Words on Fire

Nielsen, Jennifer A. Words on Fire. New York: Scholastic Press, 2019.
“In 1893 twelve-year-old Audra lives on a farm in Lithuania, and tries to avoid the Cossack soldiers who enforce the Russian decrees that ban Lithuanian books, religion, culture, and even the language; but when the soldiers invade the farm Audra is the only one who escapes and, unsure of what has happened to her parents, she embarks on a dangerous journey, carrying the smuggled Lithuanian books that fuel the growing resistance movement, unsure of who to trust, but risking her life and freedom for her country.” – CIP
A 322-page historical novel highly recommended for readers 11 years old and up.

More stories on the power of reading

More historical fiction

More stories of controlling societies

More stories set in European countries

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Catch You Later, Traitor

Avi. Catch you Later, Traitor. Toronto: Tundra Books, 2015.
Twelve-year-old Pete Collison enjoys reading detective novels and listening to radio dramas. But in 1950s America, the government’s search for communist sympathizers leads to a real-life mystery when the FBI shows up at Pete’s home in Brooklyn, New York. Could there be Communist spies in his family? A note at the end of the story provides more information about this time in American history, describing the author’s connections to his own life growing up in New York City. A fast-moving suspenseful novel highly recommended for readers 11 years old and up.

Stories of controlling societies

More historical novels


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Plagues and Pandemics

Deadly Invaders

Grady, Denise. Deadly Invaders: Virus Outbreaks Around the World, from Marburg Fever to Avian Flu. Boston: Kingfisher, 2006.

An American Plague

Murphy, Jim. An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793. New York: Clarion Books, 2003.  An extensively documented Newbery Honor Book by an award-winning writer. Recommended for competent and curious readers 12 years old and up.

Peters, Merilee. Patient Zero: Solving the Mysteries of Deadly Epidemics. Toronto: Annick Press, 2014.

Saidmann, Frédéric. Wash Your Hands!: The Dirty Truth about Germs, Viruses, and Epidemics– and the Simple Ways to Protect Yourself in a Dangerous World. New York: Weinstein Books, 2008.


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Always Earth Day

“This morning I feel calm. It is Earth day!! Yay!

“To keep my spirits high during this coronavirus season, I decided to clean litter but when I looked outside, I saw rain! Oh well. I will do anything for the Earth, even go out in the rain to clean it up because it helps me feel both full of joy and calm. 

“I have been thinking of planting a few vegetables in my garden. Should I do it on this rainy day? Or should I wait for the rain to stop? 

“I hear people say that Earth Day should be every day. I think I agree. It is always do-something-good-to-the-Earth Day!” – Arithika 

Books for Earth Day

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