In elementary school I enjoyed Elizabeth George Speare's The Witch of Blackbird Pond and The Sign of the Beaver, but did not read her 1962 Newberry Medal winner, The Bronze Bow, until it was introduced to me in college. Admittedly, when I learned it was historical fiction, set in the time of Jesus Christ, I felt a bit skeptical. As a Christian who had only read about Jesus in the scriptures, I wasn't sure I'd be comfortable with a fictional portrayal of Christ. But I ended up loving it, and whole-heartedly recommend it to you.
Here is a synopsis, directly from the book cover, to give you a taste: "After witnessing his father's crucifixion by Roman soldiers, Daniel bar Jamin is fired by a single passion: to avenge his father's death by driving the Roman legions from the land of Israel. Consumed by hatred, Daniel joins the brutal raids of an outlaw band living in the hills outside his village. Though his grandmother's death slows his plans by forcing him to move home to care for his sister, he continues his dangerous life by leading a group of boy guerrillas in spying and plotting, impatiently waiting to take revenge. In nearby Capernaum, a rabbi is teaching a different lesson. Time and again Daniel is drawn to the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, only to turn away, disappointed and confused by Jesus's lack of action in opposing the Romans. Devoid of tenderness and forgiveness, headstrong Daniel is also heedless of the loyalty of his friend Joel; the love of Joel's sister, Malthace; and the needs of his own disturbed sister, Leah, dragging them down his destructive path toward disaster."
I thought this a nice choice for March--the month leading up to Easter. I think it would be a perfect book to read in preparation for that holiday. Regardless of your religious or spiritual leanings though, this book is a great read. It is a beautiful, poignant story of love overcoming anger. Well-written and thought-provoking, The Bronze Bow is a book that will move you.