Pompeii Portrayed in YA Lit

According to many sources, August 24 is generally accepted as the day Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD and killed many thousands of people living in the city of Pompeii. This tragic story has captured people’s interest and imagination for hundreds of years. I’ve visited Pompeii and it is a haunting and fascinating site – the perfect  backdrop for an historical YA book.

curses and smoke a novel of pompeiiInitially, the only YA book that I knew about Pompeii was Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii by Vicky Alvear Shecter that came out  earlier this year. In this novel, Lucia’s father, the owner of a gladiatorial school in Pompeii that needs money to expand the business, has betrothed her to a wealthy man old enough to be her grandfather. Lucia loves to read but her future husband doesn’t approve of women reading or studying. Lucia’s also interested in the world around her and its natural mysteries, like the frequent tremors and other odd phenomenon that are occurring in Pompeii. She’s in love with childhood friend & slave Tag, born of a noble family that was enslaved and stripped of its wealth. Tag’s a healer who wants to be a gladiator to earn enough money to win his freedom and escape the curse he bears. They plan to escape the city together but are betrayed to Lucia’s father by another fighter. Tag’s imprisoned by Lucia’s father just as Mt. Vesuvius is about to erupt.  Will they be able to find each other again before the volcano destroys their whole world?  Continue reading Pompeii Portrayed in YA Lit

British Women’s History in YA Lit

womens_history_ya_litMarch is Women’s History Month, celebrated worldwide. In Britain, the Great Reform Act of 1832 excluded all women from voting by specifically changing the word person to male. In 1918, women started to regain voting privileges but it wasn’t until 1928 that women over the age of 21 had the same voting rights as men. As a tribute and celebration to all the previous women who have challenged rules, broken rules, and changed the world, here’s a list of books throughout Great Britain’s history from a woman’s perspective.

Ancient Days: (0-1066)
Major Events Include: Rome invades Britain, Rome conquers Wales, Boudica leads rebellion against the Romans, Hadrian’s Wall is constructed, Rome withdraws, Anglo and the Saxons arrive looking for a fight, Vikings attack, and the Battle of Hastings occurs.

Books in this time period include:
The Edge on the Sword by Rebecca Tingle (2002 Best Books for Young Adults)
Princess Aethelflaed finds herself reluctantly betrothed to an ally of her father’s, in hope that their marriage will bring peace to the land. Betrothed isn’t the same as married, and when enemies attack, Aethelflaed will have to stand her ground.

Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell
Elaine of Ascolat, the Lady of Shalott lives with her family in the camps of King Arthur. As the only girl, she finds herself lonely, until Gwynivere arrives. Unfortunately, Gwynivere isn’t the type of companion Elaine’s been hoping for. Written in a novel in verse, Elaine shares her view of the world of King Arthur.

Middle Ages (1067-1485)
Major Events Include: Oxford University founded, Richard the Lion-hearted enters the Third Crusade, Prince John Signs the Magna Carta, Wales becomes part of Great Britain, Execution of William Wallace, Great European Famine, Hundred Years War, Black Death, and The War of the Roses

Books in this time period include:
Hawksmaid by Kathryn Lasky
Maid Marian (Matty) is the daughter a famous falconer. Matty has her father’s gift with the birds and hopes her future lies with them. When King Richard is captured and his brother rises to power, everything changes. She does her best to help Robin Hood (her childhood friend) make sure everyone survives.

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
Scarlet keeps her female identity hidden from everyone in Nottinghamshire, except Robin and his friends. When the Sheriff tries to capture the band, she’ll do anything to save her friends.  Continue reading British Women’s History in YA Lit