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Summary: Every time his dad and grandfather talk about Jack's "destiny" to work in the mines, he cringes. He loves the world that Miss Post, his teachers, shows him - with birds, frogs, and trees with leaves. In Coppertown the only thing that lives is the mining industry. Even that is about to change. The Company is closing the mine because of a prolonged workers' strike. The future is uncertain ... and that might be a good thing. Coppertown is a fictional place with a very true history of mining life in the 1980s.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 12 and Up; read yourself: 13 and Up
Interest Level: 13 and Up
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: It took me a little bit to get into the story, but I liked Jack Hicks and his friend Piran instantly. Having lived and gone to school in West Virginia, I could easily relate to the mining environment and Jack's questions about mining practices, environmental impact. Family dynamics were realistic (without being dysfunctional), and I appreciated Jack's dilemma of not wanting to go into the "family business."
Pros: Young readers (and adults) will enjoy this well-paced story about life in a mining town. It is easy to extrapolate to other industries and/or towns economically impacted by "Company" events.
Cons: None, really. The title may dissuade some readers from picking up the book. I wish it had a bit more "grab" to it.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a very enjoyable book that will appeal to audiences who love historical fiction, but also stories with strong male characters.
Educational Themes: The story unfolds through Jack's eyes, and there are several themes that fit in the "coming of age" category. As the author explains, the story is built on actual events in a mining town on the border of Georgia and Tennessee. Use the information in the book to expand a look at Appalachian history, as well as how mining has changed. there is also an underlying theme of ecology and conservation.
Notes: A Reading Tub® volunteer submitted this review. This book is part of her personal library.
Literary Categories: Fiction - historical fiction, US history, family
Date(s) Reviewed: December 2014
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.