In her new book, Jefferson's Sons, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley does something truly remarkable. She takes a complicated and controversial idea, that Thomas Jefferson had children by his slave Sally Hemmings, and writes about it in a simple, eloquent way that children can understand.
This book is definitely for advanced readers. The themes it tackles are complex and readers need a working knowledge of early US history to understand the world that Beverly, Harriet, Madison, and Eston live in. The story does not shy away from the horrors of slavery - families are broken apart, friends are sold, and slaves who run away are punished when they are caught. However, by presenting the book from the perspectives of children, Bradley is able to convey her story without graphic details.
This book is generating a lot of Newbery buzz for its honesty and the high quality of its storytelling. There is a recomended reading list at the back of the book, and Bradley writes an afterword in which she details how she did her research and where she located most of her information (in primary sources from Monticello.org).
I would recomend that parents read this book themselves if they have a child who would like to check it out, as it is a tale likely to generate a large amount of discussion.
Further reviews can be found here , here, and here. Highly recomended for children 9+.