Tagged: Middle Grade Historical Fiction

Warhorse – Review

About the Book

Warhorse, Michael Morpurgo

Children’s, Historical Fiction, 176 Pgs

Scholastic Press  September 1, 2010


In 1914, Joey, a beautiful bay-red foal with a distinctive cross on his nose, is sold to the army and thrust into the midst of the war on the Western Front. With his officer, he charges toward the enemy, witnessing the horror of the battles in France. But even in the desolation of the trenches, Joey’s courage touches the soldiers around him and he is able to find warmth and hope. But his heart aches for Albert, the farmer’s son he left behind. Will he ever see his true master again?

About the Author

Michael Morpurgo, former Children’s Laureate of Britain, is the author of War Horse, called “Superb” by the New York Times Book Review, and now a major motion picture. His other prize-winning books include Kensuke’s Kingdom, Private Peaceful, and The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips. Michael lives in Devon, England, with his wife, Clare. Together, they founded the charity Farms for City Children, which gives children from urban areas an opportunity to spend a week working on a farm in the countryside. You can find out more about him and his books at michaelmorpurgo.org.

Sam’s Review

Now a major movie, War Horse by Michael Morpurgo has a strong message in favor of peace.  This is perfect for horse lovers and peaceful types.

Joey has gone through so much as a war horse. He lost Andy, his boy, he lost his fellow horse to WWI, and he is nothing like the thoroughbred he is. But through it all, he sticks to his hope of finding Andy, giving the soldiers on both sides hope.

I loved this book from start to finish, because I dislike war and fighting. It was well written, and well developed, and showed that there is hope for people in battle.

In this edition of Sam's Teen Reads Corner, Sam reviews Michael Morpurgo's WARHORSE - children's historical/animal fiction

Buy the Book

 Thrice Read Books has one paperback edition in our inventory, in very good condition. You can buy it right here: 

This book is available in Kindle, hardback, paperback, audiobook,mass market paperback formats from Amazon here. [affiliate link]

Serafina and the Black Cloak – Review

About the book:This is the story a brave and unusual girl who lives secretly in the basement of the grand Biltmore Estate amidst the splendor of the Gilded Age and the rugged beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Serafina and her friend Braeden Vanderbilt must work together to solve a dark and dangerous mystery. This page-turning thriller from Disney-Hyperion is a #1 New York Times Bestseller and has appeared on the bestsellers list for more than 25 weeks. It also won the prestigious 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize for “representing the best in Southern literature.” A blend of history, mystery, and magic, this new series has become a favorite for kids, teachers, parents, and readers of all ages (8+). Be sure to watch the book trailer in the media section below. “Never go into the forest, for there are many dangers there, and they will ensnare your soul.”
Serafina has never had a reason to disobey her pa and venture beyond the grounds of Biltmore Estate. There’s plenty to explore in Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt’s vast and opulent home, but she must take care to never be seen. None of the rich folk upstairs know that Serafina exists; she and her pa, the estate’s maintenance man, have lived in the basement for as long as Serafina can remember. She has learned to prowl through the darkened corridors at night, to sneak and hide, using the mansion’s hidden doors and secret passageways.But when children at the estate start disappearing, only Serafina knows the clues to follow. A terrifying man in a black cloak stalks Biltmore’s corridors at night. Following her own harrowing escape, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of Biltmore’s owners. Braeden and Serafina must uncover the Man in the Black Cloak’s true identity before all of the children vanish one by one.

Serafina’s hunt leads her into the very forest that she has been taught to fear, where she discovers a forgotten legacy of magic. In order to save the children of Biltmore, Serafina must not only face her darkest enemy, but delve into the strange mystery of her own identity.

About the Author:Robert Beatty is the author of the #1 New York Times best selling Serafina series published by Disney Hyperion, a spooky mystery-thriller about a brave and unusual girl who lives secretly in the basement of the grand Biltmore Estate.

Serafina and the Black Cloak was a #1 New York Times best seller, has been on the list for more than 59 weeks, and won the prestigious 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize. The second book in the series, Serafina and the Twisted Staff, became a #1 New York Times best seller in the first week of its launch and earned a “Starred Review” from Kirkus Reviews, which said, “Even better than its predecessor, a sequel that delivers nonstop thrills from beginning to end.” Enjoyed by both young readers and adults, the books are being taught in over a thousand classrooms nationwide. The third book in the Serafina series comes out in July 2017.

