The Latest In Progress
Gordon Parks is a biography about his early life and how he came across the field of photography. The pictures are excellent and are paired with simple sentences great for early grade nonfiction. The pictures are very realistic, and in my opinion the pictures could stand alone. Ages 7-10 Nominated by Stephanie Jarvais
After Denmark surrendered to the Germans in 1940 a group of teen-aged boys took it upon themselves to harass the occupying army, carrying on a campaign that escalated into some serious sabotage and galvanized resistance efforts in that country. Hoose’s research includes a week-long set of interviews with one of the group’s leaders, one of the few club members still alive. These were young teens living in Odense and Aalborg, one only 14. They were determined to resist even if the grown-ups around them had acquiesced to the occupation. This terrific story is engagingly written, full of lively incidents and with appropriate suspense. Although their fears are addressed, the general tone is upbeat and positive, with a teenager’s sense of justice and invincibility. The necessary background woven in smoothly and there will be extensive back matter. (14 and up, but really 12 and up) K. Isaacs
Realism and the supernatural serve to tell the story of two teen girls. One has been convicted of murder and incarcerated in a juvenile detention center, and one is a ballerina with a bright future as she heads to Juilliard. This story is being told through the voices of both of these girls. The supernatural element comes as the reader realizes that the story is being told in different time periods too. Beyond the story is a look at inequities of the criminal justice system. Fourteen and Up. Kathie Weinberg
Nate and Gen are true outsiders in their small Florida town. Nate is a scrawny, nerdy kid who has never had a lucky day in his life and Gen is a brilliant young girl with all the accompanying idiosyncrasies. Nate's luck changes when he gets hit by lightning on his 11th birthday. It's good luck he survived and it's good luck from then on in everything he does. This novel is well written, funny, and the characters welcome you into their small, crazy little world and make you comfortable right away. This is an ideal read for this age group and even adults will believe that lightning can strike twice by the end. Seven to Ten.
Old dragon Miss Drake has a new pet, a most precocious young girl, Winnie. Of course, if you ask Winnie, Miss Drake is her pet. No matter, this whimsical story of Winnie a great sketch artist whose fabulous sketches come to life and if not corralled will cause havoc in San Francisco make for a most entertaining story. The voices are just right for the different characters and they hold you captive. Ages 7-10 Family listening. Maria E. Gentle
The evacuation of an abused, crippled child to the Kent countryside during the Battle of Britain provides her with mobility (crutches and a pony she teaches herself to ride) and restores her sanity. Ada’s anger and determination get her out of the flat where she’d been hidden for ten years; her clubfoot untreated. Grimy and malnourished, she and her little brother Jamie are placed with grieving Miss Smith – not a “nice” person, by her own account, but one who comes to love them. These children know nothing. Neither has ever been to school. Their ignorance and their learning is part of the stuff of the story, but there’s also their gradual warming up to their new guardian, and the increasingly serious war around them. Ada’s first-person narration is honest and sometimes heartbreaking. The ending - with the house destroyed - is still hopeful because they have become a family. It’s unlikely, yes, but appropriate for the intended readers.Ten to Fourteen (but really 8-12). K. Isaacs