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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Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun

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THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH

From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 1

It’s been 42 days since the Monster Apocalypse began, and 13-year-old Jack Sullivan, a self-proclaimed “zombie-fighting, monster-slaying tornado of cool” is on a quest to find and rescue his not-so-secret crush, June Del Toro, whether she needs it, wants it, or not.

Jack cobbles together an unlikely but endearing crew, including his scientist best friend, Quint Baker; Dirk Savage, Parker Middle School’s biggest bully; and a pet monster named Rover, to help him save the damsel in distress and complete the “ULTIMATE Feat of Apocalyptic Success.” Middle-grade readers, particularly boys, will find Jack’s pitch-perfect mix of humor, bravado, and self-professed geekiness impossible to resist. His sidekicks are equally entertaining, and it doesn’t hurt that there are also plenty of oozing, drooling, sharp-toothed monsters and zombies and a host of gizmos and gadgets to hook readers and keep them cheering with every turn of the page. Holgate’s illustrations play an integral role in the novel’s success. They not only bring Brallier’s characters to life, but also add depth and detail to the story, making plain just exactly how big Rover is and giving the lie to Jack’s “killer driving.” The marriage of text and illustration serves as a perfect example of what an illustrated novel can and should be.

Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun (. (Graphic/horror hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-670-01661-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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Though occasionally heavy-handed, this debut offers a vivid glimpse of the 1960s South through the eyes of a spirited girl...

GLORY BE

The closing of her favorite swimming pool opens 11-year-old Gloriana Hemphill’s eyes to the ugliness of racism in a small Mississippi town in 1964.

Glory can’t believe it… the Hanging Moss Community Pool is closing right before her July Fourth birthday. Not only that, she finds out the closure’s not for the claimed repairs needed, but so Negroes can’t swim there. Tensions have been building since “Freedom Workers” from the North started shaking up status quo, and Glory finds herself embroiled in it when her new, white friend from Ohio boldly drinks from the “Colored Only” fountain. The Hemphills’ African-American maid, Emma, a mother figure to Glory and her sister Jesslyn, tells her, “Don’t be worrying about what you can’t fix, Glory honey.” But Glory does, becoming an activist herself when she writes an indignant letter to the newspaper likening “hateful prejudice” to “dog doo” that makes her preacher papa proud. When she’s not saving the world, reading Nancy Drew or eating Dreamsicles, Glory shares the heartache of being the kid sister of a preoccupied teenager, friendship gone awry and the terrible cost of blabbing people’s secrets… mostly in a humorously sassy first-person voice.

Though occasionally heavy-handed, this debut offers a vivid glimpse of the 1960s South through the eyes of a spirited girl who takes a stand. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-33180-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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