HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: No Girls Allowed: Young Heroes of History #5
Author: Alan N. Kay
Publisher: White Mane Kids, 2003
Language level: 3
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 10-14
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Kay, Alan N. No Girls Allowed: Young Heroes of History #5 (published in 2003 by White Mane Kids, a division of White Mane Publishing Company Inc., P. O. Box 708, Shippensburg, PA 17257). This is book number five in the “Young Heroes of History” series. In 1846, three Irish brothers, Robert, Jonathan, and Sean Adams, left their homes and emigrated to America. Their children and friends are the main characters in the series. There are over ten children of various ages which make it possible to maintain the main character’s ages as similar to the reader’s even though the books are covering almost a ten year period. In Book Four, Nowhere To Turn, Thomas, son of Jonathan, runs from his home, from his family, and even from battle.
In No Girls Allowed, Thomas’s fourteen-year-old sister Mary decides to return with him to the war and serve as a nurse. Their parents had died in Kansas, and their older brother George is missing, so they are living with relatives outside of Philadelphia, PA. Along the way, Mary even gets to meet Clara Barton. Meanwhile, sixteen-year-old Lynn Rhodes, who lives with her grandmother, father, and twin brother Daniel in Maine, determines after her father is killed in battle to join her brother by dressing herself up as a boy, Larry, and enlisting in the Union army. At the battle of Antietam, Lynn is wounded and Mary becomes her nurse. Will Lynn be able to maintain her disguise, or will she be found out? What will happen to her and all the others?
As to language, in addition to a few common euphemisms, phrases like “O God” and “My Lord” are used as interjections. Also, some of the battle descriptions might be a little intense for overly sensitive children. But the series, aimed at ages ten to fourteen, explores the Civil War from the perspective of young people caught in the conflict, and does a good job looking at what it is like for kids who joined the army in both the North and in the South, how civilians were affected, the role of blacks both slave and free, the medical practices and problems of the times, and of course the major battles such as Fredericksburg, Antietam, Gettysburg and Sherman’s march to the sea.. Author Alan Kay has also developed award-winning curriculum for teachers with free lesson plans and resource lists for parents and teachers about his novels available at the series website.