Call Me Kate by Molly Roe

A masterfully told historical is what you’ll find in the award-winning Call Me Kate: Meeting the Molly Maguires by Molly Roe.

Catherine “Katie” McCafferty is an Irish immigrant living in the Patch. Coal mining is a large industry in Pennsylvania, and poor working conditions, being paid in script, and the ever-present danger of working in the mines complicates the lives of those living in the Patch.

Tragedy comes to Katie’s family and she is forced to leave school and take a job as a domestic to help her family survive. The Civil War has burbled along for months, but when the northern draft is enacted in the fall of 1862, new troubles fall on people in the Patch. Now breadwinners are expected to leave the mines and fight in Lincoln’s War, further tightening the noose around their necks. 

In order to rescue a lifelong friend from the escalating violence, Katie disguises herself as a draft register and infiltrates a secret Irish organization, hoping to prevent bloodshed. But what will happen if her ruse is discovered? And can Katie balance her sense of justice with the law?

Historical fiction has always been one of my favorite genres. As someone who has studied the Civil War, I had heard of the Molly Maguires, but honestly I never researched this organization fully. Historians are conflicted on their views of the Mollies, with some believing the organization used intimidation and violence against the mining companies; whereas others believe the Mollies were victims of more violence than they ever stirred up.

In Call Me Kate, Katie’s lifelong friend and potential suitor is drawn into the Mollies after a tragic accident. She fears for Con’s life and decides she must infiltrate the organization in order to convince Con to stop what the Mollies are planning. This is a dangerous scheme, as not only must she pose as a man, it’s possible she could be recognized by other residents of the Patch.

Roe has created a superb coming-of-age story with a relatable, likeable, independent-minded heroine who is willing to do whatever it takes to save her family and Con. The author’s attention to detail and knowledge of the region add much to this book.

Young adults will be captivated by Katie’s story and looking forward to the next two books in Roe’s planned trilogy of historical novels based upon her ancestors.  After reading Call Me Kate, I know I’m eager to read them.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: Tribute Books
  • ISBN-10: 0981461956
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981461953
  • SRP:  $19.95 

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    Molly Roe Bio:

    Molly Roe is the pen name of Mary Garrity Slaby, a veteran language arts & reading teacher at Lake-Lehman Junior Senior High School. Mary holds a Ph.D. in education from Temple University, and Pennsylvania teaching certification in six areas. She has pursued the hobby of genealogy for the past decade. Mary was born in Philadelphia, raised in Schuylkill County, and currently lives in Dallas, Pennsylvania with her husband, John. They are parents of two grown children, Melissa and John Garrett, cover illustrator of Call Me Kate. Digging into the past has given Mary newfound respect for her ancestors and a better understanding of history. Call Me Kate is the first in the author’s trilogy of historical novels loosely based on the lives of the strong women who preceded her.


    Fur and Feathers by Janet Halfmann

     In this imaginative new book by Janet Halfmann, Sophia is awakened by the howling winds. Her mother suggests they count animals. Soon Sophia is fast asleep, dreaming of a howling wind that blows all the animals out of their coats. Sophia offers the animals her clothes, but they aren’t very comfortable for her new friends. Then Sophia pulls out her grandma’s sewing box to see what she can find to make the “right coat” for each animal.

    Fur and Feathers is a delightful story from the award-winning team of Janet Halfmann and Laurie Allen Klein. Halfmann’s unique and engaging story is perfectly complemented by Klein’s stunning and beautiful artwork. Young readers will be captivated by this tale of a young girl who helps out her furry and feathered friends.  This book takes the idea of counting sheep to an all new and fun level.

    If you visit Halfmann’s website, she will share the inspiration behind Fur and Feathers. You can view the video trailer below.

    An educational section at the back of the book can be used to teach youngsters about different animals and their skin coverings.

    I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more books by Janet Halfmann!

    Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher:  Sylvan Dell Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1607180863
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607180869
  • SRP:  $8.95

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    Lightning Strikes by Kevin McNamee

    I’m beginning to think Kevin McNamee can write anything. He wrote a book about a girl who wants to trade in her sister; he wrote a tale about a young boy who imagines what it would be like to be just about anything; and he also wrote a book about rulers who were so bored they made up silly rules for their people to follow.

    Now McNamee has written a book that combines Science and Math in a fun way. Lightning Strikes teaches kids to count backwards while it also explains how you can use counting to judge how far away thunder is. In his typical style, McNamee uses humor and rhyme to tackle a less than funny subject.

    Children can be scared of storms. The little boy in Lightning Strikes is no different. As he counts backwards, the thunder gets closer and closer, until even his parents have joined him under the bed.

    Artist Eugene Ruble provided the illustrations for this one. As some of you might know, Ruble also created the artwork for my book, Little Shepherd. His versatility as an artist never ceases to amaze me. In one book the illustrations can be serious and touching. Then in the next book they are zany and silly.

    In addition to the fact that McNamee’s books are always fun, he comes up with some of the most unique story ideas. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!

    Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
  • ISBN-10: 1616330953
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616330958
  • SRP:  $9.95
  • Also available in eBook formats through the publisher’s website.

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    Hello, Bugs! and Hello, Animals! by Smriti Prasadam

    Get ready to introduce your little one to beautiful bugs and popular animals in these two books from author Smriti Prasadam.

     In Hello, Bugs!, your child ages 2 to 5 will get to explore ten lovely bugs, their actions and sounds. From the ladybug who scurries to the flit, float of the butterfly, this white and black book with splashes of colorful foil will catch your youngster’s eye and make him eager to touch and learn.

    Then comes, Hello, Animals! It has the same black and white pages with sparkly touches of color, but this time your little one is learning about ten loving animals. The Panda goes “crunch, munch” when it eats, while the dog says, “woof, woof” and the penguin walks with a “waddle, waddle.”

     I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for author, Smriti Prasadam to communicate these concepts so succinctly.  Artist Emily Bolam did an excellent job of providing the visuals to help readers grasp those  concepts.

    Hello, Bugs! and Hello, Animals! make a great gift any time of the year.

    Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Hello, Bugs!

  • Publisher: Tiger Tales
  • ISBN-10: 1589258622
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589258624
  • SRP:  $5.95
  • Hello, Animals!

  • Publisher: Tiger Tales
  • ISBN-10: 1589258614
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589258617
  • SRP:  $5.95

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    Five Little Pumpkins Illustrated by Ben Mantle

     Five little pumpkins are sitting on the gate. Night falls and they are soon joined by a witch, some ghosts, and a few little black spiders.

    The classic story of the five little pumpkins is brought to life again by artist Ben Mantle. A perfect Halloween read, my daughters are familiar with Five Little Pumpkins  from elementary school.

    This board book with padded cover is the perfect size for little hands, and it will get your youngster counting.

    My one tiny complaint is that it is designed with black text on a dark background. I had trouble seeing some of the text, as did my daughter when she tried to read it aloud. The page where the lights went out had white text and you could really see the difference it made.

    Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: Tiger Tales
  • ISBN-10: 1589258568
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589258563
  • SRP:  $8.95

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    From the Family Bookshelf

    Is it possible a month has passed since my last From the Family Bookshelf column appeared? I swear it couldn’t have, but the last one is dated September 21st, so I guess time slipped away from me.

    All of us have been busy. Swimming lessons and dance lessons have started. Dad has been working like crazy. I have been up to my eyeballs with promoting my first children’s book, Little Shepherd, coordinating book tours, and reading. Not to mention family stuff.

    Dad finally finished Vince Flynn’s The Third Option. Now he is reading Prince Caspian, which is part of The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. Though I have seen various movie adaptations of this book and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, I’ve never read the books. We have the set here, so I’ll have to change that one day.

    The Lil Diva is back to reading thanks to school. She read Ginger the Stray Kitten by Holly Webb again. She’s also read a couple of books on Justin Bieber and one on the Jonas Brothers. Just think of what she’ll be like in five years if she’s already into teenage pop stars now. She is currently reading Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. We saw a stage production of Charlotte’s Web while we were in North Carolina. She came home wanting to read the book, but hasn’t gotten around to it until now.

    The Lil Princess is reading anything and everything. We’re on our second round of Pink Princess Rules the Schoo l by Alyssa Crowne. She has brought home books from her school library every week since it opened. This week she has a nonfiction book about puppies. She’s hoping we buy her Green Princess Saves the Day, also by Crowne. Green is her favorite color.

    As for me, little ole Mom, I’ve been reading and reading and reading. I just finished Invisible Path by Marilyn Meredith.  This is the latest book in her Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. Marilyn is going on a virtual book tour with this book next month.

