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
A novel about Malcolm X during his teen years, as his family is broken apart by his father's murder and his mother's mental breakdown. This fictionalized account of Malcolm Little life before he becomes Malcolm X is told by a daughter with the help of author Magoon. The time period runs from the Great Depression to 1945 and moves from Lansing to Harlem and Boston, and ultimately to prison. Fourteen and Up. Kathie Weinberg.
Three intertwined stories of music, a harmonica and dealing with difficult situations and one more story about the magic underlying all. The first story is set in Nazi Germany, the second in Phil. in 1935,the third in Calif in 1942. Prejudice affects Fritz and Ivy, poverty is the curse of Mike and Frankie. Their stories draw the reader in, the cliff hanger ending of each leaves lots of questions, the resolutions, while a bit improbable, will be very satisfying to middle school readers. Ten to Fourteen. Edie Ching.
Dodger, 17, survives in nineteenth century London by scouring its sewers for jewels. When he sees a girl desperately flee from a horse-drawn carriage trying to escape captors, he takes action that leads him to encounters with Sweeney Todd, Charles Dickens, and Benjamin Disraeli. Stephen Briggs brilliantly conveys the sorrow, dry humor, and danger in this historical fantasy. (14 up)
In 1958, 12-year-old Marlee's forbidden friend, fearless Lizzie, helps her find her own voice in concert with the adults around her who have been quietly acquiescent to the battle against integration that closed high schools in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1958. The novel’s verbal power offers a viable alternative for Julia Whelan’s uniquely voiced and perfectly-timed audio narration. (10-14)
Note: Renominated for new narrator -- Twelve-year-old Abilene has just been sent to live in the town where her father grew up. A drifter since childhood, he doesn't have any living relatives, but for a time, he found a home in Manifest, Kansas. Though upset about being sent away, Abilene takes the opportunity to dig into her dad's (and the town's) storied past. Jenna Lamia's young voice suits Abilene and the story's other characters while the use of multiple narrators helps listeners keep track of the story as it jumps between 1936 and 1918. Audio. Colleen Beaupre
This fictional account of Manjiro, the 14-year-old Japanese boy whom whalers rescued in 1841, is filled with hardship and adventure as well as an outsider's perspective on nineteen-century American culture. Gritty details and authentic illustrations evoke the period.