Mirror Image by Barbara Held
Middle Grade Historical Fiction, 95 pages
Published in 2020
Reviewed by Bibi Belford, website: www.bibibelford.com
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 12x12 Picture Book Writing Challenge.
Wisconsin Writers Association
Copyright © 2022. All rights reserved.