad guys, helping the doctor and dealing with the injustices of his station in life.  Of course the mystery and adventure in the book takes the lead, so kids will never feel they are being preached to, which I love.

Who this book is for: 
Great for kids who like historical fiction, who are interested in science and who like a good mystery.

Final thoughts: 
Love that the author includes photos and bios of the individuals in the book who are the basis for some of the characters.  Nice to keep the learning going.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel  A portion of each purchase will go back to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

1 comment:

  1. I really liked this one, too, and it's circulated steadily. Have you read Cibbaro's Deadly? Typhoid Mary! Sometimes horrible diseases will really sell historical fiction.