Books by Ann M. Martin

KAREN'S WITCH by Ann M. Martin
Released: Dec. 26, 2019

"Sure to bewitch fans new and old. (Graphic fiction. 6-10)"
Could a witch really live next door? Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 26, 2017

"A worthy addition to the series, albeit a bit more somber than its forerunners. (Graphic adaptation. 7-12)"
In the fifth installment of the graphic adaptation of the beloved series, one of the members of the Baby-Sitters Club copes with a family that's struggling through an acrimonious divorce. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 13, 2016

"Lacking some of the charm of the longer books, this introduction to the world of the Doll People will still cultivate younger fans. (Picture book. 4-7)"
The beloved Doll People series of novels for middle graders extends to a younger audience with this Christmas story. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 14, 2014

"Readers are guaranteed very smooth sailing. (not all final art seen) (Fantasy. 8-12)"
The Doll and Funcraft families are back—and the ocean's got 'em. Read full book review >
RAIN REIGN by Ann M. Martin
Released: Oct. 7, 2014

"There is no fluff here, just sophisticated, emotionally honest storytelling. (Fiction. 8-12)"
A story about honorable living in the autistic-narrator genre that sets the bar high. Read full book review >
THE LONG WAY HOME by Ann M. Martin
Released: Nov. 1, 2013

"Despite some wooden writing, Martin succeeds here by illuminating the fraught family relationships strained by separation, financial stress and individual aspiration. (Historical fiction. 8-12)"
Martin continues the multigenerational saga begun in Better to Wish (2013) with this second entry, spanning the years 1955-1971. Read full book review >
BETTER TO WISH by Ann M. Martin
Released: May 1, 2013

"Some threads—whither Orrin?—are left dangling. But the deftly rendered theme of personal resilience, laced with romance and Americana, will earn this a deservedly wide audience. (Historical fiction. 8-12)"
Martin delivers the first novel of a planned quartet, set to span four generations of daughters. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 2, 2012

"Here's hoping more unexpected good things are in store for the Littlefield family. (Fiction. 9-12)"
What starts out to be a bummer summer turns out well in retrospect. Read full book review >
BECAUSE OF SHOE  by Ann M. Martin
Released: June 5, 2012

"These amusing tales, all of them strong and distinct, total up to a nice, easily accessible package that will be a hit with dog lovers. (Short stories. 9-12)"
Nine brief, sometimes pithy short stories explore children's interactions with man's (and kids') best friend. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 27, 2011

"Martin has a gift for creating appealing characters in an atmosphere of caring and forgiveness. (Fiction. 9-12)"
New York City is the setting of Newbery Honor winner Martin's (A Corner of the Universe, 2002) latest, which deftly explores the discord between two sisters. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 2010

The Baby-Sitters Club returns! Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia and Stacey take turns describing the summer after sixth grade, before their club began. Kristy's mother's dates with Watson become more frequent, Mary Anne chafes at father's rules, Claudia gets a boyfriend and Stacey moves from New York to Stoneybrook. This prequel is smoothly integrated with the familiar series; the first three have been lightly brought up-to-date and will be reissued for a new generation of readers. During the summer Kristy deludes herself that her absentee father will take note of her 12th birthday; Mary Anne struggles to get permission to babysit on her own; Stacey describes how her best friend turned on her, after she developed diabetes; Claudia's focus on Frankie, a rising ninth grader whose usual friends are out of town, sets her at odds with old friends and even her sister. These family and friendship issues will be familiar to today's middle-grade girls, who will identify with at least one of the characters as closely as their mothers did. Book candy at its best. (Fiction. 8-12)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2009

In this poignant companion to A Dog's Life (2005), Martin pursues her story of two homeless puppies from male puppy Bone's perspective, adding canine-related stories from two boys, Charlie and Henry. When stray siblings Bone and Squirrel are separated, Bone is rescued by a young couple, becomes an elderly man's companion and eventually searches for a home. After Charlie's older brother RJ falls from a tree and dies, his mom suffers a breakdown and his dad withdraws, leaving Charlie to grieve with RJ's dog Sunny until another accident strikes. Eleven-year-old Henry's parents won't let him have a dog. When his best pal moves away, Henry renews his plea, but to no avail. Bone autobiographically tells his own touching tale, while Martin compassionately relates Charlie and Henry's stories in the third person. She artfully alternates and gradually weaves together threads from the canine and human tales until the three stories converge in time and space into a completely heartwarming and satisfying finale. Essential fare for fans of A Dog's Life or the perfectly crafted canine tale. (Fiction. 9-12) Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 7, 2008

