Mira’s Diary: Home Sweet Rome

  • Review
By – November 8, 2013

Mira, a spir­it­ed and adven­tur­ous Jew­ish girl, is intro­duced in Lost in Paris where she real­izes that, like her moth­er, she has the gift of being able to time trav­el. When Mira receives a cryp­tic post­card that has a pic­ture of the Colos­se­um, she under­stands that her moth­er is giv­ing her clues to her next adven­ture and Mira tells her father they must trav­el to Rome to try to find her! In Italy, while sight­see­ing in the beau­ti­ful church of San­ta Maria degli Angeli with her broth­er Mal­colm, Mira is pulled back into six­teenth-cen­tu­ry Rome and the real quest begins! Dis­guised as a boy, Mira trav­els under the name of Mar­co and works in the kitchen of Mon­signore Del Monte chop­ping veg­eta­bles and learn­ing how to kill a chick­en! Through her asso­ci­a­tion with this promi­nent fam­i­ly, Mira is intro­duced to the amaz­ing artists of the time such as Car­ravaggio, who uses her as a mod­el, the divine astronomer, Galileo, and the famed math­ematician, Gior­dano Bruno, who is des­tined to burn as a heretic. As the back­ground of the Inqui­si­tion unfolds, Mira men­tions her unease about the way the Jews of Rome are treat­ed. When Mira’s work in Rome is done, she trav­els back into the present for good, hav­ing learned life lessons about tol­er­ance and know­ing that her inter­ac­tions with Bruno helped him remain strong through his impris­on­ment, thus allow­ing his knowl­edge to remain intact for future generations.

Part mys­tery, part his­tor­i­cal fic­tion, this is an engag­ing and fun adven­ture sto­ry. Mira is a pre­co­cious, larg­er than life char­ac­ter, who embraces every expe­ri­ence she can! Although this sto­ry stands alone as a sep­a­rate nov­el, read­ers will have a bet­ter insight into Mira, her fam­i­ly, and her Jew­ish her­itage if they read the pre­ced­ing nov­el, as well. The end­ing, left with sev­er­al unan­swered threads, is wide open for a third title in the series. 

With a won­der­ful bib­li­og­ra­phy, a great map of Rome, and detailed thumbprint ink illus­tra­tions through­out the text, this would be a valu­able source for a geog­ra­phy lesson. 

Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 9 and up.

Debra Gold has been a children’s librar­i­an for over 20 years in the Cuya­hoga Coun­ty Pub­lic Library Sys­tem. An active mem­ber of the ALA, she has served on many com­mit­tees includ­ing the Calde­cott, New­bery and Batchelder committees.

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