Tag Archives: Elizabeth Wein

Firebirds and Night Witches – a fiction/non-fiction pairing

26 Aug

I have a list of fiction/non-fiction pairings and have an idea for a project I would like my students to do someday. When I finally get it together, it will involve some sort of compare and contrast and maybe even a little fiction writing. The devil is, as always, in the details.

I am always on the lookout for good fiction/non-fiction pairings and recently found one in We Rule the Night by Claire Eliza Bartlett and A Thousand Sisters  by Elizabeth Wein.

Wein’s book is a non-fiction book about Soviet women pilots during WWII. Bartlett’s book is a fantasy novel inspired by the Soviet women pilots of WWII, but her pilots use magic as the Union battles the Elda. Both have strong female characters that find a way to use their talents.

51r6DHFe+qL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

Publisher’s Summary: Seventeen-year-old Revna is a factory worker, manufacturing war machines for the Union of the North. When she’s caught using illegal magic, she fears being branded a traitor and imprisoned. Meanwhile, on the front lines, Linné defied her father, a Union general, and disguised herself as a boy to join the army. They’re both offered a reprieve from punishment if they use their magic in a special women’s military flight unit and undertake terrifying, deadly missions under cover of darkness. Revna and Linné can hardly stand to be in the same cockpit, but if they can’t fly together, and if they can’t find a way to fly well, the enemy’s superior firepower will destroy them–if they don’t destroy each other first.

We Rule the Night is a fiercely compelling story about sacrifice, complicated friendships, and survival against impossible odds.

51G-8qv+CQL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Publisher’s Summary: In the early years of World War II, Josef Stalin issued an order that made the Soviet Union the first country in the world to allow female pilots to fly in combat. Led by Marina Raskova, these three regiments, including the 588th Night Bomber Regiment—nicknamed the “night witches”—faced intense pressure and obstacles both in the sky and on the ground. Some of these young women perished in flames. Many of them were in their teens when they went to war.

This is the story of Raskova’s three regiments, women who enlisted and were deployed on the front lines of battle as navigators, pilots, and mechanics. It is the story of a thousand young women who wanted to take flight to defend their country, and the woman who brought them together in the sky.

Packed with black-and-white photographs, fascinating sidebars, and thoroughly researched details, A Thousand Sisters is the inspiring true story of a group of women who set out to change the world, and the sisterhood they formed even amid the destruction of war.

 

Happy birthday Kate DiCamillo!

25 Mar

images

I was born at the tail end of 1964.

On that same day, December 23, 1964, Eddie Vedder, lead singer of   Pearl Jam was born. Although I have never met Eddie, I like to think of him as my other twin, since I already have a twin sister.

I learned recently that Kate DiCamillo was born on March 25, 1964. Happy birthday Kate DiCamillo! The Tale of Despereaux and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane are two of the books I would take with me to a desert island.

That got me wondering if there other writers were born in 1964. So ex-librarian that I am, I did a little digging to see which of my favorite children’s and YA authors turn 52 this year, like Kate, Eddie and I.

Libba Bray turns 52 on March 11. I read Lair of Dreams  recently, but my favorite book remains Beauty Queens.

 On April 9th, Margaret Peterson Haddix turns 52. My sister gave me Running Out of Time when it came out in 1995 and I have been a fan ever since.

Frances O’Roark Dowell’s birthday is on May 30th. hough I’ve read fewer of her books, my favorite is Shooting the Moon.

On June 5th, we will celebrate Rick Riordan’s 52nd birthday. One of the best book clubs I ever ran was a small pull out group reading  The Lightning Thief. I snapped up that series and even skipped lunch one day in 2008 to make a Powell’s to pick up a just released copy of The Battle of the Labyrinth.

And finally, on October 2nd, Elizabeth Wein, the author of one of my heart books, Code Name Verity,  turns 52.

A year later, in 1965, Frank Sinatra recorded this song.

Having faith in an author

14 Sep

I’m currently  listening to Elizabeth Wein’s  Black Dove White Raven in the car.

Unknown

When I popped the first disc in, I felt a little unsure as the story began. It didn’t seem to be much of a story and I was confused by the setting (why didn’t I know the story was set in Ethiopia?). But I loved her two earlier novels, Code Named Verity and Rose Under Fire, so I had faith that the story would pull me in as they had. I’m now on the 4th disc, and it has.

The novel is set in the  Ethiopia of the 1930’s, on the cusp of war with Mussolini’s Italy. Haile Selassie’s coronation, attempts to modernize his country while fending off European aggression and speech to the UN form the historical backdrop. Here is a news clip about his speech  that failed to convince the League of Nations members to help.

This is historical fiction done well. It is also a moving story about friendship what makes a family.

Publisher’s Summary: Emilia and Teo’s lives changed in a fiery, terrifying instant when a bird strike brought down the plane their stunt pilot mothers were flying. Teo’s mother died immediately, but Em’s survived, determined to raise Teo according to his late mother’s wishes―in a place where he won’t be discriminated against because of the color of his skin. But in 1930s America, a white woman raising a black adoptive son alongside a white daughter is too often seen as a threat.

Seeking a home where her children won’t be held back by ethnicity or gender, Rhoda brings Em and Teo to Ethiopia, and all three fall in love with the beautiful, peaceful country. But that peace is shattered by the threat of war with Italy, and teenage Em and Teo are drawn into the conflict. Will their devotion to their country, its culture and people, and each other be their downfall or their salvation?

