TENMILE — Review

Thought for the Day:

“Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.”
~ Barbara Kingsolver ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

Jan Fields at Institute for Writers has a spectacular article HERE called Nitty-Gritty of Dialogue Format. This is the best article I’ve seen on this topic. She has great examples.

I know I overuse certain words (just and really, to name a couple), and I encourage my critique partners to cut out all those thats they use. HERE is a good article from Book Cave by Catia Shattuck with 17 Weak Words to Avoid in Your Writing.

Passive voice is usually a problem in writing, and HERE Caitlin Berve has a good article at Ignited Ink Writing on Passive Voice: How to Recognize and Fix It in Creative Writing.

It has been a quiet week here in Sacramento with fairly pleasant spring weather. We’ve had a few days in the 90s since I’ve been home but we haven’t started to hit the 100s yet. I’m sure it won’t be long. In the mean time, I’m trying to get some walks in and some things done in the yard before the heat takes hold. I’m working on a picture book manuscript I had put away for awhile, and I’m excited about it. It’s good to be home for awhile and get some writing done. Storyteller Academy has classes starting up again in a couple weeks. I’m hoping that will really get my juices flowing and my backside nailed to my writing chair. And, of course, there is reading. I have been keeping the local library busy finding lots of picture books for me to read and use for mentor texts and reading MG books for the reviews I work for, and I am deep into the Joe Pickett series by C. J. Box I mentioned in an earlier post. I will start book nine today. Life is good.

I have made no secret that I am a huge fan of historical fiction. I don’t find as much of it in MG as I would like to, so when I run across MG historical fiction, I grab it as quickly as I can. When I saw TENMILE by Sandra Dallas on the review list for the Seattle Book Review, I requested it immediately. I was particularly interested in the theme of problems with child labor in the past. I think it’s a really important issue for today’s kids to know about. Sandra Dallas does a great job with this, and it looks like she has written a few more MG historicals, so I will have to hunt those down. And isn’t that a inviting cover? Here is the review of TENMILE I wrote for SBR.

Sissy, daughter of the town doctor, often helps her father as he ministers to the people of Tenmile, a poor mining town in Colorado. At age thirteen, sometimes this work is a heavy burden, especially when it involves her school friends or their families. When one of her best friends, Jack, has to leave school and go down into the mine, it’s hard for them both, but when he is badly injured, it really drives Sissy to examine the lives of young people in Tenmile. She is hired as a tutor for the son of the mine owner, and this brings a new perspective. Sissy finds ways to help many people in the town in surprising ways.

Sandra Dallas

Sandra Dallas has written a very effective and compelling story that will give young readers a real taste of what it would be like to live in a mining town in Colorado in the late 1800s and the problems young people faced. The writing is excellent and shows the author’s fine research through period-appropriate language and issues. The characters are well-rounded and believable, and the masterfully rendered setting nearly becomes another character. Fans of historical fiction will love this book.

Please don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.

24 thoughts on “TENMILE — Review”

  1. Re: repeated words like just and really, yes, they can be overused, Grammarly warns us, often, but they are realistic language for midfle school students, aren’t they? My MC wants to say “actually” but Grammarly scolds me every time (if I can get it to work in Word). Great review, Rosi.


    1. Thanks! Yes, such words can help build an identity for characters. That is a good way to use empty words. Thanks for pointing that out. I appreciate you reading and commenting.


  2. Best of luck with the picture book ms, Rosi, and thanks for the links! So easy for weak words and passive sentences to sneak in (when I’m not looking!!). The book sounds really good, a nice angle to take. Thanks for sharing and have a great week!


  3. Sounds like you’ve been busy! Thanks for this review. The last book historical fiction MG I read was about kids during the Gold Rush. And it was published years ago. This one sounds interesting. I’ve read a YA novel in verse about labor practices during the late 1800s-early1900s that was really good, so it’s nice to see something for younger kids.


  4. I’m so glad you’re excited about your PB manuscript right now, Rosi, and it sounds like you’ve had a chance to do a lot of fun reading as well!

    Tenmile sounds like a great read, and like you say, there isn’t much MG historical fiction as is, so this definitely adds to the selection.

    And I love the quote you shared—it’s so true that a writer’s own voice and perspective is the most important thing differentiating them from other writers.

    Thanks so much for the thoughtful post!


  5. Great set of links as I learned something from each one. Tenmile is a book I will have to read. Not only is it a compelling story set in the past, but you can’t beat the setting! Thanks for being a part of MMGM this week.


  6. I enjoy historical fiction too and this one sounds so interesting. Thanks also for the inspiring Kingsolver quote!


    1. Sue, my library lets me request up to 50 books a year for them to buy, and they usually buy six copies. Asking your library to buy it is a great way to support an author. Thanks for reading and commenting.


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