Robert Beatty lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina with his wife and three daughters, who help create and refine his stories. He loves to explore Biltmore Estate and the darkened forest trails where his novels take place. He writes full-time now, but in his past lives, Robert was one of the early pioneers of cloud computing, the founder/CEO of Plex Systems, the co-founder of Beatty Robotics, and the chairman/CTO of Narrative Magazine. In 2007, he was named an Entrepreneur of the Year. When asked about the inspiration for his books, Robert said, “Serafina’s journey grew out of my desire to write a story about an unusual and heroic young girl for my three daughters.”

Sam’s Review:

Hello once again, and today we shall be talking about Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty.

Serafina is anything but a normal girl, and has never been seen by the owner of Biltmore Estate, the place that holds the basement where she lives. She spends most of her nights hunting rats, and this leads her to finding the one behind the rash of missing children. When he comes for her, she finds out about the black cloaks power, and takes it upon herself and her new found friend Braeden, the nephew of the estate’s owners, to save the children in the estate.

This book gets 5 of 5 stars for a great and adventurous read. Please be sure to check your local library for the book, and check out the link to Thrice Read Books.com, plus subscribe, and enable notifications. Don’t forget to like, and I’ll be seeing you guys again next week. Bye!

Buy the book:

This book is available from Amazon in Kindle, hardback, paperback, audiobook and audio CD here. [affiliate link]

Reviews for other books in this series:

Serafina and the Twisted Staff

Serafina and the Splintered Heart

Serafina and the Twisted Staff – Review

About the book:

Serafina’s defeat of the Man in the Black Cloak has brought her out of the shadows and into the daylight realm of her home, Biltmore Estate. Every night she visits her mother in the forest, eager to learn the ways of the cat¬amount. But Serafina finds herself caught between her two worlds: she’s too wild for Biltmore’s beautifully dressed ladies and formal customs, and too human to fully join her kin.

Late one night, Serafina encounters a strange and terrifying figure in the forest, and is attacked by the vicious wolfhounds that seem to be under his control. Even worse, she’s convinced that the stranger was not alone, that he has sent his accomplice into Biltmore in disguise.

Someone is wreaking havoc at the estate. A mysterious series of attacks test Serafina’s role as Biltmore’s protector, culminating in a tragedy that tears Serafina’s best friend and only ally, Braeden Vanderbilt, from her side. Heartbroken, she flees.

Deep in the forest, Serafina comes face-to-face with the evil infecting Biltmore—and discovers its reach is far greater than she’d ever imagined. All the humans and creatures of the Blue Ridge Mountains are in terrible danger. For Serafina to defeat this new evil before it engulfs her beloved home, she must search deep inside herself and embrace the destiny that has always awaited her.

About the Author:Robert Beatty is the author of the #1 New York Times best selling Serafina series published by Disney Hyperion, a spooky mystery-thriller about a brave and unusual girl who lives secretly in the basement of the grand Biltmore Estate.

Serafina and the Black Cloak was a #1 New York Times best seller, has been on the list for more than 59 weeks, and won the prestigious 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize. The second book in the series, Serafina and the Twisted Staff, became a #1 New York Times best seller in the first week of its launch and earned a “Starred Review” from Kirkus Reviews, which said, “Even better than its predecessor, a sequel that delivers nonstop thrills from beginning to end.” Enjoyed by both young readers and adults, the books are being taught in over a thousand classrooms nationwide. The third book in the Serafina series comes out in July 2017.

Robert Beatty lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina with his wife and three daughters, who help create and refine his stories. He loves to explore Biltmore Estate and the darkened forest trails where his novels take place. He writes full-time now, but in his past lives, Robert was one of the early pioneers of cloud computing, the founder/CEO of Plex Systems, the co-founder of Beatty Robotics, and the chairman/CTO of Narrative Magazine. In 2007, he was named an Entrepreneur of the Year. When asked about the inspiration for his books, Robert said, “Serafina’s journey grew out of my desire to write a story about an unusual and heroic young girl for my three daughters.”

Sam’s Review:

Hey guys! I hope that you had a fun week last week, I sure did. Today our subject is Serafina and the Twisted Staff by Robert Beatty.

Within the second installment of the Serafina series, the fun characters and dark secrets create a magical feeling. Serafina and Braeden must save Biltmore Mansion from an evil that can control Braeden’s animal friends, and tear the friends apart, helping Serafina learn who she is meant to be. And with a new friend by their side, Lady Rowena, they can stop Biltmore from utter destruction. But is Rowena truly their ally? Or is she the one behind everything happening at the mansion.

Read the book the find out, and read the first installment, Serafina and the Black Cloak if you haven’t already. Subscribe, enable notifications and like this video, and I’ll be back next week. See you later!

