Historical Fiction, and My Next Book Announcement

number20the20starsIf you’ve read The Man in the Boxyou know that I am a huge proponent for combining fiction with reality. That’s probably why I loved Life of Pi so much. Now, to be sure, I’ve learned to be very weary of historical fiction books, such as Gingrich’s To Try Men’s Souls. 

But there is one I’d like to point out that was awarded the Newberry Award Medal back in 1990. It’s called Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. It’s a wonderful little book set in Denmark, 1943 about a little Danish girl, Annemarie, who must learn to be brave in the face of the Nazi relocation effort of the Danish Jews – especially since they’re looking specifically for her best friend Ellen Rosen.

It’s a wonderful piece of literature I plan on using as our first means of introduction to World War II with our kids. It chronicles the way life changed for so many in such a short amount of time in a kid-appropriate way. But I can’t see how adults couldn’t get pulled into this short read as well, and not walk away having learned some interesting facts about a particularly brilliant method many Danish people used to hide their Jewish neighbors.

I try not to be too random with my reading selections. Often, I find a piece of history I’m interested in, or a new work of fiction particularly catches my fancy, and I’ll dive in. It may seem kind of out of the blue that I chose a twenty-three year old kids’ fiction book about Nazis occupying Denmark.

Well, you’ll be seeing plenty more Holocaust-related books reviewed here on AdoptingJames in the next several weeks. And here’s why.

I’m proud to officially announce my next book project. Without giving much away, it will be a young reader’s fiction book that takes place somewhere in Austria around the time of the Nazi uprising. I’m being very intentional to make it so that your kids (and mine) will find it engaging and funny (watch Life is Beautifulit can be done!), and adults will adore it.

I told Sarabeth with a deep sigh the other day, “I wish we had lots of money so I could fly to Germany and walk the streets and smell the smells of Europe, so I can better write this book.” But I’ll just have to do with what God has given me: A library.

Since I can’t go to Europe myself, what better way to smell the dew on the cornflowers, and taste the stale bread, and shiver by the stove cramped in the fireplace during a cold, dark winter in Nazi-ruled Europe than to read about it?

That’s the beauty of historical fiction. It does something that non-fiction books can only do with ultra-accomplished writers (such as Eric Larson and Gregory A. Freeman), and that’s this: They serve as a time portal, picking you up out of your comfortable chair, and placing you dead-center in the middle of history unfolding all around you.

That is what my book will strive to do for you and your children. And I can’t wait for you to read it.


About Andrew Toy
I'm in the beginning stages of starting my own publishing company that's unlike anything you've ever heard of in the industry. The direction of AdoptingJames is taking a 90-degree turn and will be more writing/publishing-focused. Stay tuned for huge updates and exciting news!

10 Responses to Historical Fiction, and My Next Book Announcement

  1. greathomefurniture says:

    Thank you so much for bringing this up. As soon as I saw the cover I was brought back to my childhood reading this book.

  2. Glad I could remind you of it!

  3. jamieaaron03 says:

    I liked that book, I watched a documentary a while back about 200 Jews who lived in the wilderness of Russia to survive.

  4. Richard Mason says:

    Looking forward to reading this. I’m a big fan of historical fiction and perhaps the best I have read to date would be Journey (If Where You’re Going Isn’t Home) by Max Zimmer. The first in a very promising trilogy. The story follows Shake Tauffler through his early teens in 1960s America. Shake is a Mormon boy who becomes passionate for jazz music. He idolizes the jazz gods such as Miles Davis and begins to question everything he has been raised to believe in. It’s a coming of age story which offers an honest and experienced insight into the Mormon religion. http://maxzimmer.com/.

  5. I read Number the Stars as a young child in Australia, far from Europe as well. It’s a good book for introducing young readers to the events of the second world war. Good luck with the book.

  6. Val_ToWriter says:

    One of the best historical fiction books I’ve read recently is Fever: 1793 set in Philadelphia. The heroine is a 14 year old girl, and the disease is Yellow Fever. There are so many subplots to this book that keep it interesting and historically informative. I couldn’t put it down!

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