Daily Archives: November 16, 2006

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume One: The Pox Party

I am delighted that this won the National Book Award for young people’s literature. It is an extraordinary work. Congratulations, M. T. Anderson! While I can’t claim to know well the primary sources of the period in which this book takes place, I have read some and Anderson’s success in creating a character of his time while also making readers today think of issues of today is nothing short of genius.

In a post last month about historical fiction, I wrote of my admiration of this book. I’m off to the National Council of Teachers of English convention in a few hours where I will be meeting with the Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts Committee. One of the books I hope we will discuss is this one. It is such a wonderful book I’d love to have it on our list, but our audience is K-8 and I do think this book is probably for older kids. (Oh, I’m delighted that one of our 2006 books is the same author’s The Serpent Came to Gloucester. The man’s creativity and ability to stretch to a variety of genres and audiences is remarkable.)


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Filed under Historical Fiction, History, Reading, Writing