The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg published in 2009 almost begins too scary, but humor finds a way in to help lighten the serious subject of the Civil War. As an educator, this book would make a great catalyst for a query and research project. Rodman touches on technology and weapons that were being introduced during that time period, battles fought, carnival side shows, mining, the underground railroad, rules of conscription, and many other topics that are interesting to young minds. I can imagine many different presentations by students beginning with this one little 217 page book.
The story moves quickly and isn't as depressing as My Brother Sam Is Dead, and both are Newbery Honor books.