I grew up in Boalsburg, Pa., where it's a known fact - one that I learned as a student at Boalsburg-Panorama Elementary School - that the tiny historic village is the birthplace of Memorial Day in America. Apparently, however, there are a bunch of other U.S. towns that make that claim to fame.
Setting the record straight in her novel "Shadows of War: Prelude to the First Memorial Day" (Crandall Publishing, 112 pp., 2008) is Boalsburg resident and author Janice Sweet McElhoe, mother of Jennifer McElhoe, a classmate of mine at State College Area High School.
I ran into both Janice and Jennifer McElhoe at BookFestPA in State College on July 14. They were promoting "Shadows of War" in a tent with a number of local authors up behind Schlow Centre Region Library.
"Shadows of War" is a historical novel intended for middle-school students, ages 9 to 12.
|Photo of Janice McElhoe in the |
BookFestPA tent July 14
"Author Janice Sweet McElhoe, Ph.D., has written a story that young readers can relate to. In the novel, brave teens and classmates at the Boalsburg Academy trade their books for guns and march off to war, while the young women in the class are left behind."
Book summary (from Amazon.com):
The reader of "Shadows of War: Prelude to the First Memorial Day" will be able to visualize the impact of the Civil War on one small village in Pennsylvania and feel the magnitude of the events that eventually led to the first observance of Memorial Day. In the story, brave classmates at the Boalsburg Academy - 15, 16, 17 years old - trade their books for guns and march off to the Civil War, while the young women in the class are left behind. This tale is filled with loyalty and compassion for family, community, and country; qualities that continue to have implications for young people today.
The book is available for purchase at the Boalsburg Heritage Museum for $7 as well as on Amazon.com
Download an audio prelude to book, courtesy of WPSU and NPR, here.
About the author (from the BookFestPA website):
McElhoe is also the author of “Sarah’s Story: A History of the Boalsburg Heritage Musuem” now in it’s second edition at the Boalsburg Heritage Museum.
Learn more about Boalsburg's Memorial Day history here.