Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Numbering All the Bones

Title: Numbering All The Bones
Author: Ann Rinaldi
Publisher: Scholastic, 2002
Source: I purchased
ISBN: 0-439-46083-2

I have always loved the work of Ann Rinaldi. Her ability to bring her characters alive while taking the reader on the journey back in time. I was first introduced to her work when my daughter had to read several historical fiction books for her History class. She didn’t seem to like what I had on my shelves so I went to her History teacher. She recommended I get her some books by Ann Rinaldi. She said she had never met anyone who didn’t like to read work by this author. She was correct. This was the turning point in my daughter’s reading life. I, the reading teacher had not been able to get her to crack a book for pleasure and yet this teacher had hit on the one author who would do that.

In Numbering All the Bones we meet Eulinda, a house slave. She was much more than that. Her master was also her father. We start off reading about the accusation of a theft by the master’s first wife to get back at Eulinda for being her husband’s daughter. This resulted in the mistress selling off Eulinda’s youngest brother, who had found the ring. To pay her back, her older brother actually steals the ring for future use. When the mistress dies, the master remarries. His new wife seems to treat Eulinda like an actual member of the family, that is when it is convenient for her in the presence of her husband. As the Civil War Winds down changes take place in the master’s house. With a prison down the road from their plantation, the mistress has found a way to make money off of the situation. At the end of the war a confederate soldier has come to make things right in the abandoned prison. It is learned that 13,000 soldiers, both black and white died there, including Eulinda’s brother. When she finds him she finds the ring and goes about trying to set things right. This is done with the help of Clara Barton.

I felt so sorry for Eulinda being in a situation where she felt she didn’t fit into either world. Although she was a fictional character, most of the other characters were not. I am sure there were many people like Eulinda during this time who took a stand for what was right. This is probably one of the best Civil War book I have read in a long time and one I will proudly recommend to my students. I gave this a rating of 5 out of 5

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