Saturday, May 9, 2009

Stonewall Hinkelman blog tour 2009--Last Stop!

This blog post is part of the Stonewall’s Blog Tour. The master link will guide you to other parts of the tour. You can win prizes courtesy of Dial Books For Young Readers: the Stonewall Hinkleman Prize Pack contains a signed copy of Stonewall Hinkleman & The Battle of Bull Run, a t-shirt just like Stonewall wears on the cover, plus advance copies of other Dial Books for Young Readers titles. To enter, send an email to and put "Stonewall Contest" in the subject line.

Today I’m excited to participate in the Stonewall Hinkleman and the Battle of Bull Run blog tour. See, our old pal Sam Riddleburger, author of The Qwikpick Adventure Society, got together with his friend Mike Hemphill and wrote a time traveling romp romp of a book. It’s awesome, great fun, with great characters, great action and adventure, and if you aren’t careful, you just might learn you some Civil War history.

Young Stonewall Hinkleman is the son of avid Civil War re-enactors, and so of course he hates all things Civil War. But he wishes he’d paid more attention to his parent’s obsession when a magic bugle transports him back to the Battle of Bull Run, where he has to stop a mad plot to change history!

Um, hang on. Before I go on: have you clicked on the link above? The other stops on this tour? Hokey Majokey—what a great bunch of posts! And here I am, coming in at the end, and a little late at that. I wish I could go back in time, see what was coming, and write some totally awesome post that I could then post on time. On blogger, you can kind of rig going back in time…I used to. If I was late posting to the little shop blog, I would change the posting date and time so it would look like I had posted on time. But then I got in trouble with the blogger powers-that-be.

Time travel is a compelling idea, and we can never quite shake its power. Anybody watch Lost? Time travel , hinted at for seasons on end, has suddenly leapt crazily to the fore. Here’s a whole bunch of posts about time travel kidslit: she calls it Timeslip Tuesday! When I was a kid, one of my favorite series was Simon Hawke’s Time Wars books. In the series, agents of a time-monitoring agency traveled through time trying to ensure that radical anarchists didn’t forever change the timeline.

The strange thing about that series, looking back on it as an adult, is the basic underlying question of history—is it sacrosanct? Is history larger than us? I mean what’s so important about what happened in the past that we would never want to change it? And that’s part of what I like so much about Stonewall Hinkleman: the book asks those big questions. I mean, Stonewall doesn’t struggle to preserve what happened at Bull Run because “that’s what happened.” No, he wants to make sure that battle and the whole of the Civil War is won by the Union because the alternative would be catastrophic—wrong and terrible in a very real way to Stonewall.

In one of my other blogging hats, I write for the teen boy’s book blog, Guys Lit Wire, and several months ago I reviewed a book by Terry Bisson called Fire on the Mountain. What is so breathtaking about this book is that it imagines an alternate history, one where the Civil War was not as we know it, but a true slave uprising, a revolution instead. And the result was a South completely unlike the one in which we live—In its stead stands a Neo Africa, a monument to world peace and knowledge. In Fire on the Mountain, Terry Bisson has imagined a utopian world that might have been, and as a consequence the book causes us to question those things we hold onto as “meant to be,” simply because that’s the way things happened.

So Stonewall Hinkelman? This kid who is thrown back in time and finds himself to be the only one able to save the future from the terrible forces of hatred, bigotry, ignorance, and the inevitable march of history? He could care less about making sure that everything works out “exactly as it should.” He has nothing invested in history for its own sake, or nostalgia. Instead, he’s busting his tail trying to do what he thinks is right. And there’s no “grandfather law,” no Unchanging Laws of Time and the Universe making sure that whatever happened, always happened.

So he does end up changing history. Not in any huge, re-write the history books kind of way—but in a very human, personal way. And isn’t that awesome? A book that says, “You may just be a kid with nothing but a bugle, but you can change history for the better?”

Oh, and it's got lots of laughs, that Stonewall Hinkleman and the Battle of Bull Run book. Did I mention that?

So now we come to the end of the Stonewall Hinkelman and the Battle of Bull Run blog tour. Thanks to Sam and Michael for letting me participate, and thanks to all the other bloggers for some great Stonewall posts. Don’t forget about the great contest I mentioned above—email Dial for the great book swag!

1 comment:

LindaBudz said...

Excellent final post! I'm going to miss this tour ....