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Catla and the Vikings
By author: Mary Elizabeth Nelson
Selling Points: "Vikings, British history, family, courage"
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: Mar/01/2012
Pages: 192
Fiction Ages 9-12
Price:  $9.95
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The long ship turned with a sweep of the oars and drifted toward them.
    Out of the breeze, the sail flapped like an old shawl. The red stripes were clear against the silt brown of the river. Sunlight glinted off the knobs of metal pounded into each black shield, piled in the bottom of the ship. Leather helmets and leather straps covered the invaders' faces, shading their eyes.
    One sweep of the oars brought the ship to the beach.

In the fall of 1066, a thirteen-year-old Anglo-Saxon girl named Catla watches from afar as Viking raiders burn her village and imprison her family and the other villagers. No one sees her as she flees toward Aigber, the closest village, praying the people there will help.

Catla must ignore her terror as she makes her way to the standing stones, a place of refuge, where she meets Sven, an older boy from her village. Together, they continue toward Aigber and are able to alert the village of the coming peril. Catla and Sven rally the villagers of Aigber, and with Catla's help, a plan is put in place that will save both villages from the Nord-devils.

Canadian Children's Book News - August 1, 2013
"The reader finds out a lot about life in days of yore, however...Nelson hasn’t sacrificed topics of perpetual interest to those over 12 years of age. Romance spices up the story [and]...the characterization is strong...This book will suit those readers who love interesting stories set in the past."
CanLit for Little Canadians blog - May 5, 2012
"Rich in the essences of 11th century England. The tangible attributes of the houses' roof thatch, to the beer and drinking horns, and the weaponry and clothing are woven through the text, providing a background of authenticity and lushness to Catla's and Covehithe's stories. But it's the language of her characters at which Mary Elizabeth Nelson excels...The descriptive names for common objects or events...harmonize with the setting of Catla and the Vikings while enhancing the historical account."
Booklist - April 15, 2012
"Set in England in 1066, this novel takes place over two days and has a sense of urgency, propelled by both the narrative itself and Catla's impatience to rescue her family...The author's sense of place is strong, and the anticipation of Catla's return to her village is palpable...[A] compelling novel."
Resource Links - April 1, 2012
"Catla's voice in particular shows that although the story took place a millenium ago, children still face some of the same growing pains, hardships, and insecurities then as now...Provide[s] a glimpse into an historical period not often covered in a [juvenile] novel."
CM Magazine - February 10, 2012
"Nelson has created some characters that the reader can relate to because of their complexity and their flaws...A coming-of-age story with elements of action and survival. A good choice for readers with a variety of interests."


Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books of the Year, commended  US  2013

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Middle Reader Fiction

Compelling fiction
for at-level readers

Key Features:
Compelling stories
Age-appropriate plots

Teaching Resources:
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