"A full scale history lesson disguised as a can't put it down story." - I Read What You Write Blog
Gold Medalist (Middle School/Historical Fiction), 2017 Literary Classics Award
1st Place Winner (Historical Fiction), 2017 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards
Bronze Medalist (Juvenile/Young Adult Fiction), 2017 eLit Awards
Quarter Finalist, 2016 Booklife Prize (Middle Grade) One of the top 10 MG entries!
Seal of Approval Recipient, 2017 Literary Classics Awards
Named on the Grateful American Kids website as one of the best history books for kids to read
Fourteen-year-old Clara Hargraves lives on a farm in Hopkinton, a small New Hampshire town, during the early 19th century. She has a couple of big problems. First of all, she has a stepmother, Priscilla, who used to be her spinster schoolteacher aunt. Clara resents that her late mother’s older sister has not only married her father but is about to have a baby. To make matters worse, “Prissy Priscilla” keeps trying to make the rambunctious, clever, and witty Clara act like a proper young lady. Secondly, Clara has red hair, making her a target for teasing by a handsome older boy, Dickson Weeks, and by her pretty seventeen-year-old Dread Cousin Hetty. Clara, however, has a secret plan she hopes will change this. During the last week of June, 1825, Clara’s town is abuzz because the famous General Lafayette is about to visit their state during his farewell tour of America. In those eventful seven days, Clara learns a lot about her family, Hetty, Dickon, herself, and about Lafayette. She comes to understand the huge and vital role the young French aristocrat played in America’s Revolutionary War and to see that her problems might not be quite so terrible after all.
"A winning historical tale that may appeal to young fans of the musical Hamilton." - Kirkus Reviews
|Publisher:||Boutique of Quality Books|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)|
|Age Range:||10 - 14 Years|
About the Author
Dorothea Jensen, born in Boston, Massachusetts, grew up in Chillicothe, Illinois. She majored in English literature at Carleton College. After teaching high-school English and serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Brazil, she earned a master’s degree in education at the University of New Mexico. In 1989, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich published Dorothea’s novel for young readers about the American Revolution, The Riddle of Penncroft Farm. In addition to other honors, it was named an International Reading Association Teacher’s Choices Selection and is read in classrooms throughout the U.S. A Buss from Lafayette is set in the small New Hampshire town where Dorothea lives. Two things inspired her to write this story. First was learning that Lafayette passed right by her house during his 1824-5 “Triumphal Tour.” Another was meeting a woman whose ancestor received a kiss from Lafayette. That “buss,” passed down through generations, eventually came to Dorothea. This sparked her Interest in Lafayette’s contributions to our struggle for independence. Dorothea also enjoys writing rhyming verse. She has written a series of award-winning illustrated modern Christmas stories in verse featuring Santa’s Izzy Elves.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Great story! I'm glad I discovered this author. She writes so well and makes her characters so believable. Her other book of historical fiction about the American Revolution is "The Riddle of Penncroft Farm," which was published a while back in 1989. It got all sorts of awards and I'm sure this one will too. This one is about a 14-yr old girl, Clara, who lives in Hopkinton, NH in the 1820s when General Lafayette was on his tour of the US to celebrate the 50th year of American independence that he helped fight for. I never knew he had such impact on the success of the war! The author cleverly weaves the historical information into the story so that you learn about Lafayette as Clara does. And then you get the story about Clara dealing with a step-mother, being called carroty top for her red hair, and her brother's teasing friend, or is he maybe flirting???? (Don't worry, this does not need a PG designation; it's a completely wholesome story.) Lots of plot lines in this and all resolved in a believable way. Well done Ms. Jensen! Keep on writing! I would recommend this story to readers age 9-14 for personal enjoyment, but also teachers would benefit from this as you learn a lot about the American Revolution, Lafayette's role in it, and also about 1820s rural New England life which is when the actual story takes place. BTW I googled the author (dorotheajensen.com and abussfromlafayette.com) and found a free reading guide, a ton of additional info, photos, and links - great addition for readers, teachers and homeschoolers. Check it out! Enjoy!
