Book Review – The River Between Us

The River Between Us
A Review by Catherine H. Armstrong

It’s the eve of the American Civil War, and tensions are high in the sleepy town of Grand Tower, Illinois, as the country comes to terms with the fact that the world as they know it is about to change.  Families are preparing to send their husbands and sons off to war, and sometimes to fight against each other or their own neighbors.  Then one day, a beautiful young southern woman and her companion arrive by steamboat in the small town, en route to St. Louis.  They decide to travel no further, and instead request lodging within the town.  With no “appropriate” hotel, they soon find lodging as boarders with the Pruitt family – Tilly, Noah, Cass and their mother.

Who is this young woman and her companion?  Is her companion a slave?  The town is abuzz with the notion that the  young woman, Delphine, and her companion, Calinda, are southern spies sent to Grand Tower to gather information and send it to the enemy.  Much intrigue and mystery surround the arrival of these woman, and discovering the truth behind their many stories is at the heart of this spellbinding story.

Richard Peck has written a riveting young-adult novel about the early days of the American Civil War and the young men and women caught in the crossfire.   Young Noah Pruitt will hear the call to battle and feel compelled to don the blue uniform of the North, leaving behind his mother and sisters, together with their two house guests, to survive on their own.  But can he survive without them?

The River Between Us is the YA selection for Rochester Reads 2012.  It is a novel written for YA readers, but with enough history, suspense and mystery to attract older readers.  It was a truly enjoyable read on every level.

This book is available at the Rochester Public Library; however as part of this blog’s FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY, you can win a FREE, gently used, paperback copy of The River Between Us just for having read this review.  Simply enter your name, address, e-mail address and phone number in the entry form below and your name may be chosen at random to receive this free gift.  This contest is open until this Friday, May 18th, at midnight.  Contest winner will be announced on Monday morning, May 21st.

Please note:  This contest is open to Rochester, MN-area residents only.  Winners must be available to pick up your prize at the Friends of the Library Bookstore, located next door to the Rochester Public Library, within 10 days of your winning notification.  Please note that no copies will be mailed.

Good luck!

Contest Entry

Book Review – B is for Battle Cry

B is for Battle Cry
A review by Colleen Sallee, Guest Contributor and Gifted Education Specialist

When perusing through Patricia Bauer’s book, B is for Battle Cry, A Civil War Alphabet, the reader cannot help but be mesmerized by the intricate, captivating illustrations created by David Geister. However, Ms. Bauer quickly draws the reader in with her insightful presentation of detailed information relative to the Civil War. There are non-fictional anecdotes corresponding to each letter of the alphabet which engage the reader in discovering a plethora of information from diseases that plagued the soldiers, to the construction of ironclad ships, and the recognition of the significant roles that women assumed in this war.

B is for Battle Cry ia a successful collaborative effort between Patricia Bauer and her artist husband, David Geister.   While targeted for children, young and old alike will expand their knowledge of this historical time period by reading this masterfully created picture book.

This book is the Rochester Reads youth selection for 2012, and you are invited to join us on April 10th at 6:30 PM in the Library Auditorium to meet Patricia Bauer and David Geister as they present to our children this beautiful book on Civil War History.  Registration is not required, and parents are invited to remain with their children for this presentation.

Rochester Reads! Save the Date!

Don’t forget to come to the Rochester Public Library for our
Rochester Reads Title Kick Off
– we are promoting the author Tony Horwitz, with two of his books concerning the Civil War: Confederates in the Attic and Midnight Rising (the story of John Brown). The New Pearl Buttons will be providing FANTASTIC music!

Rochester Public Library – news article

There was a great article in the recent (January/February) Rochester Women Magazine on the Rochester Public Library by Suzanne Jones. Thank you for your informative article, and for reaching more of our community! The Friends support the libray in many ways, but in particular we are involved in the Rochester Reads programme. We would be delighted to publish the ‘several pages more abou tthe many incredible programs and services the RPL has to offer’ if you have written them Suzanne!

Rochester Reads 2012

The Rochester Reads committee decided to highlight the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War by selecting two books by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist/author Tony Horwitz, as well as a junior title for middle-school students, and a picture book for the pre-school-kindergarten crowd. Confederates in the Attic: dispatches from America’s unfinished Civil War (1998), and Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War (2011) are the two adult titles. Tony Horwitz will be speaking on the topic of Civil War and the origins of the conflict on Monday, April 9 at Willow Creek Auditorium at 7:00 p.m.

The junior title is The River Between Us by Richard Peck, and the picture book is B is for Battlecry by Minnesota author Patricia Bauer, who will be visiting several Rochester classrooms on April 10 as part of Rochester Reads.

In addition to the author visits, we will be hosting a kick-off event with Mayor Brede and the musical group The New Pearl Buttons  on February 13 at the library, and there will be a number of other events – lectures on the Civil War, children’s & YA events, book discussion groups – in March and April. All information will be available on the http://www.rochesterreads.org/ as events are finalized.

Rochester Reads 2012 is sponsored by:
Friends of the Rochester Public Library
Minnesota’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund
Post-Bulletin Company
Doubletree Hotel

and partnered with:

Adult and Family Literacy Program
Barnes & Noble Booksellers
Diversity Council
The History Center of Olmsted County
Post-Bulletin Company
Rochester Public Library
Rochester Public Schools
Rochester Community and Technical College



Rochester Reads

If you missed the Rochester Reads Programme, The Worst Hard Time, there is still a chance to read the book, especially with your book group. The Library has extra copies of the book available, and the Book Group in a Bag is also available. The latter is booked out several months already this year, so reserve yours soon. Please call 328-2305 or stop by the Fiction Movies and Music desk to reserve it for your book group.
They are in high demand, so reserve soon.

Rochester Reads is a community wide project presented by the following partners:
Rochester Public Library
Post Bulletin Company
History Center of Olmsted County
Adult adn Family Literacy Program
Barnes and Noble Booksellers
Diversity Council
Rochester Public Schools
Rochester Community and Technical College