HISTORY! Sort Of… Frontier Crafts

0-545-03342-XThe book Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede is an alternative history based in the American frontier.

Think of it like Little House on the Prairie meets Harry Potter. It is actually the first book in the Frontier Magic Series which follows Eff (born a thirteenth child) and her family that lives in a frontier town. The local settlers may have chosen a poor location for their town though as it is close to the magical divide which separates humans from supernatural beasts.

There are tons of frontier crafts to make this story come alive while you read it:

  • Make your own hand dipped candles!
    • http://www.education.com/activity/article/dipped-candles/
    • hand dipped candlesAll you need is is a tall, skinny tin can, an old saucepan (one you don’t mind getting messy because wax can be very hard to clean up), a big chunk of wax, 15-inch lengths of candle wick, and small, straight sticks about 12 inches long.

HISTORY! Sort of…

Rewriting history is a time honored tradition. As the old saying goes, “winners write the history books.”


Some new YA authors have started to think that history can be rewritten for entertainment purposes–instead of that icky lying, vilifying people, and hiding dirty secrets by rewriting actual history books.

Most of the time these types of books are called “alternative history/histories.”

leviathanSometimes the stories run parallel to actual history like Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series, which is a steampunk twist on World War I.

Other times you get historical stories that are twisted to allow for magic or fantasy. Melissa de la Cruz came out with a book just last year with this type of alternative history. It is called The Ring and the Crown, and the book takes place in a world where the Franco-British Empire (think 1800s) is incredibly powerful due to its control over the world’s only source of magic.ring and crown

These alternative history books are great for people who enjoy history but who aren’t crazy about reading a dry and boring nonfiction book. Allowing for the history to be flexible can make the story move better for the reader with plenty of action and depth to characters.

Want something kind of historical but not boring?

Check out these awesomesauce YA alternative histories:

Becoming Darkness by Lindsay Francis Brambles (World War II)

Gods and Warriors by Michelle Paver (Ancient Greece)

Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore (1930s)

Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede (American Frontier)

Drift and Dagger by Kendall Kulper (late 1800s)

The Number 7 by Jessica Lidh (World War II)

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (Early Middle Ages)

The Inventor’s Secret by Andrea Cremer (Industrial Revolution)