Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
What did you like about the book? Six seminal events that occurred in 1919 are described here by award winning middle grade non-fiction author Martin W. Sandler. Together, the events add up to describe a truly remarkable “year that changed America”. The six scenarios are: the Great Molasses Flood, passage of the Nineteenth Amendment that gave women the right to vote, fear of Communism, labor unrest, “Red Summer” attacks on African Americans, and the beginning of Prohibition. Sandler displays his usual knack for choosing captivating details. He refuses to gloss over difficult topics. Instead, he provides enough age-appropriate background material to enable middle school readers to understand even complicated material, like the Red Scare and the rise of the labor unions. Well-chosen photos and illustrations ably assist the text.
Anything you didn’t like about it? The Prohibition chapter is a little long, and in most cases, I skipped the extensive timelines that appear at the end of each chapter.
To whom would you recommend this book? Recommend to readers in sixth grade up through high school who enjoy narrative non-fiction about American history. This would also work well to research reports on any of the six topics.
Who should buy this book? Middle school libraries and public libraries.
Where would you shelve it ? Shelve in 973.91 with general books about American history.
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Mary Melaugh, Marshall Middle School Library, Billerica, MA
Date of review: 7/17/19