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Day by day

The Hunger by Carol Drinkwater (Scholastic pound;4.99) is published in My Story, a new historical fiction series, with the subtitle "The Diary of Phyllis McCormack, Ireland 1845-1847". This moving account of a young woman's experiences during 18 months of the potato famine deserves attention as a stand-alone diary-novel. Drinkwater quickly establishes the reader's belief in her central character and fills in the factual background colour with all the directness and assurance of Karen Cushman (Catherine Called Birdy and ohers).

The period covered is highly charged both emotionally and politically. In the course of the book, Phyllis's young sister and her mother die. She worries about her brother's involvement with Irish rebels, but eventually herself joins the son of an absentee landlord to work for the same cause.

Other titles in this promising series for Year 4 and above include Blitz: The Diary of Edie Benson, London 1940-41 and Voyage On The Great Titanic: The Diary of Margaret Anne Brady, 1912.

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