Whoop! Whoop! You’re just in time to help us celebrate the release of Jennifer Jensen’s debut novel Through the Shimmer of Time for kids ages 9 to 12.
Take it away, Jennifer!
Thanks for hosting me, Lynn. It’s fun to share some blogging with another middle grade booklover.
With a MG time travel book that goes back and forth to 1838, you’d think I’d be a history fanatic. I thought I was a history lover . . . until college. American History 101 cured me of that – History with a capital H is names and dates and battles and economics. B-O-R-I-N-G, even if I was half-decent in memorizing them.
What I love about history is what I used to call The Olden Days – any and every time period far enough in the past that it’s fun to imagine living there. I love reading about how the pilgrims survived winter, how families buried their silver during times of war, and how kitchens were in separate buildings, not only to keep the house cooler in the summer, but for fire safety!
I love imagining farmers mending harnesses by the fire and ladies dancing intricate steps in sumptuous long gowns. I still remember being fascinated with an old high school movie that showed how coopers made barrels in colonial America. Since I can’t actually travel to those times (although I did make a plea for a time travel agent this week), I love reading books and watching movies that draw me in, as far as my imagination and someone’s research will take me.
A few “Olden Days” moments that have grabbed me through books:
• Being about 12, reading about the Whitman massacre in Walla Walla, Washington. Although that may be partly because Walla Walla is fun to say!
• Living alongside (in a book, anyway) an impoverished mining family in Newcastle-on-Tyne.
• Visiting Edinburgh Castle and finally understanding that a castle was a whole town unto itself!
• Finding out exactly what being “hanged, drawn and quartered” really meant. *shudder*
• Imagining how ancient families scratched a living in the ice age or early Mesopotamia. • The idea of cooking dinner over a fire made with buffalo chips (manure). Hmm . . . would that add any special flavor?
• The incredible perseverance of pioneers as they lowered wagons into the Columbia River Gorge or carved a road into a mountain of solid rock.
• Crying when I discovered that my Scottish sea captain ancestor lost his 3-year-old daughter and his wife in the same year, and then lost his ship to rocks in the fog a month later!
I could go on and on, but the gist of it is that I like learning how people lived in any sort of Olden Days, and living it along with them. To me, the best historical fiction (including history-based time travel) is accurate in its facts and how it portrays life, AND has a great story line.
Title: Through the Shimmer of Time
By Jennifer Jensen
Readership: Ages 9-12
A mysterious pottery shard . . .
A haunted cabin . . .
A shadowy stranger . . .
And no way home
Present Day: Jim has a talent for getting into trouble. Grounded from his model rockets, he goes exploring where he shouldn’t and gets zapped back in time. Can he find the way back home or is he marooned in the past?
1838: Hannah’s life in her frontier village is filled with a little play and a lot of hard work. A seemingly harmless trick lures a strange, dazed boy from the old haunted cabin. Now Hannah must make a choice – and face the dangers.
Together, Jim and Hannah struggle to unmask a thief and solve a murder while they search for the key to unlock time. It will take all their courage and wits, plus the rocket motors in Jim’s pocket, just to stay alive.
Jennifer Jensen is an award-winning writer who wouldn’t be without her computer or smart phone, but still dreams of living in the olden days. Until someone invents a working time machine, she lives in Indiana and makes do with plenty of imagination, loads of books and as much Dr. Who as the BBC will produce. She’s a longtime member of SCBWI and has received two Indiana Arts Commission grants for her fiction. Through the Shimmer of Time is her first novel. Connect with her at her blog, through Facebook or on Twitter (@jenjensen2).
Jennifer’s Blog: Surrounded by Story
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What do you love about the Olden Days? Do you have a favorite time period? And if you’re into time travel and frontier America, check out Jennifer’s new release, Through the Shimmer of Time.
Pingback: Can You Love the ‘Olden Days’ and Hate History? | Jennifer Jensen
I’m with you, Jennifer, I hated History class with a capital H, but loved learning about history through reading fiction. My fav books as a kid were Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series (long before it became a TV show).
I hated history with a capital or lower case ‘h’ until my 30s or so. When I started writing at age 40 is when I really grew to love history, especially in a fictional setting. I didn’t know about the Little House on the Prairie series when I was a kid either. Not that I was an avid reader as a kid. I was more into playing outside most of the day!
Whoo! This sounds great! I’m going to have to check this one out. My favorite time period is turn of the 20th century, but lately I’ve taken an interest in frontier America too – my upcoming time travel is set in frontier Tennessee. And you are right, Jennifer – they sure made history boring in school! Why couldn’t they have let us read Alan Eckert books instead? Congrats on the new release, it looks fantastic! And thanks to Lynn for the feature! 🙂
Can’t wait to read your next book, Jennette!
Sounds fascinating, Jennifer. I love historical fiction when it brings those times to life. My first introduction was Little House on the Prairie. Good luck with your novel!
Cool that you read Little House on the Prairie as a kid, Yvette. I’m glad they made it into a TV show. I loved it!
It seems incredible to me now, but somehow I missed all the Little House books as a child. Possibly because the covers didn’t appeal to me at age 8 or so, and also that I was reading adult historicals by the time I was maybe 11. I remember reading a fat, small print paperback called “I Am Mary Tudor” when I was 12, and finished all 508 pages in 3 days! But I love Little House now. Anne of Green Gables was another one I missed out on that movies had to introduce me to. Little Women, on the other hand, was a perennial favorite!
I missed the series, too, Jennifer. Amazing that you were so well read in your childhood! I think it’s wonderful when kids have such a love of reading like you did.
This book sounds exciting Jennifer! I like history, so I really enjoyed this post packed with so much fun, nitty gritty historical stuff. I’ve had the privilege of traveling to many of the places you spoke of. And yes, Walla, Walla is fun to say! Congratulations!
And thank you Lynn for being such a gracious host! 🙂
Cool, Karen! I’ve never actually been to Walla Walla, but it still trips off the tongue. If you could pick a place and time in history to visit, where would it be?
You’re so sweet to thank me for hosting, Karen! And this does sound like a great book, and I agree it’s such an interesting post!
Sorry I’m so late checking here. Rough day. Having a reaction to something I ate. I’ll answer everyone’s comments tomorrow. Thank you all for stopping to celebrate this huge achievement in Jennifer’s career. First of many novels to come! She wrote such an interesting guest post I think we can all relate to. Nice going, Jennifer. Cheers to you and wishing you great success!
Sounds like a cool book for kids.
I’ve visited Edinburgh castle. Really impressive, especially considering it’s a thousand years old.
Hi Alex! I’d love to visit a thousand year old castle! Someday! 🙂
Jennifer’s book sounds fabulous. Time travel is such fun! I am a fan of hands on history- not memorizing. I tend to remember information better when I have a feel for it. 🙂
Wishing Jennifer the best of luck. I look forward to checking out her work.