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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Tag Archives | Ellen Klages

Catch You Later, Traitor Companion Booktalks

To get you started on the Bookstorm™ Books …

America in the 1950s cover  

America in the 1950s

Edmund Lindop with Sarah Decapua
21st Century Books, 2010

  • Topic-centered chapters, e.g.: the transition from WWII, the Korean War, the 50’s economy and society, the Red Scare

  • Photo-illustrated

  • Report material galore, including substantial back matter

Bat 6 cover


Bat 6

Virginia Euwer Wolff
Scholastic, 1998

  • In rural Oregon not long after WWII, the annual softball game between 6th grade girls from two towns is a cauldron of secrets, simmering racism, class divide, hope and friendship.

  • Quick-reading, multiple-viewpoint narrative shared by all the girls and some adults provides a “you are there” report of the big event

  • Jane Addams Peace Award, an SLJ Best Book of the Year

Belles of the Ballpark cover  

Belles of the Ballpark: Celebrating the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League

Diana Star Helmer with Thomas S. Owens
Summer Games, 2015

  • The 1992 film A League of their Own is now a generation old and possibly unknown to many young students; this book is perfect for those just discovering the women’s-league topic or for fans of the film that want to know more

  • Detailed league history from its origins during WWII, through its 12 seasons

  • Loads of photos and many interviews

Catch a Tiger cover  

Catch a Tiger by the Toe

Ellen Levine
Viking Juvenile, 2005

  • It’s 1953 in New York, and 13-year-old Jamie’s father IS a communist; life changes

  • Communists in the ‘50s were often very involved in civil rights actions; this novel explores the relevance of that connection to the “witch-hunting” and finger-pointing

  • Author’s note and additional back matter

City of Spies cover  

City of Spies

Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan
illus by Pascal Dizin
First Second, 2010

  • It’s 1942 and the world is at war, and in New York 10 year old Evelyn has the run of the city; adventure ensues in this graphic novel

  • Visual blend of old-style-American comics (Evelyn reads them and draws her own) and updated European (Tin-Tin) visual storytelling

  • Seeing the enemy everywhere—a great current topic for discussion and a terrific narrative backbone for a mystery

Cold War cover  

Cold War

Josepha Sherman
Lerner Publications 2004

  • Begins with historical background on the “rise of the superpowers,” including a brief rundown on both the US and Russian revolutions and the partitioning of Europe during and after World War II.

  • Strong photo illustration

  • Back matter includes glossary, timeline of Cold War events, maps, and reading list

Fabulous Fashions cover  

Fabulous Fashions of the 1950s

Felicia Lowenstein Niven
Enslow, 2011

  • 48-page overview of the fashion era

  • Photo illustrated, with reproductions of actual 50s advertising

  • Glossary and fashion timeline in back matter

Green Glass Sea  cover  

The Green Glass Sea

Ellen Klages 
Viking Books, 2006

  • And you think your family has a secret… A novel about growing up in the shadow of the Manhattan project

  • Set in 1943, provides context for why the Soviet Union and communism would loom as such a foe in the 1950s

  • Scott O’Dell Award for historical fiction


Discovered Poetry cover  

How I Discovered Poetry

Marilyn Nelson
illus by Hadley Hooper
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2014

  • Childhood memoir—fictionalized—in poems, each set in the years 1950-1959

  • Illustrations and black and white photographs expand the “curb appeal” for the reader wary of poetry

  • Coretta Scott King honor book

LIFE cover  

Life: Our Century in Pictures for Young People

edited by Richard B. Stolley
adapted by Amy E. Sklansky
Little, Brown and Co., 2000

  • Before, during, and after the 1950s. Great context for study and discussion of the decade

  • Introductory essays for each decade written by notable children’s authors, including Lois Lowry, Patricia and Frederick McKissack, Avi, and Katherine Paterson.

  • Illustrated with photos from the Life magazine archives

Francine cover  

The Loud Silence of Francine Green

Karen Cushman
Clarion Books, 2005

  • Communism, the Red Scare, injustice; also, friendship and being 13

  • Detailed and unusual setting (1950 Los Angeles, a Catholic school) with many cultural reference students will enjoy exploring; discussion guide  

  • Newbery medal author

Spy cover  


Richard Platt  
DK Eyewitness Books, 2009

  • History of spying with many bios of famous spies

  • Gadgets galore

  • The usual DK magic potion of well-done visuals and text

Played for Nothing cover  

We Would Have Played for Nothing: Baseball Stars of the 1950s and 1960s Talk About the Game They Loved

Fay Vincent
Simon & Schuster, 2008

  • Interviews with some of baseball’s best players from the 1950s and 1960s

  • Second installment of the author’s project, an oral history of baseball; interested readers can go back to Volume 1 (1930s and 40s) or jump to Volume 3 (1970s and 80s)

  • Illustrated with period photos  


Cooking up a bookstorm

One of my favorite genres of reading is cookbooks. It all began when I was ten, the Christmas of 1963. My mother gave me Betty Crocker’s Cook Book for Boys and Girls, originally published in 1957 by Golden Books, illustrated by Gloria Kamen, and written by, well, Betty Crocker, of course! A lot of cooking […]