Bergers Book Reviews

A History of the World With Google Earth

A History of the World With Google Earth
Author: Penny Worms
Illustrator: William Ings
Publisher: Carlton Books
Genre: History / Children
ISBN: 978-1-78097-113-1
Pages: 32
Price: $9.95

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Google Earth is a useful tool to see various places we’d like to visit. Just plug in the coordinates and zoom in to view the Roman Colosseum, the pyramids of Egypt, and other interesting places. Some locations even include older photos, so we can see what something looked like 50 years ago.

But to imagine the far distant past, illustrations are provided with fun facts to accompany them. Searches in “Where’s Waldo?” style encourage kids to find specific people and objects in the midst of the crowds as they study the scenes.

History can be fun when it’s turned into an interactive experience with puzzles and games. A History of the World with Google Earth would be a great classroom tool to get kids more interested in learning about these fascinating places.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

May 20, 2014 Posted by | children, history | Leave a comment

Anni’s Attic

Anni's Attic
Author: Anne Loader McGee
Publisher: Vendera Publishing
Genre: Middle-grade / Historical fiction
ISBN: 978-1-936307-24-1
Pages: 256
Price: $10.99

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Jennine has no desire to leave her home in New Orleans to live with her cousin Annise’s family in Georgia. But the Civil War has just begun, her mother recently died, and her father has business up north that he needs to take care of. Jennine hopes she can tolerate Annise for a little while and go home as soon as possible.

The Civil War goes on much longer than anyone anticipates, and soon Jennine and Annise are aware that their family has chosen sides. But those actions are putting everyone in danger, and the girls must step in to help, even though no one wants to tell them what’s going on. Trade in the south comes to a standstill, troops loot anything they can find, and the northern army is intent on burning everything in its path to Atlanta. Will the family survive to see the end of the war?

Anne Loader McGee has written a fascinating portrait of the south during the Civil War, from a unique perspective. She successfully weaves historical elements into the story in a believable way, putting the girls directly into the situations they encounter. And the growing friendship and love between Annise and Jennine adds to the charm of the story. As they deal with terrible circumstances of the war, they pull together and do whatever it takes to keep everyone safe. I highly recommend Anni’s Attic.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

May 2, 2014 Posted by | history, tween | Leave a comment

My Enemy’s Tears: The Witch of Northampton

My Enemy's Tears
Author: Karen Vorbeck Williams
Publisher: Wheatmark
Genre: Historical Fiction
ISBN: 978-1-60494-628-4
Pages: 450
Price: $20.95

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Growing up, author Karen Vorbeck Williams learned about the history of witches in her native New England. As a child, her grandmother told tales of witchcraft and lore from colonial Massachusetts. Totally captivated by the fact that some of her ancestors were associated with witchcraft, Williams felt compelled to write a book based on her family history and her grandmother’s recollections. She created a fascinating novel based on Mary Bliss Parsons, her 11th great-grandmother, who was accused of witchery.

The story focuses on early colonial life in 17th century New England, where people of that era struggled daily to survive. They faced numerous obstacles settling a new land: weather conditions, disease, farming, and the sometimes contentious native populations. Williams’ great-grandmother was no different in this respect, but her nemesis, Sarah Lyman Bridgeman had a way of complicating life in the settlement. The two developed a lifetime of unease between them that led to hard trouble for both families and false accusations of murder and witchcraft. The result is an engrossing tale of colonial hardship and American history.

Williams’ 20 years of research brings an interesting and enlightening story of colonial America in the Connecticut River Valley to vivid life. While action is at a minimum, the narrative and numerous characters move the tale along quite nicely keeping the reader entertained to the end.

Reviewer: Gene Berger

July 24, 2013 Posted by | history | Leave a comment

Terra Tempo: The Four Corners of Time

Terra Tempo - The Four Corners of Time
Author: David Shapiro
Illustrators: Christopher Herndon & Erica Melville
Publisher: Craigmore Creations
Genre: History / Graphic novel / Teen
ISBN: 978-0-9844422-6-3
Pages: 272
Price: $17.99

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Jenna, Caleb and Ari have found a new map which will let them time travel 550 million years into the past. In this sequel to Ice Age Cataclysm!, they travel back in time, anticipating a great adventure, but this time they’re not alone.

