Mary E. Lyons, a former teacher and librarian, became a full-time writer in 1993. She is the author of nineteen books for young readers published by Scribner, Atheneum, Henry Holt, Houghton Mifflin and Oxford University Press.
Born and raised in the American South, Mary Lyons lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with her husband, Paul. Her publications for adults include The Blue Ridge Tunnel: A Remarkable Engineering Feat in Antebellum Virginia (History Press, 2014) and The Virginia Blue Ridge Railroad (History Press, 2015.)
A fascinating insight into the spying life of the famous Miss Van Lew and the diverse characters that helped her. As a Civil War fan I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the turbulent historical times of the 1850s and 60s. I also really enjoyed the character of Liza - I found a kindred spirit in her independent ways. :D
Overall, this would be a good book for kids and is compiled in a unique way but the actual reading process felt a little choppy to me. I need to read something more substantial on Elizabeth Van Lew for better information.
This is a MG/YA re-telling/scrapbook of two female spies during the war.
I picked it up because I am teaching The Killer Angels. I often judge a book by my anxiousness to read it. I always picked this book to read first among the many books in my nightstand stack.
A freed slave, Eliza, and her former mistress, Bet Van Loew are the fact based characters upon which the story is written. It is a swift, but appropriate ride through the tumultuous Civil War in Virginia. The scrapbook pieces are authentic: a ticket, a checkerboard, drawings; the research is solid-the story is told through letters and journal entries. It was lightly satisfying.
However, I don't think I would have had the interest if not for teaching a Civil War novel. It's great as a light companion to Civil War study...if you're a Civil War history buff, this would be a fun read.
I am a yankee, married to a confederate rebel! Therefore, I could relate to this book. I do not know if I would have been as courageous as either Miss Bet or Liza, but I would have definitely sided with them. And the difference between Miss Bet and I is that I don't think I would have stayed there in the South after the war. Hard to say, however, when that would have been the only home I'd known. After all, isn't that why all Southerners love the South? It's all they know...(I'm getting myself into trouble!) I'd like to think that I'm not quite as bad as Miss Bet, in having things done her way---I sure hope not! But I enjoyed this format---items collected into a 'scrapbook'. I like things that make books unique. And all the Civil War memorabilia was fun to see. Cute book.
I read this book for my 7th Grade English class to get ready for the Civil War. It was a great story and gave me a fantastic overview of how slaves were treated and how much freed slaves valued their freedom. I have to write a book report about it and it is easier to write because I understood this book unlike other books. The layout is unique and a great way to learn. I defiantly recommend this book for ages 12 annd over!
My daughter found this book for me at the library and she was very proud of herself for finding a book on a subject that I love. The book was stated for ages 10-14, but I found a couple things in the content to actually be for a bit older kids ( a discussion about the girls "monthlies" and a comment about "being nervous on her wedding night"). Personally I think the book can be enjoyed by any age.
This was such a cool book. It included pictures and secret codes. Written in a diary like form, this book is sure to capture the young reader's mind and keep them engaged in the story. The thing that I liked about this book was that although it was about two girls, boys could relate to it as well. This was used a book for my literature circles lesson for PTLS.
An interesting story based on real people and actual events. The problem for me is that I never developed any real empathy or concern for the two main characters. They were both stubborn and headstrong--and the events around them didn't seem to change that at all. The scrapbook bits and clips were very interesting though.
Really great book. Made me want to learn more about the actual women upon whom the book is based. Excellent read for middle school students through adults. I love the diary form, it really works. Could be a great curricular book as well.
I loved reading this with a group of 4th grade (almost 5th grade) girls. They really got into the spy stuff. My only regret is we didn't get to work on inventing our own codes because we spent so much time having awesome student led discussions.