Okay actually I think I might have a handle on this one. There are a few.
Cowslip by Betsy Haynes.
I bought this with my “own money” at a garage sale for 25 cents when I was five years old and read it cover to cover that same day. It’s a book about a little girl who is enslaved in the American South. Everyone tells her that slavery is okay because it says so in the bible. She risks life and limb to learn how to read so she can look for herself to see if the bible really says that because she just can’t accept it. Let’s just say it had a profound effect on my worldview in some key areas. I’m sure if I reread it today i’d be pretty critical of it but that’s the main message I took away from the book-always check for yourself to see if something is true or not rather than just accepting what people tell you is true.
Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede.
In Which Cimorene and Kazul have a fascinating conversation about gender and job titles.
Quest For a Maid by Frances Mary Hendry
I actually reread this very recently for the first time in about…10 years? First line:
"When I was nine years old, i hid under a table and heard my sister kill a king."
Anyhow, it takes place in Medieval Scotland and it’s a Low Fantasy political intrigue novel…you know, for kids! :D It ABSOLUTELY holds up. Honestly you can probably read this as an adult and get a lot out of it. To share with you a rather fun on-topic excerpt (page 98):
I got blue glass beads for Domna that would have cost me near double in Dunfermline, and a strange-colored fruit the man said was an orange. It was from far away over the sea to the south, he said, where the men had been burned black by the sun. He thought I’d not believe him, and was surprised when I told him I’d spoken to two Black men, slaves to sir Alex Dalrymple, who’d brought them back from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land years ago. They were wed on lasses at Falkirk now.
Of course we never get to see or hear from these characters, but I bet writing a book about them would be pretty interesting. Also, the Dalrymples totally really existed. It’s an extremely well-researched book. So yeah, it set the bar really high.
Many Waters by Madeline L’Engle
I think this was the only L’Engle book I ever really cared for. And no, the degree of sexuality going on in the book wasn’t particularly lost on my 8 or 9 year old self. It’s got a slight case of Mighty Whitey going on but overall is really weird and genuinely engaging. Oh, as for plot? Basically teenage twin boys accidentally time travel to immediately before the Great Flood of biblical times and Angels and Fallen angels and giant mythical everything.
That’s all I can think of off the top of my head at the moment, but I’m sure I’ll be slapping my forehead later on it XD
Reblogging this to address a recent influx of asks about recommendations for YA and kid’s books.
And also to add AHHHHHH SOMEONE WROTE A BOOK ABOUT JUAN DE PAREJA OMGOMGOMG:
This is Juan De Pareja (portrait by Velasquez):
He was a Spanish Renaissance painter, apprenticed to Diego Velasquez. Here’s his Wikipedia page.
I think it’s SO COOL someone created some children’s historical fiction about him!!!
Oh I loved this book as a kid.