Books for AG Fans – St Patrick’s Day Edition

Nory Ryan's SongMy daughter has converted me into a historical literature fan.  It all started long ago reading “Addy” and “Josefina” on the couch together.  Today I work in reading instruction at an elementary school and discover all sorts of fabulous fiction at work.

Nory RyanIf you enjoy American Girl historical fiction, I recommend the book Nory Ryan’s Song.  Nory is 12 years old and lives through the first year of the Irish Potato Blight of 1845.  Nory has many traits in common with our favorite historical AGs: tenacity, bravery, caretaking, intergenerational relationships, and healing.  I have to admit that I always wondered why the Irish didn’t fish in the sea when the potatoes failed.  This book explains how truly trapped the Irish were by the English landowners.

I recommend the book for 4th grade and up.  There is nothing inappropriate in the book, but younger readers may not understand the complicated tangle of problems the Irish faced.  The book was so compelling that my husband read it too!

Nory Ryan’s Song has two fantastic sequels that follow Nory through her life.  I recommend them all.

The author, Patricia Reilly Giff, based the book loosely on her on family’s history.  Ms. Giff came to writing as a second career after being a teacher for many years.

I would love to create my own doll based on Nory, and hope some day to locate a doll needing a new wig that might be transformed into Nory.  Until then, Saige will play along.

Saige as Nory Ryan.  The red ribbon and stone wall are elements in the book.

Saige as Nory Ryan. The red ribbon and stone wall are elements in the book.

5 thoughts on “Books for AG Fans – St Patrick’s Day Edition

  1. ADayLateADollShort

    Sounds like a great book! I hope you’ll give lots of book recommendations. I haven’t made any book characters yet, but I’m constantly tempted!


    1. Jen @ Dolls Between Us Post author

      You can count on the book recommendations! Nory Ryan was one of those books that would tempt me away from my work at home “just for 5 min” of reading.
      I don’t make a lot as a reading aide, but the books! That’s worth at least another few dollars an hour 😃


  2. Flo

    I will have to check this book out, I remember seeing the “ruins” of some of the abandoned cottages in Western Ireland. It’s such a rugged area, as I said to my husband “if I’d lived here during the famine, I would have left too.” A good movie to watch that gives you an idea of conditions too is “The Field”–I’ll warn you, it’s a horribly depressing story (worse than “Angela’s Ashes”), but you do get the idea of how oppressed some of these folks were.


    1. Jen @ Dolls Between Us Post author

      Oh, you would really enjoy this book! After reading the books I was so ready to go to Ireland. Between Steve Earle and going to Ireland, do you by chance get Sirius satellite radio “Celtic Crush” show on Sat am with Larry Kerwin from Black 47?
      I will check out that movie… I hadn’t heard of it.


      1. Flo

        No, we let our Sirius subscription go when I quit working, I wasn’t in my car enough to use it LOL! Sounds interesting though.

        We found out about “The Field” because we went on a day tour, and the first potty/something to drink stop was in the town of Leenane, and that was where the movie was filmed. They had all sorts of pictures of the filming in the pub we went to, so that got our curiosity up about it. It has a very young Sean Bean and Richard Harris in it.


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