A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Narrator and time-traveler Mira visits Rome at the turn of the 17th century. She learns -- and educates readers -- about Renaissance artists (particularly Caravaggio), philosophy, and science. She also encounters injustices toward Jews and free thinkers of the time, and inwardly explores eternal issues of faith, prejudice, and narrow mindedness.
The message of both of Marissa Moss' Mira's Diary books is that, for good or ill, the past has much to teach us about ourselves and our world. There are also strong messages in Home Sweet Rome about tolerance and religious freedom.
Positive Role Models
Monsignore Del Monte shows the impact one person can make, as a patron of Caravaggio and a protector of Bruno Giordano's writings.
Violence & Scariness
In the most violent scene in this book, Mira witnesses a philosopher --condemned for espousing ideas that are considered anti-church -- being burned at the stake. She describes the smell of him burning and the sound of onlookers cheering. Mira is grabbed and handled roughly by police after she hurls a water jug at policemen.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
In a tavern, waitresses flirt suggestively with male patrons.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
In the year 1600, Mira is taken to a tavern where adult men drink beer and wine. She says the place smells like stale beer.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Mira's Diary: Home Sweet Rome is the second book in the Mira's Diary series. This time, 14-year-old time-traveler Mira Levin goes to Rome around the year 1600 and visits a Jewish ghetto, where she encounters the prejudice and narrow-mindedness that fueled the Inquisition. She inwardly explores complex philosophical and scientific ideas as a result. Though some of the concepts Mira touches on may be over the heads of middle-grade readers, those kids can certainly follow Mira's suspenseful adventure with interest and understand the essential concepts of fairness and freedom of expression that are at issue. Cruelty to children can be especially upsetting to young readers, so some kids may be disturbed by the inhuman conditions Mira endures when she's thrown in jail (rats, wormy gruel to eat, despair). There's also a scene where a man who was previously jailed for expressing controversial ideas is burned at the stake. In a tavern scene, men drink beer and wine and waitresses flirt suggestively with their male patrons.
Is It Any Good?
Marissa Moss' second Mira's Diary novel is as ambitious and suspenseful as the first, and teaches much about great Italian art and architecture as well as the history of scientific thought. Whereas some of the ideas and historical background may be over young readers' heads to varying degrees, the book can be enjoyed on a variety of levels. Some readers may simply be gripped the suspenseful story; others may like digging deep into the problem of why the 16th-century Roman Catholic church considered scientists their enemies. This is an exciting, eye-opening adventure story that will appeal especially to young art lovers, budding scientists, and history buffs.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.