At Night We Walk in Circles by Daniel Alarcón Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

At Night We Walk in Circles by Daniel Alarcón. Penguin/Riverhead Books, 2013. 372 pages; $27.95 (hardcover); reading level: adult. Alarcón’s novel digs deeply into gritty issues like post-colonialism and the pervasive shadow cast by a brutal civil war, deftly juggling a tangle of themes and plot threads that would derail a less intrepid writer.  And… [Read More]

Like a River; A Civil War Novel by Kathy Cannon Wiechman Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Like a River; A Civil War Novel by Kathy Cannon Wiechman; Calkins Creek, 2015.  336 pages; $17.95 (hardcover); reading level: ages 10 and up. The stage is deftly set in the first two pages of this remarkable novel:  we are in Ohio, the Civil War is raging, and fifteen-year-old, Leander Jordan (“Jordan like the river”)… [Read More]

Politics and Picture Books: A Proposed Lesson for High School Students

If I told you the U. S. Defense Department’s procurement process would be a great subject for a picture book, you might not take me too seriously. The topic sounds complicated and boring and nonfiction writers tend to look for the exotic, the unheard of, the crazy, the bizarre. A good story idea can also… [Read More]

Monitor by James Tertius deKay Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Monitor; The Story of the Legendary Civil War Ironclad and the Man Whose Invention Changed the Course of History by James Tertius deKay. Ballantine Books, 1997.  247 pages; $11.95 (paperback). Reading level: high school/adult. Building on the premise that it was not the more famous land battles that determined the outcome of the Civil War… [Read More]

Marmee & Louisa; The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Marmee & Louisa; The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother by Eve LaPlante; Free Press, 2012. 368 pages; $26.00 (hardcover). This book is a game-changer. As LaPlante points out, “the packaging of Louisa…along with the idea that her mother was irrelevant” began immediately after her death. The world was told that Louisa… [Read More]

USS Monitor Crewmembers Buried

The year 2012 marked the 150th anniversary of both the launch and the sinking of USS Monitor. The news continues in 2013. On Friday, March 8, 151 years after they went down with the Monitor, two unknown sailors were buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. In case you missed it, you can… [Read More]

Thank You Very Much, Captain Ericsson – Coming in Paperback & Video!

About the Video Soon to be available on the website: A reading of Thank You Very Much, Captain Ericsson! (by yours truly!) in its entirety, complete with the original illustrations by Andrew Glass. This should be a great resource for you teachers doing a Civil War unit OR for parents/grandparents of 7-10-year-olds. About the Paperback As stated,… [Read More]

The John Ericsson Society Celebrating The 150th Anniversary Of The Monitor Being Launched!

If you’re a Civil War buff, you’ll remember that, 150 years ago, under the direction of Thomas Fitch Rowland (owner of Continental Works located on the East River in Brooklyn) and John Ericsson (designer of the Union Civil War Ironclad USS Monitor), skilled craftsmen laid the ship’s keel on October 25, 1861 and worked feverishly… [Read More]

Ship Ahoy!

A good illustrator will go to great lengths to make sure what s/he draws is accurate and matches the words in the text.  Andrew Glass, who illustrated Thank You Very Much, Captain Ericsson! (my picture book about the inventor of the Civil War ironclad ship the Monitor) had a particular problem: the Monitor was at… [Read More]