Their new map was created a century before, and those involved in its creation are traveling through time to find it. These men carry guns and will do anything to get it back. The kids now not only need to watch for angry beasts, but also dangerous humans.

The prehistoric past is a fascinating time for budding paleontologists, and Terra Tempo: The Four Corners of Time touches on some of the interesting eras in earth’s history. Told as an adventure graphic novel, rather than a history lesson, it will inspire kids to learn more about these time periods. And they can look forward to more from Jenna, Caleb and Ari, as the conclusion promises even more adventures ahead.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

July 10, 2013 Posted by | graphic novel, history, teen | Leave a comment

Noah’s Ark: Ancient Accounts and New Discoveries

Noah's Ark
Author: Henri Nissen
Publisher: Scandinavia Publishing House
Genre: History / Documentary
ISBN: 9788771320886
Pages: 330
Price: $34.95

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Adventurers have searched for centuries, trying to locate the remains of Noah’s ark. The Bible states that the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. But which mountain? Many cultures have legends of an ancient flood that corresponds to the Bible, but none are any more specific, as to where one might find the ark. Most search on the highest peak – Mt. Ararat. And many have claimed to have found it, far up in the icy heights. Some have even brought down wood they claimed to have found, with dubious results. But one team claims to have really found it this time.

Noah’s Ark Ministries International (NAMI) has recently determined that they have found the actual structure used to house Noah and his family, plus the animals of the earth. Although they claim the ark is buried in thick ice, they have posted photos of the areas inside that they were able to enter. But is this a true find, or just another hoax? Many do not trust their findings and have publicly refuted their claims.

Noah’s Ark: Ancient Accounts and New Discoveries provides a broad overview of the search for Noah’s ark over the centuries. It also covers the history and interesting features of the area being searched, as well as the additional source materials that coincide with the Bible’s account of the flood. This interesting volume reads like a television documentary at times, moving fluidly from topic to topic. It appears that English is not the first language of the author, and there are some typos throughout the book, as well as the occasional wrong word usage. However, these do not detract from this fascinating look at one of the most interesting legends in the Bible.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 28, 2013 Posted by | history | Leave a comment


Author: Therese Ambrosi Smith
Publisher: Blue Star Books
Genre: Women’s Historical
ISBN: 978-0-9844000-7-2
Pages: 323
Price: $13.95

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Pearl Harbor changed everything. As men left factory jobs to fight in World War II, women were offered the opportunity to replace them. Former waitresses and store clerks suddenly became welders as ships needed to be built quickly. Rosie the Riveter was born.

In Wax, three young women take on their new responsibilities at the Kaiser shipyard in Richmond, California. Away from their own families, they bond as a new family unit, becoming good friends. After the war, their relationships continue to grow as new opportunities come their way.

This wonderful 1940s historical novel explores topics of women’s roles in society, sexuality, and long-buried family secrets. Wax is a real page-turner, hooking the reader from the very beginning. If you’ve always admired the courage of World War II women who ventured out into the work force, you will enjoy this interesting and enjoyable story.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

March 6, 2013 Posted by | history | Leave a comment

Miss Moore Thought Otherwise

Miss Moore Thought Otherwise
Author: Jan Pinborough
Illustrator: Debby Atwell
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Genre: Children / History
ISBN: 978-0-547-47105-1
Pages: 40
Price: $16.99

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It’s hard to imagine a world where children had very little access to books. In the early 1900s, libraries were for adults, and children were not welcome to enter, let alone touch or check out a book. But Anne Carroll Moore thought otherwise, and set about creating a special place where children could experience the joys of reading.

The New York Public Library was open to new ideas, and Miss Moore had a wonderful vision. After designing a bright and cheery room with kid-sized tables and chairs, she welcomed children inside with story hours and book borrowing privileges. The collection was reviewed carefully, and Miss Moore chose only the best and most interesting books for her children’s library.

Miss Moore Thought Otherwise shows us an extraordinary librarian who encouraged children to read. Although she may have faced obstacles, she created a model of children’s libraries that has lived on. This fascinating story will inspire kids to reach for their own dreams and dare to do something special to change the world.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

March 5, 2013 Posted by | children, history | Leave a comment

Eliza’s Journal

Eliza's Journal
Author: Caelyn AB Williams
Illustrator: Kati Green
Publisher: Craigmore Creations
Genre: Teen / History
ISBN: 978-0-9844422-5-6
Pages: 192
Price: $14.99

Author’s website
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Eliza is not happy to be sent to her Uncle Pat and Aunt Gin’s home on Orcas Island for the summer. And when Uncle Pat insists she needs to find a job rather than spend her time on the beach, she’s convinced she’ll have a miserable time. But a chance opportunity as a natural history illustrator presents itself, and she starts working for the Tanners.

While the elder Mr. Tanner is a eccentric man, his grandson, Charlie turns out to be friendly and attractive. But there is something odd going on at the Tanner house. Some of the prehistoric creatures Eliza is asked to draw should have been fossilized, but they appear to be only recently dead. Where are they coming from, and are the Tanners doing something illegal?

Writing her thoughts in her journal, Eliza tells of her budding knowledge of prehistoric times, with illustrations of the creatures she learns about. As she gets to know the Tanners better, she shares her growing attraction to Charlie, along with her concerns for their strange actions. Eliza’s Journal is a fascinating story of teen love, natural history, and mystery. Teens will enjoy reading Eliza’s unedited thoughts about her unusual experience.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

January 1, 2013 Posted by | history, teen | Leave a comment

Mathematics: An Illustrated History of Numbers (Ponderables)

Edited by:  Tom Jackson
Publisher: Shelter Harbor Press
Genre: Mathematics / History
ISBN: 978-0-9853230-4-2
Page: 168
Price: $24.95

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Do you remember with fondness the thrill of mathematical discovery? Your first geometry proof, using pi to calculate areas of circles, the imaginary number i, Pascal’s Triangle, and the Fibonacci Sequence may be distant memories, but the concepts still intrigue you. If you’re a math geek like I am, reading the Ponderables Illustrated History of Numbers is the perfect way to capture the joy you once felt.

Mathematical principles have not always been known. They developed throughout the ages by some of the masterminds of the sciences. In this illustrated history, we learn who was responsible for significant discoveries, and how they came about. One hundred “Ponderables” are presented for our enjoyment and enlightenment.

I have to admit, I am very biased in reviewing this book. I have always loved mathematics. Its perfect logic, symmetry, and order have been constant companions for me. And if you also love this exact science, you’ll love this book. I felt like I had taken a trip back to my favorite high school math classes. This is the perfect gift for any serious math student or your favorite math teacher. And if math isn’t your favorite subject, look for Ponderables in Chemistry, Space, Physics, Philosophy, and Computing.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 4, 2012 Posted by | education, history, mathematics | 1 Comment

The Night Sky

Author: Maria Sutton
Publisher: Johnson Books
Genre: Memoir
ISBN: 978-1555664466
Pages: 240
Price: $24.95

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In a chance conversation at the age of thirteen, Maria Sutton overhears something that changes her life. In that moment, she discovers that the man she always called father is actually her step-father, and that her real father is someone else. But when she questions her mother, answers come reluctantly.

Over the next forty-three years, Sutton goes on a quest to find this mysterious man who once captured her mother’s affections. Digging back through World War II, displaced persons camps and agency records, she endeavors to locate her father. Over the years, she builds up his image in her mind, hoping to find a dashing Polish soldier she can be proud of, but as she digs deeper, she discovers things about him she’d rather not know. Her quest ends in Germany, when she finally locates him.

The Night Sky is a fascinating look at the history of Polish citizens forced into concentration camps and slave labor by Hitler. As a backdrop to the author’s search, we learn about how these people tried to survive the horrors of World War II, and what happened to them after the war. The author’s musings on her father’s whereabouts and character are heartfelt, and the reader will feel moved by her search. This is an enjoyable read for all those who love history and genealogy.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

September 25, 2012 Posted by | history, memoir | Leave a comment