The Matchlock Gun

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This Newberry Medal book is a historically accurate book which seems to pop up in a lot of reading lists, yet it is not one I would assign without discussion. The story, which takes place in 1756 in New York State, centres on a boy named Edward whose father is off protecting the family from an Indian raid in the north. Edward is primed on how to defend the family at home with a huge old Spanish gun. The story follows the impending attack by some Indians, as they are called, and culminates in Edward successfully shooting off the big gun, saving his mother’s life (it seems), and killing three of the enemy.

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Ages 8-12

Easy-read chapter book for beginners.

Not recommended

Reviewer: Doreen

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Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More—Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist

 

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by Karen Prior

You know John Newton and William Wilberforce, but did you know that they were part of the Clapham group? And that each member had a key role to play in the religious awakening and political reform of their day? Meet Hannah More, the prolific writer who in William Wilberforce’s words had a great impact on society: “Individuals who are not in parliament seldom have an opportunity of doing good to considerable numbers. Even while I was writing the sentence I became conscious of the falsehood of the position; witness Mrs. Hannah More, and all those who labour with the pen.”

Here is a book for those who love biographies, are pursuing a writing career, or who want a fuller picture of the anti-slavery work that was going on in England at that time. Well-written!

Nonfiction

Ages 16-adult

Available from public libraries

Recommended

Reviewer: Doreen

Into the Woods: John James Audubon Lives His Dream

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by Robert Burleigh

A poetic look at the work of John Audubon. If you know nothing of him, it would be better to start with the brief autobiographical note at the end of the story. Told in rhyme as a letter to his father, the book highlights his love for birds and nature. True (but brief ) excerpts from his journal are what make the book worth reading. Illustrations are well done.

Ages 6-12

Picture book

Available from public libraries

Recommended

Reviewer: Doreen

Evangeline

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Evangeline written by Helene Boudreau

Evangeline is a wonderful story based on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s fictionalized Evangeline. The story follows the life of Evangeline and Gabriel as they grow up in Acadia. Right after Evangeline and Gabriel’s marriage, the British arrive and the Acadians are forced to abandon their homes and villages.  Gabriel and Evangeline as well as many others are separated from their families. The rest of the book is about Evangeline’s search for Gabriel.

At the back of the book there is a brief history on the Acadians.

Picturebook

Age: 4 and up

Recommended

Reviewed by Meagan

Available from the public libraries