Victoria, Author at HistoricalTails - Page 3 of 3

All posts by Victoria

2016 Summer Reading Lists

2016 Kid's Summer Reading ListWelcome to summer! Now that school is out, summer is the perfect time for kids to read for fun! Personally, I'm reading, “The War that Saved my Life,” by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. It's a historical fiction novel about a 10 year old crippled girl during World War II whose “courage and compassion carry far more power than her disability.” You can buy it from Amazon by clicking the image.

I've searched the web and came up with some reading lists you can browse.


  1. SCBWI – the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators 2016 Summer Reading List
  2. Goodreads – Summer Reading for Kids
  3. ALSC – Association for Library Service to Children's 2016 Summer Reading List
  4. Scholastic – Keep Kids Reading All Summer Long!
  5. Barnes and Noble- Enter your child in their Summer Reading Triathlon
  6. Reading Rockets- Summer Reading Guide 2016
  7. Education World – Summer Reading

Enjoy your summer! I can't wait to hear about your child's favorite books!

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Book Review: “Ben and Me,” by Robert Lawson

While doing research for possible historical fiction stories involving animals, I came across this great book, “Ben and Me,” written and illustrated by Robert Lawson. This 114 page chapter book was originally published in 1939. Robert Lawson was born in 1892 and was the recipient of both the prestigious Caldecott and Newberry awards. As well as writing and illustrating his own books, he also illustrated books for a number of different authors, including Richard and Florence Atwater, authors of “Mr. Popper's Penguins.”

“Ben and Me” is about Benjamin Franklin as told by his mouse, Amos. He starts the book explaining that Amos's manuscript came to him by an “architect friend.” The friend had been working on an old home in Philadelphia and discovered a tiny room “beneath a bedroom hearthstone.” The room contained “small articles of furniture, all of the Colonial Period,” and in the desk was a”manuscript book, the leaves of which, about the size of postage stamps, were covered with minute writing.” Such a cute idea for telling the story of a famous person through the eyes of an animal!

Lawson details the story of the mouse, Amos, his childhood, parents and many siblings and how Amos found his way to Benjamin Franklin's home. Of course the mouse could talk and would freely give Ben advice every day. Mr Franklin was very accomplished and Lawson describes these accomplishments in separate chapters. Amos claimed many of Ben's inventions as his own idea and made fun of the fact that Ben thought that he had discovered them!

Benjamin wouldn't travel without Amos, so he joined him in France. He hid in a special cozy “nest” in Ben's hat, making it very easy to whisper in his ear! Amos met a “royal” mouse who had been exiled from the castle. She implored him to help her return to her family and Amos couldn't resist. A revolution amongst the French mouse population was born!

This book is perfect for children aged 6-9 who can read by themselves or with help from an adult. To buy the book, click on the Amazon link.

I am giving away my hardback copy of the book. If you would like to be entered into the contest, please leave me a comment describing your favorite childhood book.

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Books in the Making

As you may know, I'm a children's book writer. My first book, “Buzzy and Thomas move into the President's House,” will be published August/September. Thomas Jefferson is elected President and will be moving into the President's House (what they called the White House in 1801) and his dog, Buzzy will be moving with him. She loves her life at Monticello but also loves Thomas and wants to be with him. What will she do? “Buzzy and Thomas” is an early chapter reader for ages 5 – 8. I'll be posting images from the book as the months go on.

I'm also writing a middle grade novel about a 13 year old girl whose mother gets diagnosed with breast cancer. The story is about an athletic girl, Anna who has been learning Tae Kwon Do and wants to attempt the Black Belt test by the time she turns 13 years old. Her birthday is a month away and she has self doubts about whether she can pass the test. Then she learns that her mother has breast cancer and she loses all motivation to become a Black Belt. But, through self discovery and the spirit of Tae Kwon Do, Anna realizes that achieving her goal is important to her self esteem, as well as to her family and friends.  “Kicking Cancer” is a middle grade novel for ages 8 – 13 and projected to be published the Summer of 2017.

I have many more ideas for the Historical Tails series. I'm currently doing research on Helen Keller and her dog, Jumbo as well as Benjamin Franklin and his pet squirrel, Mungo. If you have an idea, please let me know by commenting below.

That's my update! If you'd like to receive periodic updates emails from me, please click on the subscribe button on the right side of the page. I also appreciate all likes and shares and any positive comments you may have!

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This Cat is enjoying its bath

Un chat se fait dorloter dans son bain

Notre bain du dimanche matin

Posted by Le Huffington Post on Sunday, March 6, 2016

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“All the Answers” by Kate Messner

magic, breast cancer

In researching books about teens that have a mom with breast cancer, I came across the book, “All the Answers,” by Kate Messner. The book is about Ava, a 12 year old girl who finds a magic pencil. The pencil can whisper the answer to Ava's factual question. The pencil states that she can only answer a factual question as people have free will and to those questions, she doesn't have an answer. She also cannot foretell the future. Ava had to learn to phrase her questions in just the right way in order to get an answer. At first, she uses the pencil to benefit herself and her friend, Sophie. But slowly they learn that they can help other people by knowing certain things.

As I read, all the characters were very defined, Ava is afraid of everything and her fear causes her to have high anxiety. Ava's best friend, Sophie, is high strung but somehow keeps Ava down to earth. Ava's parents hold opposite political views which cause arguments during a presidential campaign. Ava has a very smart older brother and an annoying little sister.

All the characters make for a charming story. Although minor, each character has their own conflict, which was resolved at the end of the book.  The breast cancer part didn't come into the story until 2/3 through the book, but was surprised at my reaction that it wasn't a big part of the story. When I had searched on “breast cancer and teens,” I was expecting a novel that wrapped around the conflict of breast cancer. What I learned, though is that breast cancer is not a conflict. The conflict came about in Ava's own fear and worry.

Overall, it's a magical story that's definitely worth the read. To learn more about the author, Kate Messner, click here. To buy the book, please click on the link on the right side of the page.

Enjoy reading and let me know what you think!

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January 20, 1961: John F. Kennedy inaugurated as President

jk_horseOn January 20, 1961, John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as the youngest man and first ever Roman Catholic to become elected President of the United States. While in the White House, President Kennedy's daughter, Caroline received a pet horse named Macaroni from the Vice-President, Lyndon B. Johnson.

As mentioned on the Presidential Pet Museum website, “The brown and white pony had a stylish and impressive wardrobe. For example, King Hassan II of Morocco presented a Moroccan saddle as a gift for Caroline during his state visit in March 1963.” The website also mentions, “Macaroni was usually stabled in Virginia, at the Kennedys’ country home, but was frequently brought in on a horse trailer and freely roamed the White House grounds. Tourists would often spot Caroline and her friends taking turns going for rides. If there was snow on the ground, a sleigh might be attached to Macaroni.”

Oh what “historical tails” Macaroni could tell!

Did you have a favorite pet growing up?


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January 17, 1706: Benjamin Franklin’s birthday

Today is Benjamin Franklin's birthday. This founding father was a scientist as well and invented bifocals, an instrument called a “glass harmonica,” the Franklin stove and a lightening rod. Watch this video to learn more about this very accomplished man:

He also had a pet squirrel!

Will this be our next Historial Tail? Watch and see!

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I keep reminding myself, baby steps…

resolutionsI've been working very diligently on my manuscript, getting it ready for publication. I've never self published before so everything is new. I am constantly researching and then researching more. Every step of the way is slow and tedious but I am making progress. I have to remind myself, baby steps. Just in the first 14 days of this new year, I've done the following towards my goal:

  1. Sent the manuscript to a professional editor. Yay! Now, she reads it, makes notes and I revise. Then she reads it again, makes more notes and I revise. I hope to be finished with my manuscript by the end of January.
  2. Found an illustrator. Yay! I made a deal with an artist I really like. She's going to bring Buzzy and Thomas to life. I'm excited to work with her and see what she comes up with!
  3. In my research, I had found a painting of Thomas Jefferson in the oval office with Dickie, his Mockingbird flying around the room. So, I wrote to the White House Historical Association and obtained the right to publish this painting in my book! Once the book is published, I can also post the painting on this blog and various social media, but for now, it's hush hush.
  4. I bought 10 ISBN numbers! These numbers, along with a corresponding barcode are printed on the book and on each e-book. You need an ISBN number in order to sell a book in a store. I bought 10 numbers because that was the package deal, although I have other stories up my sleeve and when I publish those, I'll need the number.

So, that's it for now! I've accomplished a lot and look forward to more!

Do you have any intentions for 2016?

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“The Traitor’s Wife,” by Allison Pataki

As you know, I love reading historical fiction. But I really love reading about powerful women in history. I've read most of Phillipa Gregory's novels about King Henry VIII's various wives and the love and deceit that went on during his reign. I've also been reading many novels about World War 2 and have learned a lot about this time in American history. I'm sure I'll be writing some posts on these books as well.

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Hello and Welcome!

IMG_1963Hello and welcome! I'm so happy you found my blog. Let me introduce myself. I'm a children's book writer specializing in historical fiction. I love that genre and have been reading it for many years. I'm combining my passion for historical fiction with writing for children, and through my blog, you'll learn about my projects as well as existing books that I will review. I'm a mother of 2, and I may write about parenting tips and info as well. I'm also currently researching a new middle grade book idea and will be posting updates on that. I can't wait to get to know you!

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