In the tradition of her award-winning and bestselling Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein brings us another thrilling and deeply affecting novel that explores the bonds of friendship, the resilience of young pilots, and the strength of the human spirit.

On my bookshelf

11 Apr

I currently have two stacks of books.

There’s the Morris Award pile of books I’m reading, or have received and meet the basic Morris criteria. That stack is getting bigger and I don’t have to read all of them. We divvy those out, but we all have to read any we decide to nominate. This one sits on a table on the east side of my living room.

On the west side, I have the stack of library materials I want to get to. This is mostly books, but also Audiobook CDs and a DVD or two. Here is a picture of that shelf.

IMG_1866

It is a snapshot that captures this moment today. It s a shifting shelf and might look different tomorrow. Currently, there are no picture books.

The four I am most excited about are

Prairie Fire by E. K. Johnston, a sequel to The Story of Owen: Dragonslayer of Trondheim

Alex Crow by Andrew Smith

Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place  by Julie Berry (audiobooks CD narrated by Jayne Entwhistle)

 

ALA Youth Media Awards

27 Jan

WOW! I got up 15 minutes earlier than usual today, so I’d be showered and have coffee when they announcements began. And I made a second pot of coffee part way through. Here’s what I am most excited about:

THE NEWBERY: Flora & Ulysses!!!!!  and  The Year of Billy Miller  was an honor book.

Unknown  Unknown-1

THE BELPRE AWARD: Niño Wrestles the World  and Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass!!!

Unknown-2 Unknown-3

SCHNEIDER FAMILY AWARD:  A Splash of Red  and  Rose Under Fire

Unknown-4Unknown-5

YALSA NONFICTION AWARD:  The Nazi Hunters

Unknown-6

What an emotional morning. I have to go and present to 4th grade teachers now,all wired on caffeine and excitement.

Ravensbruck: fiction/non-fiction pairing

14 Oct

Unknown

I read Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein this weekend. It is a wonderful companion  to Code Name Verity. 

Rose Justice is a young pilot with the Air Transport Auxiliary during the Second World War. On her way back from a semi-secret flight in the waning days of the war, Rose is captured by the Germans and ends up in Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi women’s concentration camp. There, she meets an unforgettable group of women, including a once glamorous and celebrated French detective novelist whose Jewish husband and three young sons have been killed; a resilient young girl who was a human guinea pig for Nazi doctors trying to learn how to treat German war wounds; and a Nachthexen, or Night Witch, a female fighter pilot and military ace for the Soviet air force. These damaged women must bond together to help each other survive.

This got me thinking about a book I read in the summer: A Train in Winter : An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France by Caroline Moorhead.

Unknown-1

Here’s the blurb from the back cover:

They were teachers, students, chemists, writers, and housewives; a singer at the Paris Opera, a midwife, a dental surgeon. They distributed anti-Nazi leaflets, secreted Jews to safety, transported weapons, and conveyed clandestine messages. The youngest was a schoolgirl of fifteen; the eldest, a farmer’s wife in her sixties.

Eventually, the Gestapo hunted down 230 women active in the French Resistance and imprisoned them in a fort outside Paris. Separated from home and loved ones, these disparate individuals turned to one another, their common experience conquering divisions of age, profession, and class, as they found solace and strength in their deep affection and camaraderie.

In January 1943, they were sent to their final destination: Auschwitz. Only forty-nine would return to France.

A Train in Winter draws on interviews and deep archival research to uncover a dark chapter of history that offers an inspiring portrait of ordinary people, of bravery and survival—and of the remarkable, enduring power of female friendship.

Both books shed light on the particular experiences of women in concentration camps. Both were  horrific, but shed light on a particular aspect of women’s history. This would be a great pairing for high school history teachers, looking for a way to give their students a deeper understanding of the Holocaust, or for kids who like me, love history. Both are very readable and I highly recommend them.

Climb Every Mountain

9 Oct

Unknown

Remember the scene from The Sound of Music  where Maria is talking with Mother Superior after she’s come back from the von Trapp home and the kids are outside begging for her to return? Mother Superior tells Maria, when God closes a door, He opens a window. It happened to me at the library yesterday.

I returned the still unfinished The Search for Goliathus Hercules and picked up some other books I had on hold. Walking to the checkout station, I saw MULTIPLE COPIES of Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein, just waiting for me.

Unknown-1

If I didn’t have to work today, I’d have stayed up all night reading it. I only made it to page 42 last night, but I’m bringing it to work today & might hide it under my desk while I teach.

AND it is picture day at school and I’m wearing the sweater I made as my reader’s response to Code Name Verity.

I have a feeling it is going to be a GREAT day today. Forgive me if you catch me singing  Climb Every Mountain.

The Fat Squirrel Speaks

Knitting, spinning, and assorted awesomeness.

Global Yell Blog

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Jone Rush MacCulloch

Deo Writer: Musings to Spark the Spirit

Klickitat St. Readers

Just another WordPress.com site

Readerbuzz

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

PLUMDOG BLOG

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Gail Carriger

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Kate Messner

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Cybils Awards

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Someday My Printz Will Come

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The Librarian Who Doesn't Say Shhh!

Opening books to open minds.

andrea gillespie

Inquiring My Way Forward

Kirby's Lane: A Place for Readers and Writers

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The Horn Book

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The History Girls

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Books Around The Table

A potluck of ideas from five children's book authors and illustrators

%d bloggers like this: