Mirror Image by Barbara Held

Middle Grade Historical Fiction, 95 pages                 Published in 2020

Reviewed by Bibi Belford, website:

Chores. Jennifer hates doing them, and procrastinates, promising she’ll finish them tomorrow. But Mom is done being patient, and when Jennifer gets an impromptu invitation to her favorite band’s concert, she’s not allowed to go. She stares into the mirror, shocked and saddened. And that’s when it happens—she’s pulled through the mirror portal to a farm in 1958 to take the place of Julie.

After a few days learning how farmers do chores, Jennifer travels through another portal, back to 1902, to Josie’s home, where the hard tasks of early settlers make Jennifer’s life in 2009 seem like easy street. The author has woven a faith-based worldview throughout the novel—the characters pray, sing Amazing Grace in each time period, and Jennifer believes that God has caused the time travel for a reason.

In Mirror Image, readers will glimpse two settings in history, both well-researched, where the character, like Marty in Back to the Future, finds out their actions in the past will influence them in the future. During each trip backwards in time, Jennifer has amnesia, and the author uses the clever convention of having secondary characters give her instructions on how to do the chores in that time period.

Jennifer mentions events that will happen in the future—sharing cancer research about smoking to the farm family who grows tobacco, and progress in civil rights to the early settlers whose father fought in the Civil War.

Jennifer’s travels reframe her view on chores, and when she returns to 2009, she’s had an attitude adjustment. This sweet little novel will be enjoyed by kids who are fascinated by the way things used to be. It’s an easy, quick read, with a positive message.

Reviewer: Before becoming an author, Bibi Belford was a teacher, reading interventionist, and literacy coach. She has a BA in English and Education, an MA in Bilingual Literacy and writes Middle Grade books. She’s the author of Canned and CrushedThe GiftCrossing the Line (Christopher Award Winner), and Another D for DeeDee (Starred Kirkus review). When not writing, she loves traveling, grandkids, and living in Chicago. Bibi’s goal is to write books to encourage kids to be everyday heroes and make positive changes in the world around them. She’s a member of CWA, WWA, Author’s Guild, SCBWI, ACWF, and the 12×12 Picture Book Writing Challenge.


Hannah, age 9: “I really enjoyed the book. I really enjoyed the time travel.”

Joanna, age 12 said, “I loved it!”


Faith/Baker City, Oregon Library

Barbara: I found a copy of Mirror Image in my box with a note that your sister brought it as a donation to our library. I am so happy to add it to our shelves. I enjoyed reading it very much myself and will be happy to recommend it to students. Thank you, and I hope you will keep writing.


Ackley Library <[email protected]>

Hi Barb,

I just wanted to let you know that I just finished reading your book and I really enjoyed it! The different times were very believable as were Jennifer’s reactions. I especially liked the message you incorporated with it. To be thankful for the lives we are living is a message that many people need to hear, including young people.

Thank you again for reaching out to me and please let me know if you write any more books!

Katie, Director