My favorite of the 2015 Indian Paintbrush Nominees, Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby (Lexile: 670; Interest Level: Grades 3-6), is the story of Solveig, second daughter of a Viking king. She, her siblings, and several house servants and guards are sent to a hidden steaden, or fortress, between mountains and a frozen sea for the winter while her father is at war with another king. As the waters freeze them in, it becomes clear that there is a traitor in their midst. Someone is working for the enemy king. No one seems to know who to trust, but they must all trust each other in order to survive. During this time, Solveig becomes friends with the skald, or storyteller, who begins to teach her his craft. Can the siblings make good choices of whom to trust? Can the storytelling Solveig is learning really provide her with the power to save her friends and family?
This is an amazing mystery tale with many twists and turns as you wonder if each character is the one to fear, and it incorporates Norse mythology, storytelling, and Viking heroism in a very interesting way. Readers who enjoy reading the mythology stories of Rick Riordan may find this book interesting, as will those who enjoy a good mystery on a cold day. (324 pages)
One of the reasons I became an elementary school librarian is so I can read children's books.