|Mirror Image by Barbara Held
Middle Grade Historical Fiction, 95 pages Published in 2020
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 Crushed, The Gift, Crossing 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]>
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!
It has been quite a while since I’ve posted anything on my website. For all of you followers who might be keeping track, I’m sorry for my lack of input. I have been writing–just not posting anything lately. I will try harder to add items in 2023.
For a little bit of any update; I have decided I’m not the kind of writer that can ignore everything else in my life. Over the years, I’ve heard people say your house doesn’t need to be so clean-let it go. Spend some time every day writing a little. My life is full of other things besides writing and so, I don’t always have time to write. I enjoy spending time with friends and family. I am involved in our church and am a volunteer through Neighbor to Neighbor, a county organization that helps the elderly. I enjoy getting together to play Mah Jongg with friends, trying hard to keep my brain functioning. My husband and I spend time playing cribbage and farkel, usually every day, and I try to help with shoveling (we’ve had a LOT of snow this year). And also, too, I am not as young as I use to be and so get tired sooner than I would like.
And, I have been writing. I am working on another time travel. This one is about a young boy who is dealing with a bully. He is somehow transported back in time to a ranch in 1884. Because of his grandpa’s stories, he loves the ranch; understands more what his grandpa was trying to tell him. But, the boy comes in contact with two more bullies. He can’t seem to get away from them. I am close to finishing the first draft and am sharing the story with two writers groups. As you may know, the editing portion takes time and so I am plugging along, hoping to have a new book out in 2023.
Blessings to all of you for a wonderful New Year.
If I could paint, I’d paint the sky.
I’d paint an eagle soaring high.
I’d paint a sunset’s golden hues
Red and orange, yellow, blues.
I’d paint the mountain’s snowy caps.
I’d paint some beagles taking naps.
I’d paint the trees in spring and fall.
I’d paint the beauty—paint it all.
But since I cannot paint at all.
I guess I’ll have to paint a wall.
Copywrite by Barb Held
To All –
I am praying for you. Yes, all of you. I believe we are all God’s children, which makes you my brothers and sisters.
My parents had four daughters and three sons (one who died at birth). We are a close family and I wish that for all of you.
I pray that God’s love will reach all of you this Christmas Day. May you feel His love – His hope – His peace and
the Joy that comes from knowing you are a child of God.
I pray your 2022 will be filled with all good things. That you will find the Comfort God gives in hard times and the
Joy in good times. And, His Peace in all times. May His love fill your heart this Christmas season and throughout 2022.
And may you share that love with everyone, everywhere, whenever you can.
In reading my daily devotionals, I came across the following. It seemed appropriate to share in this difficult time.
You say,” I am allowed to do anything” –but not everything is helpful.
You say, “I am allowed to do anything”– but not everything is beneficial.
Don’t think only of your own good. Think of other Christians and what is best for them.
1 Corinthians 10: 23-24 (Life Application Study Bible)
Let’s remember to look to the Bible for answers, to pray to God for guidance.
May God bless you all.
Mom gave me the following poem written by my Great Grandma Elida Worman. Mom thought it was written when she was a child because she remembers the log cabin Grandma writes about. Mom was born in 1930 and so this was a long time ago. I have not changed the poem and there was no title.
In a little log cabin quite cozy and neat, she sits by the fireside, toasting her feet.
Toasting her feet as she rocks to and fro, thinking of things that occurred long ago.
She’s thinking of days when her children were small. Her husband was robust and handsome and tall.
And she used to walk with a spring in her step but lately the years have claimed most of her pep.
Thus runs the memories, both bitter and sweet, as she sits by the fireside, toasting her feet.
But soon she awakes from her lone reverie and knows it is soon time to be brewing the tea.
And fixing the meal for her tired, hungry spouse, who’ll soon wend his way to the little log-house.
His axe on his shoulder, his cap drawn close, the cold wind is biting his cheeks, chin and nose.
Soon he’ll be stamping the snow from his feet and calling-“Mother, when do we eat?”