This story takes place in New Hampshire in 1825. Clara is 14 years old and adjusting to a new family situation. Her mother died one year ago, and one week later, her father married her spinster aunt. On top of that, they're having a baby. Clara misses her mother and the way her life used to be. She is also sorely disappointed with the color of her hair--red! But she has a plan to change that. At dinner one night, her father talks about the Nation's Guest, who arrived in New Hampshire that day. His name--General Lafayette. This book was such a fun read! There were a few different storylines going on and I loved the way the author pulled them all together. Clara's family discussed General Lafayette and the contributions he made in helping the United States win the war and become a free country. There is a love interest, Dickon Weeks, who pays her attention. She's clueless when it comes to boys so their exchanges were entertaining. Her stepmother, Priscilla, is trying to turn her into a proper young lady and she wants no part of that. Clara softens towards Priscilla as she learns more about her. Her beautiful 17-year-old cousin Hetty comes to visit and she makes Clara feel like a child. This book takes place in one week and Clara learns and grows a lot during that short time period! I especially loved the stories of General Lafayette and learned so much more about him that I didn't know. This is my favorite way to learn history since the stories are brought to life and make me feel like I was there. I also liked the Glossary in the back. I didn't know what "buss" meant so was curious about the title and love the way it fit into the story! This is the first book I've read by this author but it won't be my last! I received a copy of this book via BeachBoundBooks for an honest review. My opinion is 100% my own.
The story of a post-Revolutionary War teenager growing into adulthood, romance, acceptance of her relatives, and fresh opportunities is a bit thick with frequent info dumps about the role of Lafayette and other famous major players from the war, but the characters are engaging and the lead character’s growth is very real.
This book takes the reader back in time to the year 1825. Clara is fourteen and her stepmother is trying to teach her how to be a lady. Her stepmother was looking more like a fairy godmother and less like a wicked stepmother. Clara wanted to learn as much as she could about this Frenchman who had done so much for her country. Entertaining and educational read. I received this book free for an honest review.
In this coming age novel, Clara Hargraves must come to terms with a step mother she feels is trying to take her dead mother’s place, her flaming red hair that draws attention and teasing, and just being a 14 year old girl. The book takes place in 1825 and as the title suggests, central to the story is the tour of The States by revolutionary War Hero, General Lafayette. While Clara navigates the inevitable and timeless pitfalls of being a 14 year old, the world around her is a buzz with Lafayette’s tour stops. It seems that where ever she goes the adults are discussing him and his contribution to the Revolutionary War. Against that canvas Clara gets to learn a few things about life not always being what it seems. Maybe her Evil Stepmother/Aunt isn’t the villain Clara would like to believe. Maybe her hateful “perfect’ cousin isn’t so perfect after all. And that boy who has been teasing her mercilessly for years, well just maybe he isn’t so bad either. An unexpected meeting will change her perspective on herself and her family. Middle grade girls will immediately identify and relate with Clara. Despite the historical time gap, Clara’s life isn’t so different from theirs; Chores, boys, growing womanhood and greater responsibilities. Meanwhile, without even realizing it they will pick up an excellent education on the primary figures of the American Revolution, as well what life was like for kids their age in the early 1800’s. For that reason, I believe in a classroom setting this book would also appeal to middle grade boys. 5 stars I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
I drank this novel like water, and loved the depth in all the characters as well as the historical detail. I got emotionally invested in Clara and her problems, which made the book about her, with the historical aspect of the novel more as a frame of reference than an end. Also, the love story and all the changes that the lead character is going through internally (a girl turning into a woman) made it very relatable. The romantic aspect of the story will be a big plus for young teen girls who are going through the same hormonal soup, as an extra layer to this novel. The prose of Ms. Jensen is vivid and very rich, making it easy to recreate the whole period of time in my mind. This is a great way to get younger tweens and early teens to LIVE the history of the American Revolution, instead of just learning the facts about it. I recommend this novel wholeheartedly to anyone who loves historical novels.