All About Adolescent Literacy

All about adolescent literacy. Resources for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12.
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A video interview with

L.M. Elliott

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Laura Elliott grew up just outside Washington D.C., and came of age during the Vietnam War protests and Watergate, so she was very aware of history in the making. One of her first clear memories was of JFK's tragic assassination. Fast upon that came the killing of his brother Bobby and another man of eloquence, Martin Luther King. From her front door she could see the distant dark clouds hanging over the capital city as it burned with the agonized riots that followed his shooting.


But her love of history came from knowing a number of elderly ladies in what was then a small town community. At garden parties, over fresh-squeezed lemonade, she heard talk of history — but not about dates, battles, or political figures. It was personal, about how their relatives (or they) survived hard times, how mothers worried about their children during epidemics and wars, where they were when Pearl Harbor was attacked and how they helped the war effort afterwards. From them she learned that history is a very human drama.


Elliott graduated from Wake Forest University and holds a masters degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina.  A long-time writer for the Washingtonian magazine, Elliott was twice a finalist for the National Magazine Award and recipient of numerous Dateline awards. She wrote often on children, women's issues, and health.


Elliott's first YA historical novel, Under a War-torn Sky, grew out of an article about her father's experiences as a B-24 pilot with the French Resistance during World War II. The book went on to win numerous awards and Elliott recently continued its story in A Troubled Peace. As a former journalist, she's also "reported" on other important historical events through her books, including the Civil War in Annie, Between the States, the Revolutionary War in Give Me Liberty, and the civil rights movement in Flying South.


Elliott has also authored four picture books with New York Times best-selling illustrator, Lynn Munsinger: Hunter's Best Friend at School, Hunter and Stripe and the Soccer Showdown, and Hunter's Big Sister. Their Valentine's Day book, A String of Hearts, will be released February 2011. 


Elliott lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, two children, and their herd of pets.

Selected Books

from L.M. Elliott

Under a War Torn Sky

Age Level: 12-14

Although Henry Forester a.k.a. Hank is an older teenager at 19, he's still in the teens in terms of the number of bombings he's participated in as an American pilot during World War II. His luck runs out when he is shot down and parachutes into German-occupied territory. With the help of the French Resistance, he overcomes a number of perils and learns many lessons as he seeks safety in England.

Buy Under a War Torn Sky

A Troubled Peace

Age Level: 12-14

World War II may be ending, but for 19-year-old bomber pilot, Henry Forester, the conflict still rages. Shot down over France, Henry endured a dangerous trek to freedom, relying on civilians and Resistance fighters to stay alive. But back home in Virginia, Henry is still reliving air battles with Hitler's Luftwaffe and his torture by the Gestapo. Mostly, Henry can't stop worrying about the safety of those who helped him escape — especially one young French boy, Pierre, who, because of Henry, may have lost everything.

Buy A Troubled Peace

Give Me Liberty

Age Level: 9-12

Laced with real events and leaders such as Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry, Give Me Liberty explores the Revolutionary ideas and risks colonists faced in their quest for liberty. Thirteen-year-old Nathaniel Dunn is an indentured servant laboring on a tobacco plantation in colonial Virginia. Life is hard, and it's about to get harder when Nathaniel is sold at an auction.

Buy Give Me Liberty

Annie, Between the States

Age Level: 12-14

The Civil War has broken out and Annie Sinclair's Virginia home, Hickory Heights, is right in the line of battle. Caught up in the rising conflict, Annie and her mother tend to wounded soldiers while Annie's older brother, Laurence, enlists in the Confederate cavalry under JEB Stuart.

Buy Annie, Between the States

Flying South

Age Level: 9-12

In the sticky-hot summer of 1968, a year in American history marked by assassination, Vietnam War protests, and civil rights rioting, Alice faces some trying concerns of her own.

Buy Flying South

A Troubled Peace

Age Level: 12-14

This is a sequel to Under a War-torn Sky, which was based on the fact that some soldiers do have heart-stopping surprise homecomings. WWII is over and Hank (aka Henry Forester) has returned home but struggles to tame his memories of the war and re-calibrate himself to civilian life.

Buy A Troubled Peace