Jasper, water, wool (keep reading to see how they relate!)
Awhile back, one of my favorite Young Adult and children's authors, Caroline Starr Rose, told her blog readers that her newest book, Jasper and the Riddle of Riley's Mine, was going to be coming out soon, and did anyone want to volunteer to read and review it?! Um, yes please**. I've been a fan of her writing since her first book, May B. came out, and then loved her sophomore book, Bluebirds, so I knew this third youth novel would be strong, even though it would be written in prose and not poetry like the first two.
The story of Jasper, the young boy on the front cover, and his brother, Mel, starts in a sad, dilapidated home devoid of a mother and a father who is emotionally unavailable due to grief and alcoholism. The two young boys struggle to stay out of their father's way, and hear about the Klondike gold rush. With fool's luck, street smarts, and the brotherly relationship, together these boys go through a lot of trials for kids their age including being robbed, nearly frozen to death, often hungry, and in the middle of the Alaskan and British Columbia wilderness in wintertime.
Jasper has heard of a few riddles where One-Eyed Riley has left a claim chock full of gold-enough to last someone a lifetime of riches-and he's desperate enough to go searching for it. The story has plenty of action and adventure, and is plot-driven and fast paced. It's about a time in history I knew very little about, and so it was interesting to read about, especially because now I'm geographically near a lot of those places! This book is young adult (YA) historical fiction at it's finest.
I read this book in a few days over the Christmas break and I've decided to donate this book to my local homeschooling group's library. It'll come in handy to any of the families who want to read historical fiction to study BC history, and it fits right in with other great titles we have available. You can even enter a giveaway HERE to receive a journal if you pre-order Jasper by the release date (while supplies last).
Do you (and/or your kids) like historical fiction? Do you think historical fiction has merit within an educational setting?
**Please note that I received this book for a review, but all opinions are my own.