My Story gives young readers a glimpse into the lives of a person or family during historical periods. The Hunger by Carol Drinkwater takes the reader to 1845 Ireland during the potato blight and famine. Although the books are written for young readers, I've become addicted to them. If you have children studying a particular event or historical period, these would be a wonderful way for them to become acquainted with a family living during that time.
My Story - An Irish Girl's Diary
It's 1845 and blight has destroyed the precious potato crop leaving Ireland starving. Phyllis works hard to support her struggling family, but when her mother's health deteriorates she sets off in search of her rebel brother and is soon swept up in the fight for a free and fair Ireland.
Written in the form of a diary, Phyllis's family rents 16 acres of farm land. They burn bog peat in the winter which causes the house to fill with smoke because they have no fireplace. Although life is difficult, Phyllis is happy that Catholics now have equal rights and she is entitled to go to school. She says it's been 45 years since the Irish lost their government. On top of the day to day struggles of the family, a fungal disease affects their main source of food (potatoes) and estates are mismanaged while the British landlords are absent and not aware that their managers are evicting tenants (30,000 were evicted between 1849 and 1850).