Wheels of Change
Written by Darlene Beck Jacobson
Illustrations by Melissa Moss
Cover and book design by Simon Stahl
Creston Books, 2014
Historical fiction for middle grade, here I come! Thanks to Kathy Temean and her blog Writing and Illustrating, I won a copy of Wheels of Change from author Darlene Beck Jacobson. Thank you both for introducing me to this fascinating trip back in time.
Twelve year old Emily loves spending time in the carriage-building shop, even though it is not appropriate for young ladies who should be spending their time inside learning how to sew, bake, clean, and care for a house. With a quick mind, sincere heart, and means-well actions, Emily seeks answers to why people act the way they do, often getting herself into trouble.
Set around the turn of the century (1890s to 1900s), Wheels of Change indeed focuses on the changes of that time period. From the plight of being female to the lingering after-effects of the abolition of slavery to the ever-moving-forward march of replacing horse and buggy with motorized vehicles, Jacobson does not shy away from history. The clash of changes factors is faced head-on, all through the eyes of Emily. A few facts are based on personal family history while the rest of the story springs from her creative mind.
Why I Loved This Book:
~the story is based on history and changes that cause struggles and disagreements for most people
~the time period is one about which I enjoy reading
~great writing and descriptions allowed me to “see” what was going on
~the emotions and the conflict of the story seemed to be what could have really taken place
~it was obvious that plenty of research went into the writing of this book
~LOVED the back matter and learning about the family connections to this story
~the book would be perfect for young readers to read as they learn about history (for both education and pleasure)
Notable Social Studies Trade Book 2015
Mighty Girl Pick 2015
Grateful American Book Prize Honorable Mention 2015
Racial intolerance, social change, and sweeping progress make 1908 Washington, D.C., a turbulent place to grow up in for 12-year-old Emily Soper. For Emily, life in Papa’s carriage barn is magic, and she’s more at home hearing the symphony of the blacksmith’s hammer than trying to conform to the proper expectations of young ladies. When Papa’s livelihood is threatened by racist neighbors and horsepower of a different sort, Emily faces changes she’d never imagined. Finding courage and resolve she didn’t know she had, Emily strives to save Papa’s business, even if it means going all the way to the White House.