By Jean Schroeder, The IDEA School, Tucson, AZ, and Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
This month we wanted to ponder four pieces of historical fiction that are relevant to current issues. In doing so, we wanted to also revisit two novels that we consider classic novels while also introducing a couple of newer books that we found to be incredible reads. Many times, these incredible reads are books that present situations, places, or events we don’t quite want to “leave” for any number of reasons. They are, in essence, those that continue to haunt or delight long after the last page.
This month we start with the classic, Out of the Dust (1997) by Karen Hesse, and then turn to Brother’s Keeper (2020) by Julie Lee. For week three, we will highlight Mildred D. Taylor’s Mississippi Bridge (1992), and end with Just Like That (2021) by Gary D. Schmidt. These four novels deliver stories that are not only powerful and long-lasting individually, but are relevant parts of longer conversations addressing displacement, gender, the environment, race, struggle, and advocacy. All in all, they are remarkable.