THE UNSIGNED VALENTINE

AND OTHER EVENTS IN THE LIFE OF EMMA MEADE

Hurwitz continues her early 20th-century series begun in Faraway Summer (1998), focusing on Emma’s coming-of-age year when she turns 16. It is one year later as Emma records life on her Vermont farm and small community from early fall through a harsh winter into early spring. Weaving in and around certain true historical events of the area, Emma’s story is one of hard work, responsibility and a budding romance—all amid family needs and parental expectations through a long drought season followed by a dangerously wet destructive spring flood. As in the previous installment, Hurwitz renders a fine look into the era and setting in her easy, smooth writing style, peppered with the dilemmas of a young woman’s role within society and family, her intrigue about courtship and jealousy and the perils of Vermont blizzards. An author’s note provides a nice explanation and rationale for her approach to the story’s events. Azarian’s black-and-white illustrations complement the overall mood. (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-056053-3

Page Count: 176

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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Poignant, respectful, and historically accurate while pulsating with emotional turmoil, adventure, and suspense.

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REFUGEE

In the midst of political turmoil, how do you escape the only country that you’ve ever known and navigate a new life? Parallel stories of three different middle school–aged refugees—Josef from Nazi Germany in 1938, Isabel from 1994 Cuba, and Mahmoud from 2015 Aleppo—eventually intertwine for maximum impact.

Three countries, three time periods, three brave protagonists. Yet these three refugee odysseys have so much in common. Each traverses a landscape ruled by a dictator and must balance freedom, family, and responsibility. Each initially leaves by boat, struggles between visibility and invisibility, copes with repeated obstacles and heart-wrenching loss, and gains resilience in the process. Each third-person narrative offers an accessible look at migration under duress, in which the behavior of familiar adults changes unpredictably, strangers exploit the vulnerabilities of transients, and circumstances seem driven by random luck. Mahmoud eventually concludes that visibility is best: “See us….Hear us. Help us.” With this book, Gratz accomplishes a feat that is nothing short of brilliant, offering a skillfully wrought narrative laced with global and intergenerational reverberations that signal hope for the future. Excellent for older middle grade and above in classrooms, book groups, and/or communities looking to increase empathy for new and existing arrivals from afar.

Poignant, respectful, and historically accurate while pulsating with emotional turmoil, adventure, and suspense. (maps, author’s note) (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: July 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-88083-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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An outstanding new edition of this popular modern classic (Newbery Award, 1961), with an introduction by Zena Sutherland and...

ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS

Coming soon!!

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1990

ISBN: 0-395-53680-4

Page Count: -

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2000

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