Buy the book:

This book is available from Amazon in Kindle, hardcover, paperback, audiobook and audio CD here. [affiliate link] 

Reviews for other books in this series:

Serafina and the Black Cloak

Serafina and the Splintered Heart

Serafina and the Splintered Heart – Review

About the book:

In the highly-anticipated next installment of the Serafina series, Serafina must confront the darkest threat she’s ever encountered at Biltmore Estate. She knows she can face anything with her best friend and closest ally, Braeden Vanderbilt, by her side. But when a sinister force tears them apart, Serafina scrambles to uncover the mystery of her most formidable challenge yet…and about herself and the destiny that awaits her.

About the Author:Robert Beatty is the author of the #1 New York Times best selling Serafina series published by Disney Hyperion, a spooky mystery-thriller about a brave and unusual girl who lives secretly in the basement of the grand Biltmore Estate.

Serafina and the Black Cloak was a #1 New York Times best seller, has been on the list for more than 59 weeks, and won the prestigious 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize. The second book in the series, Serafina and the Twisted Staff, became a #1 New York Times best seller in the first week of its launch and earned a “Starred Review” from Kirkus Reviews, which said, “Even better than its predecessor, a sequel that delivers nonstop thrills from beginning to end.” Enjoyed by both young readers and adults, the books are being taught in over a thousand classrooms nationwide. The third book in the Serafina series comes out in July 2017.

Robert Beatty lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina with his wife and three daughters, who help create and refine his stories. He loves to explore Biltmore Estate and the darkened forest trails where his novels take place. He writes full-time now, but in his past lives, Robert was one of the early pioneers of cloud computing, the founder/CEO of Plex Systems, the co-founder of Beatty Robotics, and the chairman/CTO of Narrative Magazine. In 2007, he was named an Entrepreneur of the Year. When asked about the inspiration for his books, Robert said, “Serafina’s journey grew out of my desire to write a story about an unusual and heroic young girl for my three daughters.”

Sam’s Review:

When Serafina wakes up in a darkness, and no, I’m not telling what it is, nor am I telling of the other beings and characters that are to come into play in the book. I promised myself  not to reveal too much about the story. Let’s just say, Serafina and her friends need to defend Biltmore Estate once again. And they may succeed, if Serafina can find a way to put her soul back together. Read the book to find out why she needs to put her soul back together.

Be sure to read the author note in the back, to find out about Willa of the Wood, a book that takes place in Serafina’s time, features Serafina, but is about a new character, Willa. Check out the Thrice Read Books link that’s just to the right of my head, like, subscribe, and enable notifications. See you next week, and I hope you have a great weekend. Bye!

Buy the book:

 This book is available from Amazon in Kindle, hardcover, paperback, audiobook and audio CD here. [affiliate link]

Reviews for other books in this series:

Serafina and the Black Cloak

Serafina and the Twisted Staff

Ghost Hawk – Book Review

Brian’s Book Review:

Ghost Hawk is a great story of dedication devotion, love and hate.  You’ll be on the edge of your seat not wanting to put this book down.  A historical fiction told unlike any before.  A great story for anyone from young teen to adults.

Sam’s Book Review:

Little Hawk is the son of Flying Hawk. He is eleven now, and he must prepare for his three month long ordeal to become a man. But when he returns, he finds a nasty surprise in store for him, and the white man’s plans to settle on his people’s land.

When the time comes for him to take the test that will decide if he becomes a man and finds his manitou, or guardian spirit, or dies in the wilderness, he knows that he will survive. So he leaves with his father blindfolded. When they reach the spot, Flying Hawk removes Little Hawk’s blindfold and leaves him there to start the journey. The first thing Little Hawk needs to do is build a fire. Then he will be ready for his manitou to find him.

When his three months are over he returns home, only to find that most of the village died from a horrible plague, including one of his two sisters, his baby brother, his mother, and his father. When he goes to his tent, the only one left in the village is Grandmother Suncatcher. When she tells him about the plague, he feels like his world has been shattered. They take care of each other until Little Hawk’s friend Leaping Turtle comes, wondering what happened. Now there are three of them.

Soon afterwards, they receive a signal from another village, and they send one in return. Suncatcher tries to tell Little Hawk and Leaping Turtle to go to that other village, but they tell her that if she’s not going, they’re not going. Finally, they decide to build a litter to hold her. When three people from the other village, come to check on Little Hawk’s village, they take what survivors remain to a new village. After the visit, they arrive at the other village, and Little Hawk’s little sister, Quickbird, comes running up to him when she sees that Little Hawk has survived the plague. At least one of his siblings survived the epidemic.

