Companion Reads for Second Fiddle

Here are a few books I’ve found which might make good further reading for fans of Second Fiddle

About the history and politics of the Cold War

The Dog in the Wood by Monika Schroder (Front Street 2009) is a great place to go for kids who wonder why the Wall went up in the first place. It explores the experience of a family in East Germany at the end of the Second World War when Russian forces come to occupy a small farming community. It is honest about the experience of war but not too brutal for a middle grade reader.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (Philomel, 2011) is not a book I recommend lightly. It is the extremely gritty and dark description of the horrors Stalin visited on the citizens of the Baltic Republics. Nonetheless, it illuminates the history my character Arvo comes from. It is a riveting read with glimmers of warmth and hope but it’s not a book for a tender-hearted reader.

Candy Bomber: the story of the Berlin Airlift by Michael O. Tunnell (Charlesbridge, 2010) is a photo illustrated account of the Berlin Airlift. It has a movingly written forward by Lt. Gail S. Halverson, the”chocolate pilot” himself, and lots of good background about how the city of Berlin became divided in the first place.

Countdown by Deb Wiles (Scholastic, 2010) Set in suburban Maryland in 1962, this book is about the preoccupation of the United States with communism and the cold war.

bk_mozartAbout music

Mozart Season by Virginia Euwer Wolff captures the joy and agony of music competition through a young violinist’s eyes. Virginia is an accomplished chamber music player, and writes about making music with great authority. Any musically-inclined child will feel great kinship with this story.

About military families

Operation Yes by Sara Holmes Lewis is the story of cousins who share the experience of their active duty parants deploying to Iraq. The are both comforted and challenged by a beloved teacher who helps them use improvisational theater techniques to explore their deepest fears and greatest hopes.

Bull Rider by Suzanne Morgan Williams is set on a ranch in Nevada with a family of bull riders. It’s about the experience of having a brother return from Iraq injured, and how a whole family learns to heal.

Heart of a Shepherd Toot!! Yes this is my own novel. It’s about the son of a reservist who goes to war in Iraq leaving him to tend the ranch with the help of his parents and grandparents.

Fun girl power adventure stories

The Vanishing Violin by Michael Biel.

This is the second in the Red Blazer Girls mystery series set in a Catholic girls school in New York City. It’s got a great cast of friends who let you solve the puzzles along with them. In this installment, the girls find a rare and valuable violin and form their own rock band.