by Steve Sheinkin
Recommended by: Marion Burghart, school librarian, Schoharie JHS, Schoharie Central School Teachers Association
Suitable for: Grades 5-9
Why I chose this book: This is a true story with criminals and counterfeiting! With the Common Core emphasis on informational text, there has been more interest in using nonfiction, but there is a gap in quality nonfiction for middle school readers. ELA teachers require students to read this genre for independent reading, but I find a lot of the books are either too short or too long for most students. This book is fascinating and is the right length at 224 pages.
How teachers can use this book: This makes a great independent reading choice. History teachers could use chapter 3, which explains the history of counterfeiting and the creation of the Secret Service, to read out loud to students to get them interested in the book. Students could be reading it in English class while studying the post-Civil War Wild West time period in social studies.
What I liked best: This exciting story has some elements that will appeal to teens and tweens: Counterfeiting, grave-robbing, Lincoln's assassination and stupid criminals are just a few of the dramatic actions that make this a page-turning read. Primary sources such as photos and letters are included to make it visually appealing as well as authentic. There is a glossary, index and bibliography.
About the author: Steve Sheinkin is a former textbook writer whose book Bomb: The Race to Build and Steal the World's Most Dangerous Weapon,was awarded a Newbery Honor, the Sibert Medal, the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults and was a finalist for the National Book Award. He lives in Saratoga Springs.
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