They live in the village for a little while, then, the white men come. Little Hawk meets John, a little boy. When Little Hawk and Leaping Turtle go to deliver a message, Little Hawk is shot trying to save John’s father, and then tossed into the bushes. John picks up Little Hawk’s tomahawk for safe keeping, and then goes home, where his father dies with a broken leg. When one of Little Hawk’s killers, Daniel Smith, marries John’s mother, Margaret, John uses every opportunity he gets to try to make Daniel realize that he shot a man who was trying to help. This gets him apprenticed to a master cooper, where he meets Huldah, a young girl going, as her family promised to him, to work for the other murderer, Master Kelly.

When going to collect shoots so that he can make a barrel, he sees the ghost of little Hawk. Realizing that he can see Little Hawk, John decides to learn Little Hawk’s language. They have many meetings, where John and Little Hawk become fast friends. When John becomes an adult, he plans to marry Huldah, but Master Kelly forbids him to ever do so in Plymouth because of John’s love for the Native Americans, or, as the settlers call them, the heathens, causing John to become angry and spill the story of Little Hawk’s death, in public.

That’s not all that goes on in Ghost Hawk. There are many twists and turns throughout the story. This book was written by Susan Cooper, the author of The Dark is Rising. It was published by Margaret K. McElderry Books in 2013. The book I read was first edition. This book isn’t illustrated. I’d give it five stars for a plot that twists and turns, and for a gripping story and recommend this to young adults and middle schoolers.

Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper


From Newbery Medalist Susan Cooper, a story of adventure and friendship between a young Native American and a colonial New England settler.

On the winter day Little Hawk is sent into the woods alone, he can take only a bow and arrows, his handcrafted tomahawk, and the amazing metal knife his father traded for with the new white settlers. If Little Hawk survives three moons by himself, he will be a man.

John Wakely is only ten when his father dies, but he has already experienced the warmth and friendship of the nearby tribes. Yet his fellow colonists aren’t as accepting of the native people. When he is apprenticed to a barrel-maker, John sees how quickly the relationships between settlers and natives are deteriorating. His friendship with Little Hawk will put both boys in grave danger.

The intertwining stories of Little Hawk and John Wakely are a fascinating tale of friendship and an eye-opening look at the history of our nation. Newbery Medalist Susan Cooper also includes a timeline and an author’s note that discusses the historical context of this important and moving novel.

You can buy a used copy of this book from Thrice Read Books here.

Song of the Sparrow – Book Review

About the book:

“The year is 490 AD.  Fiery 16-year-old Elaine of Ascolat,  the daughter of one of King Arthur’s supporters,  lives with her father on Arthur’s base camp,  the sole girl in a militaristic world of men. Elaine’s only girl companion is the mysterious Morgan, Arthur’s older sister, but Elaine cannot tell Morgan her deepest secret: She is in love with Lancelot, Arthur’s second-in-command. However, when yet another girl — the lovely Gwynivere– joins their world, Elaine is confronted with startling emotions of jealousy and rivalry. But can her love for Lancelot survive the birth of an empire? (From amazon.com’s product listing)

Jenn’s Review:

I read this book myself a few years ago, and fell in love with the long-poem form of it. The author did an amazing job of recreating King Arthur’s court and imagining subtle side currents to the main story that most of us have come to know so well. Well written and engaging. I would rate this a high middle-school level, and let my 11 year old read it recently as she was exploring epic poetry style writing, and she loved it.

Thrice Read Books has a hardcover edition of this book for sale here.

You can also buy this book from Amazon in Kindle, hardcover or paperback edition here. [affiliate link]

Worthy of Song and Story – Book Review

Sam’s Teen Reads Corner is live with a new video. This time, it is for her review of Worthy of Song and Story by Neal Chase. Special thanks to Fiery Seas Publishing for a review copy of this book on Kindle. (This blog post contains an Amazon Affiliate link. When you make a purchase through this link, TRB receives a small percentage of your total purchase. This helps cover our expenses, and keeps www.thricereadbooks.com ad-free. Thank you in advance for your support.)

Worthy of Song and Story by Neal Chase takes places in the time of vikings. The moments of suspense and mischief fit the main character, Stian, son of the trickster god Loki. Though what Stian plans to do is against the will of the gods, this narcissistic character will stop at nothing to free Loki from his bonds and have a real family once and for all. This wonderful tale of courage and family has its moments of hopelessness, joy, suspicion, and heart-pounding adventure, complete with moments of betrayal. If you wish to know what is to come of Stian, read Worthy of Song and Story. Though it was a wonderful read, Neal had several typos that are difficult to overlook. But if you are a historical fantasy fiction lover, and a young adult who loves fiction, then this is the book for you.

Worthy of Song and Story is available in Kindle and paperback formats from Amazon here. [affiliate link]