Historical tweens and their fathers

Hi everyone, welcome to my first review post for September celebrating fathers and daughters!! It was a little challenging trying to find appropriate historical reads with this important relationship, but I’d like to think that I managed quite well. If you’re now curious to know what I found, continue by pressing the button below…

The first few titles are from America’s frontier era.

Title: Bo at Ballard Creek & Bo at Iditarod creek

Author: Kirkpatrick Hill

Illustrator: LeUyen Pham

Publication details: Henry Holt & Co; NY, 2013 & 2014

What these books are about: Bo’s family is not the usual, ordinary sort of family, because she didn’t get it in the ordinary way. She was headed for a lonely Alaskan orphanage when she won the hearts of two tough gold miners who set out to raise her with the help of an entire Eskimo village along the Ballard Creek. As she grows up, her two fathers need to leave for work at a dredge mine in the Iditarod country. In the sequel, we find adventure along with Bo and her two papas as they start a new life with a younger brother. This is the unforgettable story of a young girl growing up in the exhilarating time after the big Alaska gold rushes. 

My review: Reminiscent of L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables and the Little House series, these stories were enjoyable and often hilarious!! I fell in love with Bo and her two papas and by the second book I couldn’t wait to see what she got up to. I found that both stories were well detailed and the research done on those gold-rush days gave a veritable ‘treasure-mine’ of unforgettable characters!! We are also awarded with a fascinating look into the role of young girls during those days!! An awesome set of reads!! 

My rating: 5 ⭐

Additional notes: Bo at Ballard Creek was awarded the Scott O’Dell Award for historical fiction in  2014.

image of young Asian girl in blue blouse and white bonnet in middle. large sky and image of prairie behind her. small image of man holding small girl and woman seen through girl in middle. large purple letters at top read Prairie Lotus.
An engaging read

Title: Prairie Lotus

Author: Linda Sue Park

Publication details: Clarion Books; NY, 2020

What this book is about: When Hanna arrives in the town of LaForge, Dakota Territory in 1880, she sees possibilities. Her father could open a shop on the main street. She could go to school, if there is a school, and even realize her dream of becoming a dressmaker – provided she can convince Papa, that is. She and Papa could make a home here. But Hanna is half-Chinese, and she knows from experience that most white people don’t want neighbours who aren’t white themselves. Hanna is determined to stay in La Forge and persuade them to see beyond her surface. In a setting that will be recognised by fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books, this compelling story of resolution and persistence, told with humour, insight, and charm, offers a fresh look at a long-established view of history. 

My review: This lovely and engaging read took me back to the prairies young Laura Ingalls could be seen running through!! The unique character of Hanna, a half Chinese girl, growing up motherless, has to face the prejudice and attitude people had towards anyone different back then. I loved the descriptions of pioneer life, especially the school scenes and those of Hanna’s father’s shop. The relationship she has with her father is a good one as Hanna is given free reign over most of the shop. I like how the author references actual historical events into the story making history come alive in a way that included Hanna and her Papa. A lovely story of diversity and inclusion!!

My rating: 4 ⭐

This next award-winning read captivated me with it’s lyrical narrative and unforgettable characters. Although there isn’t a traditional father, the relationship young Crow has with Osh is truly a special one.

image of small boar sailing over water into large sunset in middle. reflection of sunset on ripples of water becomes a feather at bottom. large cursive white letters at middle of dark sky read Beyond the bright sea.
An award-winning tale!

Title: Beyond the bright sea

Author: Lauren Wolk

Publication details: Corgi Books; UK, 2017 |   Dutton Children’s Books; US, 2017

What this book is about: Crow washed up on a tiny, windswept island when she was just a few hours old, with three things: a birthmark in the shape of a feather, a ruby ring, and a sea-soaked letter, of which just a few cryptic words remain. But it is only when a mysterious fire appears across the water that Crow starts to wonder who she really is, and sets out on an unforgettable treasure hunt – one that will show what it truly means to be a family. 

My review: A lovely read!! Set during the Depression era on a tiny island off the coast of Maine we delve into the life of an orphaned girl Crow, and see into her life with father-figure, sailor cum painter Osh and the ever-present Miss Maggie. Mysteries of a long-buried secret along with high adventure involving treasure hunters, the reader gets sucked into this read from the beginning. I like how Lauren Wolk puts so much into building both characters and storyline to bring this period into life. Her descriptions of the relationship Crow has with Osh felt quite special to me even though he was her adopted father. An amazing story!!

My rating: 5 ⭐

Additional notes: This novel won the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction and was nominated for the Carnegie Medal in 2018. 

These last two stories will take readers across the Atlantic Ocean to England and give you stories about two very different types of father-daughter relationships. 

image of young girl in green dress and cape holding small pick-axe looking at towering cliffs as large waves beat at it. fossils of creatures behind her. yellow letters above girl read Lightning Mary.
An interesting read

Title: Lightning Mary

Author: Anthea Simmons

Publication details: Anderson Press; London, 2019

What this book is about: One stormy night, lightning strikes a group of women with a baby sheltering under a tree. Only the baby survives: her name is Mary Anning. Growing up on the wild Dorset coast, Mary follows after her father in the perilous hunt for valuable fossils uncovered by waves and landslides: ancient creatures, turned to stone. Yet tragedy and despair are never far away. As a girl fighting to fulfil her dream of becoming a scientist, everything is against Mary. but Mary hasn’t survived the lightning strike for nothing. Soon she’ll make her greatest discovery of all…

My review: A fascinating read!! This fictionalized account of the early life of Mary Anning by Anthea Simmons gave me a glimpse of how life was for those struggling to make a living during the early 1800’s. The language used, descriptions and imagery took me all the way to the wilds of the Dorset coast and life back then. What I enjoyed the most was the relationship Mary had with her father and the influence he had to create the genius she became. Loved the supporting cast in her brother Joseph and the friends she made. A good read for young girls to show the high spirit and determinations Mary Anning showed back then.

My rating: 4 ⭐

image of girl and seal like creature at brow of ship looking out to dark sea. tail of large whale popping out. sky is hues of purple and blue. white letters in sky read The Pearl in the Ice.
A magical read!

Title: The Pearl in the Ice

Author: Cathryn Constable

Publication details: Chicken House: UK, 2019

What this book is about: Twelve-year-old Marina feels an irresistible pull to the sea despite the strict wishes of her father, a naval commander, who’s kept her away from water all her life.  When she’s sent to boarding school, Marina instead steps away on her father’s ship. Unbeknown to her, it’s the eve of war and she’s embarked on a stormy voyage through icy seas where a great secret lies in wait…

My review: An enchanting read set somewhere in the not-so-distant past where Britain is setting to go to war. Young Marina has taken the train to Portsmouth instead of her boarding school and finds herself off on an adventure. What a read this was!! Filled with naval descriptions and high adventure on stormy seas, Marina and her father, Commander Denham, race to the edge of the ice while unknown enemies race behind them. Along with her friendships with the crew, what I liked the most were the snapshots of her relationship with her father. Goes to show you what a father would endure for their children, especially daughters!! An awesome read!!

My rating: 4 ⭐

Well, these were the ones I found interesting enough to share with you. If you have read a similar tween tale, I’d love to hear about it! Until then,

Stay safe and keep reading

Miss Mahee

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s