Monday, July 07, 2008

Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker. THE LACEMAKER AND THE PRINCESS

Today's podcast is for a book in my favorite genre. I love historical fiction. It is hard to get kids into it though. There are a group of kids that do love it and I love talking with them about the different time periods. Today's book takes place during the reign of Marie Antoinette. Not my favorite setting but this is one good book. It's a rags to riches story where a poor young girl is chosen to be a friend to a rich royal. But all is not perfect of course. It does point out the stark differences between the very rich and the very poor. I think it is something we need to keep in mind with our kids. Today's kids are much more aware of what life is like for the rich. They see people like Paris Hilton who's only claim to fame is her wealth. What has she done for anyone? And yet the kids look up to her.

Imagine that you are eleven years old, and every day you must work in order to make enough money to eat. You hand sew lace all day long in a crowded, dirty room, the same room in which you live with your sick m
other and harsh grandmother. You sew and you dream, dream of the riches of the palace of the King and his family. The Lacemaker and the Princess is the story of such a girl, eleven-year-old Isabelle, living in France in the late 1700s, a third-generation lace maker. One day, she gets to make a delivery to the palace and seizing the opportunity, Isabelle snoops to see all she can outside her own world. She gets caught up in a crowd, trips and is almost trampled but is rescued by the queen Marie Antoinette. The queen decides that Isabelle should meet Princess Marie-Therese, who chooses Isabelle to be her friend. Now, Isabelle gets to live the dream of the palace. She gets to eat like the princess, wear clothes like the princess, learn to ride horses like the princess. It is no wonder it is hard to go home every day and work like she always had. The difference in the world between the working masses and the few elite of France are obvious, and the revolution boils over while Isabelle finds who she is and where she fits in. (New Hampshire Great Stone Face nominee, 2008-2009)

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