Don’t you love a good mystery? Set it in an exotic but familiar city like San Francisco at the turn of the 20th century. Create a main character who’s a smart and adventurous young girl with interests frowned upon during that time: science, mathematics, and pursuing a college education. Provide a family and friends who are immensely interesting because they’re so vivid that you’d like to know each one of them. Research the history of the times so that these people are believably living in the midst of impending disease, short tempers over immigration, and the clash between the very wealthy and the very poor … and you have this exciting story. When our Bookologists read it, we couldn’t put it down!
We are pleased to feature Chasing Secrets as our February book selection, written by the talented Gennifer Choldenko.
In each Bookstorm™, we offer a bibliography of books that have close ties to the the featured book. You’ll find books for a variety of tastes and interests. This month, we’re focusing on books for middle grade readers. We’ve included some books for adults with good photographs of the era and more information to help you set context for your students.
Women in Science. There are exceptional fiction and nonfiction books about the women in many fields such as botany, astronomy, chemistry, and zoology who have applied their interests, hard work, and creativity to change the world.
Early Women in Medicine. Female medical practitioners were frowned upon until recently. Some of them found ways to tend to their communities without degrees, by being midwives and herbalists. Others fought their way into medical school and set out to establish themselves as valued doctors and scientists. We’ve suggested a mixture of fiction and nonfiction you and your students will find enlightening and engrossing.
Infectious Diseases. Plagues, fevers, influenza … they’ve wreaked havoc with various populations up to the present day. The authors of these books have written compelling narratives to inspire future scientists and doctors, nurses and aid workers.
Chinese Immigration. San Francisco was the major port for Chinese immigrants coming to “Gold Mountain” in the 1800s and early 1900s. As with so many ethnic groups arriving in America, they were not welcomed with courtesy and kindness, but with suspicion and resentment. There are a number of books for both children and adult readers included.
Chinatown. Along with a fine book by Laurence Yep, we recommend two books for adults to give you background and photographs as you prepare to discuss Chasing Secrets in your classroom or book group.
Detective Fiction. Our Bookologists put their heads together to recommend their favorite books in this genre, some of them classic and some of them brand new. Mystery readers will settle in for several weeks of page-turning!
Let us know how you are making use of this Bookstorm™. Share your ideas and any other books you’d add to this Bookstorm™.