    I also recently finished A Despicable Profession by John Knoerle, a post-WWII spy thriller, and the legal thriller, Buying Time by Pamela Samuels Young. Both books are excellent and I would highly recommend them.  Before those two I read:

    The Lil Princess and I also plowed through a box of books from tiger tales. These books are all part of their Fall/Winter collection. You’ll see review coming for them soon. Last night I polished off the award-winning  Call Me Kate by Molly Roe. This is a young adult historical. I began reading Saving Max by Antoinette van Heugten.

    That’s it for this issue of From the Family Bookshelf. Until next time, keep reading!

    Special Guest Suthep Srikureja, Author of The Traveler

    Today’s special guest is Suthep Srikureja, author of the children’s spiritual book, The Traveler.

    The Traveler is about Dreams and Wishes…it’s about Expressions and Wonder and about Hope and Trust.

    It is a Story of the Stars and it seeks to inspire awe in our everyday existence and optimism about the future.

    “How Do You Spell ‘Write’ Anyway?” by Suthep Srikureja

    Thank you for having me here today.

    Do you think writing is hard? What should you write about? Do you want to be a Writer one day?

    How do you spell “Write” anyway?

    Let me tell you how I spell it…”W R I I T E’…. Now before you say that my spelling sucks, let me tell you what I mean, and let’s start with:

    W : Write

    The best way to be a writer is to simply Write. Sit down, pull out a sheet of paper and pen, or turn on your computers and simply…start. I often hear people saying things like “Oh, I would like to write one day but I am so busy. I can never find the time…” or “I used to be pretty good at this. I’m sure I can do it.” or ” I would like to write but I think I would totally suck” …and so on. Yes, these arguments may make sense but it really does not matter. Good or bad, talented or not, if you want to do it, you have to DO it.

    So take action. There is no substitute.

    R: Relax

    All right kids, take a deep breath in. Now breathe out. Again. And again. How do you feel?

    The thing is if you are tense or stressed out about anything you do, whether it is your school work, or sports or even your social life, your performance will suffer. Or you will suffer. OR both. And that doesn’t make sense. It’s the same with writing. Don’t go crazy and don’t be scared. If you relax into the process of writing, you will be more effective. And you will enjoy yourself too.

    I: Ideas

    What to write about? Where do ideas come from? The answer is from Everywhere. From your mind, from other people, from books, from movies, your pets, from nature. There are stories all around us. Try to be observant, try to notice things. The way someone walks, the way the cat hides and pounces, the way your friend’s shoe laces keep getting undone, the way the moon and the sun play hide and seek with one another…Keep doing this and pretty soon you discover that you now have way too many ideas. What do you do? How do you manage them? The best way is to write them down. They don’t have to mean anything and they don’t have to lead anywhere. You may never use these ideas. But you have to catch them. For if you don’t they will pop like bubbles and they will be lost forever. I have a little note book that I carry with me everywhere and I call it my bubble catcher. I write everything down. If nothing else, I take it out and read it when I’m bored. It’s a real fun thing to do.

    I: Inspiration

    Some days I find myself looking for inspiration. So what I do is I open my note book, my bubble catcher, and I look through it. I read it slowly and suddenly one of the bubbles starts to try to catch my attention. Some are nice and polite and they say ‘please’ and some are a little aggressive and they catch hold of me. Either way, I start with one or more of these ideas and then see where they lead me.

    T : Trust

    Some writers know exactly the type of story they are going to write. Everyone has their style, everyone has their method. I can only tell you my way. For me everything I write is an adventure. It might be a funny sort of a journey or it might be a magical mystery tour or it may be a discovery trip. It could be a short story or it could be a long book. While I do know what end result I am looking for, I don’t force it too much. I know that my stories want to be written as much as I want to write them, and so I often let them be the driver. In that sense we are like partners and we create the stories together. That takes a lot of Trust. Trust in myself and Trust in my story.

    E: Expression

    You must express yourself sincerely. If you try to copy someone else, or you try to write about some topic simply because it is the fashionable thing to do, you might not be able to do as a good a job. But if you express your story in your own way, you develop something that writers call “Voice” which the reader will be able to “Hear”. It may be a little hard at the beginning to find what style you’re most comfortable with but it comes with time. So write and express what’s in your heart and you cannot go wrong.

    And that’s how I WRIITE.

    How about you?

    Thank you.

    Suthep Srikureja lives in Bangkok with his wife and three children. An entrepreneur and a writer, he can often be found immersed in various bodies of water. The Traveler is his first book.

    You can find out about Suthep and his book at