Children's Literature Reviews for Teaching History

Know a great book for teaching social studies that's not yet included here? Click the appropriate link on the left to add it.
Have you used one of these books with students? Leave a comment after the rating about your own experience.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Title: Newsgirl  
Author: Liza Ketchum  
Category: Historical Fiction

***An interview with Liza Ketchum is posted here.***

Topic: The California Gold Rush
Grade Level: 5-6
Students: Mostly strong readers with just a few struggling or reluctant readers 
Rating by: Scott Cole from Vermont

Historically Accurate?
(4) Yes, and also includes historical notes, primary sources, etc.
(3) Yes
(2) A few inaccurate or misleading portrayals
(1) Not a bit

An Engaging Story?
(4) Almost all students will beg to keep reading
(3) Most students will get caught up in the story
(2) Some students will read ahead by mistake
(1) Students will groan when the book is mentioned

Prompts Discussion?
(4) Students will still be talking about it in the hallway
(3) Will prompt discussion about major issues in the past as well as today
(2) Will prompt discussion about the characters and the events in the book
(1) Will not prompt discussion

(4) Everyone - even the most reluctant readers – can get on board
(3) Can be used for a whole class read
(2) Can only be used with a small high-powered reading group
(1) Recommend only to students that love reading

Age Appropriate Content?
____Too mature
_X__Just right
____Too simplistic

A Comment from Scott Cole:
Fun story that gave a real feel for the early days in California. VT readers love the book- it made our DCF- Dorthy Canfield Fisher -list for the 30 best books for kids this year!

Amazon's Product Description: 
"It’s the spring of 1851 and San Francisco is booming. Twelve-year-old Amelia Forrester has just arrived with her family and they are eager to make a new life in Phoenix City. But the mostly male town is not that hospitable to females and Amelia decides she’ll earn more money as a boy. Cutting her hair and donning a cap, she joins a gang of newsboys, selling Eastern newspapers for a fortune. And that’s just the beginning of her adventures. Participating in the biggest news stories of the day, Amelia is not a girl to let life pass her by—even and especially when it involves danger!"

Link to Reviews on Amazon
Link to the website of the author: Liza Ketchum
Link to Newsgirl's Facebook Page (which has a link to a travelogue done by the Barbara Bell at the San Jose Examiner that follows Amelia's journey)
Buy this book from your local bookstore via Indie Bound

No comments:

Post a Comment