Books by William Durbin

DEAD MAN'S RAPIDS by William Durbin
Released: April 11, 2017

"Fine historical fiction that will successfully transport readers into an out-of-the-ordinary time and place. (Historical fiction. 10-14)"
In the north woods of 1899 Minnesota, young teens Ben and Nevers, both white, become the assistants to a quirky German immigrant, log-drive cook Sard, in this sequel to Blackwater Ben (2003). Read full book review >
THE WINTER WAR by William Durbin
Released: Feb. 12, 2008

"Those who stick with it will likely not forget this portrayal of maddening injustice and of the indomitability of the Finnish spirit during what history calls 'The Winter War.' (historical afterword, bibliography of sources for study) (Historical fiction. 12-15)"
Set in Finland during the 1939 Russian invasion, this recounts a little-known war. Read full book review >
EL LECTOR by William Durbin
Released: Feb. 14, 2006

"Filled with the uneasy spirit of Ybor City in 1931 with its emerging unions and immigrant workers, Bella's engaging story shows what can happen when people believe 'in the power of stories to enlighten and transform.' (afterword) (Fiction. 10+)"
A poor girl with a gift for storytelling refuses to surrender when her dreams and her family are threatened by labor unrest and political corruption during the Depression. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 2004

"Readers will learn an important side of 20th-century history as they root for Jake. (Fiction. 10-14)"
At the height of the Depression, when it seemed capitalism had failed, "Karelian fever" spread among Finnish-American communities in the northern US and Canada. Read full book review >
BLACKWATER BEN by William Durbin
Released: Nov. 11, 2003

"Careful research does not automatically equal a great story, and an afterword about logging in the United States still doesn't help this make the cut. (Fiction. 10-12)"
In the winter of 1898, Ben joins his father at a northern Minnesota logging camp. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2000

"A good choice for reluctant readers and an interesting counterpart to Our Only May Amelia (1999), which gives a girl's perspective of the Finnish immigrant experience. (historical note, photos) (Fiction. 9-14)"
The latest in this series of historical diaries recounts the story of Otto Peltonen, a Finnish boy who travels with his mother and two sisters to America in 1905 to join his father, who is already working in the iron mines of Minnesota. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 1999

In the My Name Is America series, Durbin (Wintering, 1999, etc.) offers the story of Sean Sullivan, whose first day in Omaha, Nebraska, brings him face to face with a victim of an Indian attack; the man survived, but carries his bloody scalp in a bucket. Read full book review >
WINTERING by William Durbin
Released: Jan. 1, 1999

"Although this story lacks the impact of the first one, it's well-written and atmospheric; with so many plot threads remaining, readers are almost assured of more adventures. (Fiction. 9-12)"
The young hero of Durbin's The Broken Blade (1997) returns in this engaging sequel. Read full book review >
THE BROKEN BLADE by William Durbin
Released: March 1, 1997

"Readers will embrace this unusual journey and its path to true bravery, strength of character, and self-reliance. (map, not seen) (Fiction. 10+)"
Durbin's first novel is an impressive coming-of-age tale set in Montreal at the dawn of the 19th century. Read full book review >