KP Book Review: Gunner’s Run

By Bethany Melton

Are you a World War II fanatic like me? If tales of war heroes and rugged survival immediately draw your imagination into the excitement of historical drama, then I have a must-read for you.

Nineteen-year-old Jim Yoder doesn’t consider himself a hero. He would be the first to admit his fear and doubt in the face of the impending perils of World War II. Jim’s unlikely and painful journey toward discovering faith in someone far more powerful than the Axis powers is only one aspect of the exhilarating novel, Gunner’s Run.Gunner_s_Run

Shortly after graduating high school and meeting his sweetheart, Margo, Jim is enlisted as a USAAF gunner with the 44th bombardment group in the war that rages across the ocean. Though his religious father opposes Christian involvement in war, Jim is eager to join the fight for freedom as an Ally. As each air raid mission intensifies, however, Jim longs for home and for the war to end soon. But that doesn’t happen. Instead, Jim finds himself fleeing as a downed escapee in enemy territory. This ordeal changes the young atheist’s life forever. Will he ever see his home or family again? [Read more…]

Pitfalls and Strengths of Historical Fiction

By Sophia White

Time-travel, with or without the use of machines, has been a growing theme in fiction in the last century. It corresponds in many ways to a longing almost all of us have felt at one time or another: a longing to go back to another time, whether to escape the troubles that are pressing us now, or to enjoy a “simpler” life, or to experience history first-hand. But while actual time travel may not be a possibility in our lifetimes, books offer us the opportunity to travel to other worlds, and works of historical fiction offer a safe passage to time travel to former times. pitfallsandstrengthspost

Historical fiction is a story set in a real, past time and featuring some event or character that really was. A story that says “set during the American Civil War” but which makes no mention of the war, slavery, Conscription, major battles, or President Lincoln does not count –– it’s more like fantasy.

What makes historical fiction such a good genre to read (and to write)? One obvious advantage is the ability to learn history through the eyes, as it were, of contemporaries of the time in which the book is set (even if the point-of-view character is mostly fictional), without the bore of textbooks. One can learn all sorts of things in settings which make the knowledge seem crucial –– a teacher’s explanation that the weather was bad on a certain day in the early spring of 1064 probably sounds meaningless in class, but when one is reading a book set just before the Norman Conquest, the knowledge takes on importance to all of England.

History, when no longer a chore to be slogged through in a certain amount of time and quizzed on, becomes something interesting and fascinating, with endless rabbit trails to research and chase to their remote ends. Did you know that the Vikings sometimes ate whale, but not often, due to the danger involved in catching them? That carrots in eleventh-century England were purple, not orange? Or what happened to William and Matilda’s fourth daughter, or didn’t they have one after all? (Hint: the last one is still unanswered.) [Read more…]

How to Research Historical Fiction

How many of us have shied away from historical fiction because of research? Hand raises. Yes, it is a terrifying part of the process. Your biggest fear? That history buff reading your book with a disgusted face at your gall to say they used gold spoons in the Jamestown fort.


I have been a part of a debate team this past school year. The bulk of the work on the team is research. Tons and tons of research. I personally have always loved researching. Fact finding is like treasure hunting for me. So over the school year I have had way too much experience at research. Which leads me to be able to share with you all some simple steps to attack the terrifying monster we call research.

 1. Pick Your Topic

Simple enough, right? Start very broad. Are you writing in the Biblical era, Revolutionary war, Great Depression? For example, let’s go with World War II. Great, we have a topic! World War II went on from 1939 to 1945. So now we have a time period to go off of. This may seem too basic, but trust me: you need to start as far out as possible. The next step is where we go in depth.

2. Mind Map

Now we get to start making our categories to research. If you already know how to mind map, you are good to go to the next step.  This process is easy to do in a notebook, or you could use a resource like Begin with listing your topic in the middle of the page. Then start listing some basic subcategories surrounding your topic. For World War II, I started by surrounding it with the topics: Cause of war, countries involved, aftermath. From these three subcategories, I began writing smaller categories connected to them. For example, Countries involved: America, England, France, Germany, Japan, Italy… [Read more…]