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Laurie Calkhoven has always been fascinated by history, and especially by the ordinary people who got caught up in extraordinary moments in history. She likes the small moments and bizarre facts that mostly get left out by the serious history books -- like whether or not a broken egg kept the American Revolution on track, and how putting your hands in your pockets and jiggling change could lead to an arrest in Nazi-occupied France.
While she was researching her biography of George Washington, she started to wondering about life during the Siege of Boston. Soon, a character named Daniel was whispering in her ear, telling her about his secret work for General George Washington, and she wrote the novel DANIEL AT THE SIEGE OF BOSTON, 1776. A biography of Harriet Tubman led to a second novel in her BOYS OF WARTIME series--WILL AT THE BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG, 1863. Her third historical novel, MICHAEL AT THE INVASION OF FRANCE, 1943 rounds out the series.
When she's not writing historical books, Calkhoven is at work on nonfiction books like I GREW UP TO BE PRESIDENT and historical mysteries for American Girl. You can find her online at www.lauriecalkhoven.com
This second offering in Laurie Calkhoven's Boys of Wartime series for middle-grade readers tells the compelling story of 12-year old Will, who lives in the quiet town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and dreams of glory as a Union drummer boy. He's too young to enlist without his parents' permission, which his mother is not about to give, but when the book opens Will has no idea of the important role he'll be asked to play for the Union cause.
As Confederate troops march into the town, prowling the streets "like hungry wolves," even forcing the local candy story owner to open his shop so they can clear out the goodies, Will makes an unexpected friend--a drummer boy his age from Tennessee, a friendship that will soon prove more valuable than he can imagine. Will is as surprised as can be when he finds himself inviting the hungry and dirty boy to supper, where he is greeted with courtesy by Will's family (his mother even offers the ragged boy clean clothes). Through Will's eyes, we see how the battle came about, with the two sides meeting pretty much by chance at the crossroads of ten major roads at Gettysburg, making a battle at a town the commanders of both armies had never heard of all but inevitable.
As the battle draws near town, Will's sisters are taken to a neighbor's farm nearby, where his mother thinks they will be out of the way of the battle. As Confederate soldiers take the town on July 1, Will meets an injured Union officer who is desperate to get a message to General Meade. Can Will help him get through the Confederate lines to complete his mission? Should he join up with the Union officer and become his messenger?Read more ›
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This is the second book in the Boys of Wartime series, and is an exciting read. Will lived in the town of Gettysburg, but he never thought that a battle would be fought right there in the homes and fields where he lived. The Civil War seemed like an exciting and even romantic way to become a hero, but when the war came to his small town, he found that being brave was a lot harder than he had thought. And he learned that the enemy often looks a lot like us.
Excellent book for ages 8-12.
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