Saturday, February 11, 2012

Book Review: When Will This Cruel War Be Over?, The Diary of Emma Simpson, Dear America by Barry Denenberg

By: Barry Denenberg
Published by: Scholastic
Released on: April 1st, 2011
Source: book from publisher to review
Ages: 8+
5 stars: I Loved It!
Purchase from: Scholastic | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Series: Dear America Series

The peaceful, traditional Southern life that Emma Simpson and her family know is shattered when the Civil War reaches their soil. Soon, Emma's father and brother are called to battle, but her family is confident the South will quickly win the War between the States.As the months drag on, though, the harsh realities of war set in.

Death and hardship are all around Emma, and food, medicine, firewood, and ink for her to write in her diary become increasingly scarce as troops from the North march deeper into the South. Finally, even her home is commandeered by the Yankees. Still, with a brave spirit and the knowledge of what is most important, Emma never loses hope that the war will end.

Acclaimed author Barry Denenberg's WHEN WILL THIS CRUEL WAR BE OVER? is now back in print with a gorgeous new package! -quoted from Goodreads

I absolutely love this series, as each book featured in it takes the reader back into a different time in our country's history. It's both an exciting and educational read. Though I'm out of the targeted age range for these books, I find them to be just as engaging as I would if I was reading these as a young reader. Barry Denenberg does a brilliant job at giving the reader an inside view of the life of a young girl living through the Civil War.

Emma Simpson has grown up in the south in a rather comfortable life style, but tragedy soon strikes her family and all but robs her life of all that she holds dear. This brave young teen holds true to her faith, firm in her love and finds solace in reading Jane Eyre. Emma's lost her brother to the war, her father is off fighting in the war, she's lost many she's known around her to war, disease, and poor heath, including her mother. Barry does an amazing job at showing the toll this war took on the lives of those who lived through it, fought during it and survived it. It doesn't matter if you were from the North or the South, this was a war that effected everyone, and Emma's story is one of bravery, heartbreak and courage.

I highly recommend picking this book up. It's a fabulous fictional read with a lot of historical references set during the Civil War. I think this is a book readers of all ages will enjoy.

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I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~