She turns from her work at the range with a smile. Says “T’won’t be long-you just rest for awhile.
I’ll take up the taters, the gravy and meat, bread butter and jam, maybe pie for a treat.
He takes off his mittens, his coat and his cap and washes his face while they merrily chat.
They finally sit down to eat their lone meal. The cheer they would feign is a far cry from real.
For they once knew the joy of a family not gone. Like others, they’ve drifted both hither and yon.
Now in their lonliness they think of the past and wonder why home-ties on earth cannot last.
The evening meal over, he goes to do chores, feeding the stock and closing up doors.
Seeing that windows and cracks are made tight to shut out the draft of a cold winter’s night.
His evening chores finished he turns to go back to his wife who is waiting in the little log shack.
He fills up his pipe and takes off his shoes and turns on the radio to get the late news.
Her dishes are done and all put away and soon they’ll be ready to call it a day!
Smarty Pants Magazine, an on line magazine, has bought my children’s story The Big Red Thing. It is scheduled to be read on their site on May 16, 2021.
Hope you can tune in to listen to this story about two mice who solve the mystery of The Big Red Thing.
My Dad told me when he was about four years old, he got a cowboy outfit for Christmas.
The following is inspired by his story.
He was a short cowboy, about four feet tall.
His hair was dark, as were his eyes, along with mischief lurking there.
He wore his cowboy get-up, black hat and cowboy boots.
Holster and toy pistol on his hip.
Standing on the fence, he lassoed a cow around her neck.
Wrapped the rope around a fence post.
Thing was—when the cow moved,
So did the fence.
That cowboy was in deep doo-doo.
Copywrite by Barb Held
A mother’s kind word and a pat on the head
Or reading to children just before bed
A father’s quick hug or a kiss on the cheek
Spending some time playing hide and go seek
Baking cookies with Grandma while singing a song
Books read by Grandpa all the day long
A comforting hand when someone is sad
Or a spank on the butt when someone is bad
A special connection ‘tween husband and wife
Sharing and caring through all of their life
When a husband will grill or mop up a floor
Will vacuum, do dishes, cleans bathrooms and more
Checking on shut-ins is not a hard task
Staying your distance and wearing your mask
It’s a word or a smile wherever you go.
Be kind to your neighbor. Let your love show.
Love is a noun but can be a verb too,
It’s great when you say it but better to do.
Copyright by Barb Held
Springbrook Author Launches Mirror Image
Barbara Held of Springbrook, Wisconsin, recently released Mirror Image a historical fiction time travel adventure for middle grade children.
“I’ve always loved writing,” said Held. “I started writing poetry when I was about eleven.” Over time, she wrote picture books (in verse) for some family members that her mom then illustrated. Later Held took classes through the Institute of Children’s Literature. During one of those classes, a first draft of the historical fiction fantasy began developing into Mirror Image.
The inspiration for Mirror Image came from Held’s time as a child spent on her grandparents’ farm in Redmound, Wisconsin. Because time travel has always intrigued Held, it seemed fitting to combine both in this chapter book for preteens.
Twelve-year-old reader Joanna stated, “I loved it!” Hannah, age 9, said, “I really enjoyed the book. I really enjoyed the time travel.” Area author, Sally Bair, says, “Barb Held’s book, “Mirror Image,” will be a hit with kids—and adults—who enjoy stories about time travel. The transitions between jumps in time are smooth, the characters exude with emotion, and the historical facts about life in each time segment are accurate. I give it a thumbs up rating.”
Held’s book is available at Northwind Book & Fiber-Spooner, Nordic
Northwoods-Hayward, Redbery Books-Cable and Held’s website barbheld.com.
This book would make a perfect, long lasting, wholesome gift for preteens, as wells as teens.
“I know this is going to sound crazy, but it’s true. I’m not Julie. I didn’t fall out of a tree and lose my memory. I’m Jennifer. I was pulled into my bathroom mirror at home in 2009, and ended up here in 1958 and everyone thinks I’m Julie, but I’m not.”