An enthralling journey interwoven with historical realities.

OPHIE’S GHOSTS

A 12-year-old Black girl in 1920s Georgia learns she has the ability to commune with ghosts—and goes on to help solve a mysterious death.

Ophelia “Ophie” Harrison was startled awake by her father’s urgently telling her to grab their emergency money, wake her mother, and escape to the woods—just before White men came and burned their house to the ground. The next morning, she found out those same men had already murdered her father; what she had seen was his ghost. Her mother, dealing with her own grief and their new reality, is not ready to hear of Ophie’s talent, so after they move north to live with Aunt Rose and her family in Pittsburgh, Ophie is forced to keep quiet about it. She longs to attend school but starts working with her mother at Daffodil Manor, home to one of the city’s wealthiest families, so that they can save up for their own place. She soon discovers that ghosts fill the manor; one in particular, Clara, helps her satisfy the demands of the curmudgeonly old White lady who is their employer. In return, Ophie is determined to find out how Clara died. Once again, Ireland weaves together the fantastical with historical realities that Black Americans have faced. Ophie’s optimistic personality and the intrigue-filled story will keep pages turning all the way to the satisfying conclusion.

An enthralling journey interwoven with historical realities. (Paranormal mystery. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-291589-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit...

NUMBER THE STARS

The author of the Anastasia books as well as more serious fiction (Rabble Starkey, 1987) offers her first historical fiction—a story about the escape of the Jews from Denmark in 1943.

Five years younger than Lisa in Carol Matas' Lisa's War (1989), Annemarie Johansen has, at 10, known three years of Nazi occupation. Though ever cautious and fearful of the ubiquitous soldiers, she is largely unaware of the extent of the danger around her; the Resistance kept even its participants safer by telling them as little as possible, and Annemarie has never been told that her older sister Lise died in its service. When the Germans plan to round up the Jews, the Johansens take in Annemarie's friend, Ellen Rosen, and pretend she is their daughter; later, they travel to Uncle Hendrik's house on the coast, where the Rosens and other Jews are transported by fishing boat to Sweden. Apart from Lise's offstage death, there is little violence here; like Annemarie, the reader is protected from the full implications of events—but will be caught up in the suspense and menace of several encounters with soldiers and in Annemarie's courageous run as courier on the night of the escape. The book concludes with the Jews' return, after the war, to homes well kept for them by their neighbors.

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit of riding alone in Copenhagen, but for their Jews. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1989

ISBN: 0547577095

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1989

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Remarkable.

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  • IndieBound Bestseller

  • Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature Honor Book

PRAIRIE LOTUS

A “half-Chinese and half-white” girl finds her place in a Little House–inspired fictional settler town.

After the death of her Chinese mother, Hanna, an aspiring dressmaker, and her White father seek a fresh start in Dakota Territory. It’s 1880, and they endure challenges similar to those faced by the Ingallses and so many others: dreary travel through unfamiliar lands, the struggle to protect food stores from nature, and the risky uncertainty of establishing a livelihood in a new place. Fans of the Little House books will find many of the small satisfactions of Laura’s stories—the mouthwatering descriptions of victuals, the attention to smart building construction, the glorious details of pleats and poplins—here in abundance. Park brings new depth to these well-trodden tales, though, as she renders visible both the xenophobia of the town’s White residents, which ranges in expression from microaggressions to full-out assault, and Hanna’s fight to overcome it with empathy and dignity. Hanna’s encounters with women of the nearby Ihanktonwan community are a treat; they hint at the whole world beyond a White settler perspective, a world all children deserve to learn about. A deeply personal author’s note about the story’s inspiration may leave readers wishing for additional resources for further study and more clarity about her use of Lakota/Dakota. While the cover art unfortunately evokes none of the richness of the text and instead insinuates insidious stereotypes, readers who sink into the pages behind it will be rewarded.

Remarkable. (Historical fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-328-78150-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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