Fans of the first two Doll People stories will be thrilled with number three. China doll Annabelle and plastic doll Tiffany are ready for an adventure when the human Palmers leave on a two-week vacation, but when a mysterious box arrives, the dolls discover a baby doll is in inside! Annabelle is convinced it's her lost baby sister. The only solution seems to be to take Tilly and run away. Risking "Permanent Doll State" numerous times, the girl dolls and their two brother dolls wind up in a toy store with antique and robotic dolls and the hateful, mean Mimi, returning from book two. How can they overcome their size obstacles and escape in time to get home before the humans return? Selznick's charming, black-and-white scenarios make the doll personalities believable; he adds a number of full-page drawings at the beginning (à la Hugo Cabret) that build the drama, while the action leaves plenty of dollhouse room for future escapades. Hmmm, the dolls visit Dollywood? (Fantasy. 8-11) Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2007

Orphans Flora and Ruby are moving in with Min, their maternal grandmother. Min lives in 350-year-old Camden Falls, Mass., a town filled with all sorts of people who are ready to embrace the girls. Min's friendly sewing-and-needlepoint shop is the heart of the girls' new world. Camden Falls, with its row houses, quirky characters and strong, level-headed women is almost a character itself. For such a small town, there is a dizzying array of folks: an older boy with Down's Syndrome, an abused girl, a woman with Alzheimer's, a forgetful elderly black man, a shoplifter, a cranky shop owner and a girl who lives with her widowed father. Girls who have outgrown Cynthia Rylant's Cobble Street Cousins will find the same familiar sense of community here, and they will forgive the saccharine tone, especially when the narrator slips into the second-person voice. They will long to know how the girls fare in fourth and sixth grade and will be able to find out soon: The second in the series arrives in August just in time for school. (Fiction. 8-12)Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2006

Christmas stories tend to be sentimental, and this one is no exception. Martin trims her "I-believe-in- Santa" tale with garlands of an unselfish wish, a friend's ill father and faith in the season. Third-grader Tess is convinced that this year (1938) she will meet the real Santa and experience "the Christmas magic." Instead of leaving him cookies, she buys him a gift of a snow globe and wishes that her best-friend Sarah's father could be home from the hospital for the holiday. Nostalgic and tender, by next Christmas Tess has come to realize that some gifts are not exactly the ones you ask for. This old-fashioned, Norman Rockwell image of a family Christmas reflects the time period, but who is the audience? Will today's eight- and nine-year-olds accept Tess's belief in Santa? The title, the appealing cover of the snow globe and Martin's name will sell this sentimental sleigh ride—most likely to grandparents. (Fiction. 8-10)Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2005

Following the tradition of other realistic animal stories, this moving account of a stray dog's life experiences is told from the canine perspective. Born in a garden shed, Squirrel and her brother Bone are raised by their mother, who teaches them to hunt and avoid humans. Life is good for the puppies until their mother disappears and doesn't return. When the adventurous Bone sets out into the world, Squirrel follows, afraid to be on her own. But along a busy highway, the puppies are soon separated forever and Squirrel is alone. She manages to survive winter and finds Moon, another stray. The two travel together, raiding garbage cans, eluding dogcatchers and fighting off a band of hungry dogs until Moon is killed by a truck. Alone again, Squirrel stoically moves from town to town, encountering both kind and cruel humans, and aging as the seasons pass. Speaking matter-of-factly, Squirrel accepts life bravely and in the end, finds the loving home she deserves. Heart-wrenching as well as heart- warming. (Fiction. 10-14)Read full book review >
HERE TODAY by Ann M. Martin
Released: Oct. 1, 2004

Sixth-grader Eleanor Roosevelt Dingman lives on the wrong side of the tracks in Spectacle, New York, in 1963. Bigotry abounds, and there are many acts of vandalism against the lone Jewish family and a pair of elderly women who live together. It's even worse at school, with Ellie and her best friend Holly the victims of endless bullying and hazing. But of most concern to Ellie is the future of her family. Her mother, Doris Day Dingman, is self-promoting, and totally self-absorbed. When she leaves to pursue her show-business dreams, Ellie is devastated, but understands that this outcome was inevitable. Martin has created a sensitive, sympathetic character in a setting rich with detail that place her firmly in the period. Occasional loose ends in the plot put this a step below her best work, but Martin's fans will recognize Ellie's emotional struggle and breathe a sigh of relief at the ending. (Fiction. 10-12)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2003

