Book cover: Separate is Never Equal. Sylvia Mendez and her Family's Fight for Desegregation

Teaching School Desegregation through the Story of Sylvia Mendez

Picture books are powerful teaching tools, not just for elementary kids but for older readers as well. I have taught, read, and written about American history for decades, but it took a picture book to introduce me to the Mendez family and their fight for school integration.

Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh explores a legal case I’d wager is not taught in many history classes. It should be. Read more

Human Flesh -The Cure for What Ails You

Feeling a little under the weather? I’ve got just the thing. I’m currently writing four books in a series with very tight deadlines so I have not had time to post on my blog. However, I had to take a minute out to share this. The current book I’m writing is about grave robberies. In my research, I stumbled across this tasty tidbit (pun intended).

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Review of Getting Away with Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till Case

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History records the names of martyrs

and the world learns of the deeds of these men and women who died for a cause—Socrates, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. So when Chris Crowe stumbled across the story of Emmett Till, he was stunned that he had never heard of this black boy whose death catalyzed the modern civil rights movement.

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Historical Salem scene

Review of Witches: The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem

If I could be a fly on a historic wall, I’d go back to the meeting house in Salem, Massachusetts when Sarah Towne Cloyce was tried for witchcraft in 1692. I recently discovered that I’m distantly related to her.

I’m also related through marriage to Thomas Fiske, the foreman of the jury that condemned at least one accused witch, maybe more. So I had distant Dodge relatives on both sides of this crisis in history. What I really want to discover is what position my direct ancestors—the family of Richard Dodge—took on the witchcraft issue.

So I dug into online archives, hoping for a diary or letter or some other juicy source. I emerged empty-handed. Thus, I decided if I couldn’t uncover a detailed history of my family at this moment in the past, I’d write their story myself.

That is how my current fictional work-in-progress began. Tentatively titled The Tale of a Hunter, my story is a Romeo and Juliet tragedy set in Wenham, Massachusetts in 1692. More on that story as it develops.

If you’re interested in writing historical fiction, understand that you’ll have to do lots of historical research. Here is a review of a nonfiction book for teen readers all about the Salem witchcraft hysteria. Read more