The Totally Made-up Civil War Diary of Amanda MacLeish
By Claudia Mills
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), Hardcover, 9780374376963, 208pp.)
Publication Date: March 18, 2008
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Amanda MacLeish might be the only student in Mr. Abrams’s fifth-grade class who doesn’t mind doing her homework. Now that her father has left home and moved into a motel, the only thing that brings Amanda any joy is writing her fictional diary entries about a young girl named Polly who lives amid the chaos of the Civil War. Polly would understand Amanda. With one brother fighting for the North and one fighting for the South, Polly knows just how it feels to have a family split in half. But if the North and the South could find a way to reunite despite their differences, can’t Amanda’s family do the same?
In this touching novel by Claudia Mills, the heroine learns that enduring a split doesn’t have to mean losing a family.The Totally Made-up Civil War Diary of Amanda MacLeish is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.
CLAUDIA MILLS has written dozens of books for children, most recently the novel Trading Places and the chapter book Being Teddy Roosevelt, about which both The Horn Book and Publishers Weekly declared, “Bully for Mills.” Ms. Mills teaches philosophy at the University of Colorado in Boulder, where she lives with her family.
"Addresses many issues of relevance in a straightforward style and provides age-appropriate food for thought." —School Library Journal "A polished and accessible exploration of a tough situation, sure to resonate with kids." —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books "Mills wins again, with an eminently likable protagonist, well-integrated subplots, and an emotionally involving story, perfectly aimed at her middle-grade audience." —The Horn Book "Believable and appealing" —Kirkus Reviews "This makes a good choice for Mills' many fans, as well as for children in search of a satisfying family story." —Booklist "Mills deftly connects Amanda's current situation with her diary entries about a fictional character named Polly." —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Claudia Mills’s newest novel sparkles like a glass of ginger ale, peppery and sweet. . . . A splash of American history, a dollop of friendship, a pinch of philosophy, humor, pathos, even a dash of romance.” —Barnes & Noble Review