Well hello there!
This summer I read all fifteen of the Florida Sunshine State Books. The Florida Sunshine State Books are a list of fifteen middle grade titles that were chosen by librarians and teachers throughout the state. These books are selected for their wide appeal, literary value, varied genres, curriculum connections, and/or multicultural representation. I’m a huge fan of this list as it has introduced me to some of my favorite middle grades authors!
Master storyteller Rodman Philbrick takes readers on a colorful journey as young Homer Figg sets off to follow his brother into the thick of the Civil War. Through a series of fascinating events, Homer’s older brother has been illegally sold to the Union Army. It is up to Homer to find him and save him. Along the way, he encounters strange but real people of that era: two tricksters who steal his money, a snake-oil salesman, a hot-air balloonist, and finally, the Maine regiment who saved Little Round Top at the Battle of Gettysburg and won the war for the Union.
Sometimes you’re just in the mood for a good middle grades novel and when you are, The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg is a fun read. It kinda hits the spot!
Homer’s story starts in the Northern states during the U.S. Civil War and centers around his search for his older brother who has been sold into the Union Army as an underage solider. Homer is a lovable character who is observant and smart, if not a little silly at times. Homer is also adventurous and is willing to do anything, even if it means getting captured by the Confederate Army, to locate and save his beloved brother.
All in all TMTAoHPF manages to tell a fun adventure story in the midst of a deadly Civil War. Philbrick mixes humor and seriousness in such a way that you don’t feel like he’s making light of the situation, but he isn’t breaking your heart either. The perfect mix for middle grades fiction, I believe! Perfect for older elementary aged students and up.
Regarding use in the middle school social studies classroom, I do think that TMTAoHPFis best suited for younger middle school students and even older elementary aged students. That being said, in Florida the Civil War is studied in 8th grade American History, and I don’t know if my 8th graders would enjoy this book as much as the 6th or 7th graders would. I could be totally wrong, but the 8th graders at my school have edgier reading tastes. Now, don’t think” my 8th grader wouldn’t like it then”, because they might and mine might too! :) However, if the Civil War is taught in different grade level or you think your students would enjoy it then I highly recommend it for use in the classroom!
Author: Rodman Philbrick
Publisher: The Blue Sky Press (Janurary 1, 2009)
Length: 224 pages
Buy the Book: The Mostly True Adventures Of Homer P. Figg