Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Chapter Books - Series - Laura's Victory

Laura’s Victory by Veda Boyd Jones 2006

This title is one of several in the Sisters in Time series. However, the title should read “How to pack every imaginable life lesson into one book” or something to that affect. When I first spotted this book and several others in the series at the library this past weekend, I thought oh here is another American Girl wannabe. Well, it has its similarities, but it definitely has a lot more depth and history. This particular story covered the affects of the war on families, the injustice of internment camps, racial fears, bigotry, polio, politics, discrimination, rationing, and other problems of World War II, but in a believable way.

Laura is a ten year old and the youngest of seven children. At the beginning of the story you find her helping with her siblings and mother run an apartment type hotel in Seattle, Washington. Her father and one sister work at the Boeing factory and the oldest brother is in the Army somewhere in Europe. Life is filled with lots of drama and trauma for Laura and many of the residents. We get a glimpse of what the world would look like during this time period through Laura’s semi-rose colored glasses, but with a large dose of compassion. Whether this is realistic of children during the latter part of 1945, I am not sure. The story flows fast and is jammed with historical information that most adults can relate to, but I am not sure about the target audience. Of course, I remember reading biographies and other historical books at age ten and loving them. So, maybe I am not giving enough credit to the current generation. Laura encounters her fears and those of others and takes action in dealing with them.

At first it didn’t really phase me that there was the mention of praying to God sporadically throughout the story as it centers around the war period. And, it didn’t occur to me while reading the book that it was produced and marketed as an inspirational fiction for children. It was afterwards that I noticed there was a message indicating the publisher’s mission and they were a member of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. So, if you do not have an aversion to recommending books with references to God, this would be a series (or at least this title) I would put on a list of good reads for ages 10 and up. The book indicates 8 and up, but the dense nature of the story leads me to think it would be a bit too much for the average 8 year old.

It appears there are approximately 24 so far in the series. Barbour publishing states For Girls Only: "Barbour's Sisters in Time historical fiction series tells the engaging, intriguing stories of girls who experienced some of America's greatest historical events. Fictional teen and pre-teen girls are written into actual events showing today's readers what life was like in earlier times." I am not keen on the For Girls Only reference, but it probably fits like with American Girls.


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