True North - Kathryn Lasky Picked this one up because it looked good (Newberry bait -- did I just make up that term?), and because Kathryn Lasky also wrote the Owls of Ga'Hoole series.

...and, it was pretty darn good. Great children's fiction, dealing very frankly and bluntly with the realities of plantation slave life, and life in new england in the 1850s.

I enjoyed the characterization, the plot, and the pacing. I really think Kathryn Lasky is much better suited as an author to this type of fiction (historical, I guess? real-life?) rather than the weak fantasy that she was writing with the Owls of Ga'Hoole [again, see the movie, skip the books].

The only thing keeping this from being a 5-star review is that this isn't the type of thing I typically go for (oh-so-serious children's lit), but it's great if you're ready to read that type of thing.

Oh-- did I mention there was more than one reference to owls in this? I'd imagine that Ms. Lasky was beginning her owl research that eventually led to Ga'Hoole when she wrote this book (published 1996-- first Ga'Hoole books some time about 2003)