You can learn a lot about writing from author interviews like this. Especially if you've read and reviewed the book carefully. Rita Williams-Garcia's novel for young readers really intrigued me. Historical fiction at its very best. So to read how she used her research to fill in the pieces, just enough to give the book its flavor yet not overwhelm, check that great post over at Story Sleuths, which is a blog worth following if you've ever wondered just how writers put their thoughts together.
Here's a bit of my take on the novel.
Rita Williams-Garcia’s knowledge of the period is extensive. Her ability to describe this remarkable time and place (1968 Oakland, California) so that young readers understand the circumstances surrounding the Black Panthers and the American political climate is pitch perfect. Her child-friendly references— from President Kennedy to Cassius Clay to Mighty Mouse— make the story wondrous. This is historical fiction at its very best.
You can read more of what I had to say by following this link to my review in the Christian Science Monitor or to Joyce Moyer Hostetter's blog about history and how the stories are told.