In the further adventures of best friends Tiffany Funcraft and Annabelle Doll, the two are accidentally carried to a strange home in a school backpack. There they encounter Princess Mimi, a small, vividly wicked doll, so bad that she's good. Mimi, who's convinced that she's a real princess and will someday be queen of all the dolls, is terrorizing the other dolls in her house. When Tiffany and Annabelle help the frightened dolls overcome her, Mimi follows them home, intent on revenge. Annabelle understands that if the dolls choose not to be threatened by her, Mimi will make enough trouble to destroy herself. Wrapped in humor and adventure are serious considerations of self-esteem, the power of intimidation, and the nature of friendship. Selznick's precisely detailed illustrations, opening with the most brilliant curtain-raiser in children's literature, enhance the humor, fright, and chaos caused by Mean Mimi. With its indelible mingling of wit, action, characterization, and art, this stands alone, but will especially thrill expectant fans of the original Doll People. (Fiction. 7-11)Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2002

In July of 1960, just as she is turning 12, Hattie Owen's quiet, solitary summer—occupied with books, the various residents of her parents' boarding house, small errands about town, and avoiding her grandmother—is disrupted, bringing a loss of a kind of innocence and a look at the wide borders of the world. Hattie's autistic, emotionally challenged young uncle returns home to live with his parents after the institutional school in which he has lived half his life—and all of Hattie's—closes permanently. Hattie's well-to-do and severe grandparents are clearly burdened by their difficult child, but Hattie is intrigued, and charmed, by Adam's rapid-fire way of talking, his free-associating, and his liberal use of dialogue from "I Love Lucy." Adam's quirky, childlike enthusiasm and his obvious delight with her endear him to Hattie immediately, as does his vulnerability to Nana's strictures on behavior. When a carnival comes to town Hattie befriends Leila, a girl who travels in the carnival with her family, and it is Adam and Leila who together give Hattie her first birthday celebration among friends. Adam's crush on one of the boarders at the Owens' rooming house is the catalyst for the tragic ending, though Adam's fundamental inability to protect his feelings in the world destroys him. His suicide and its aftermath—his siblings' grief, his mother's sudden remorse, Hattie's courage to speak at his funeral—are nearly unsurprising, but moving nevertheless. In the end Hattie has had a glimpse into, as she says, "how quickly our world can swing between what is comfortable and familiar and what is unexpected and horrifying," and she has opted for herself to live in such a world, to keep lifting the corners of the universe. Martin's voice for Hattie is likable, clear, and consistent; her prose doesn't falter. A solid, affecting read. (Fiction. 11-13)Read full book review >
BELLE TEAL by Ann M. Martin
Released: Oct. 1, 2001

A young white girl witnesses the integration of her public school in the early 1960s South. Belle Teal and her best friend Clarice have been looking forward to the fifth grade for years, ever since the lovely and kind Miss Casey began teaching it. This year is remarkable not only for Miss Casey, however, but for the arrival of Darryl and two other African-American students, the first the school has ever seen. Belle Teal, a spunky, generous girl who copes at home with a loving but feckless mother and a beloved but increasingly senile grandmother, finds herself caught in the middle of the integration conflict, as she must balance her old friendship with the bigoted Little Boss against her new friendship with Darryl. Belle Teal's first-person voice is pleasing and genuine, and period details are well rendered (Clarice's family's TV helps to locate the text in time, drawing a connection over 40 years from Belle Teal to 21st-century child readers). And although there is a lot going on here, what with Little Boss's family tensions, the snooty newcomer Vanessa (whom Belle Teal refers to as "HRH"), and Belle Teal's anxiety over the changes in her grandmother's capabilities in addition to the central integration plot, Martin (The Doll People, 2000, etc.) does a creditable job of keeping all the narrative balls in the air. While readers might question the conveniently enlightened racial attitudes of both Belle Teal's and Clarice's families and the ease with which the girls begin a friendship with the besieged Darryl, this good-hearted and well-paced story moves them past these concerns into a genuinely moving tale about the necessity to reach out to others, even when it is difficult. (Fiction. 8-12)Read full book review >
THE DOLL PEOPLE by Ann M. Martin
Released: Aug. 1, 2000

Little girls are in for a marvelous treat in this delicious fantasy that captures many of the rituals, fancies, and habits of girlhood with sweetness and honesty, while imparting gentle lessons about risk, self-fulfillment, and dealing with difference. Annabelle Doll lives with her family in their dollhouse in Kate's room: her family of Victorian china dolls had belonged to Kate's grandmother, and mother, and now belongs to Kate. Like the characters in Toy Story, the doll family has elaborate rituals for activity when the human family is asleep or occupied, and Annabelle's parents are extremely protective and fearful. They've all taken the Doll Oath to keep their lives secret and fear Permanent Doll State, when they would simply be inanimate at all times (Barbies never take the Oath, and are always inanimate, we learn). But Auntie Sarah has disappeared (45 years ago) and Annabelle, who's discovered her journal, longs to bring her back. Kate's pesky little sister Nora soon acquires a dollhouse of her own, and the Funcraft family, with their modern ways and funky plastic accoutrements, inspire Annabelle, who becomes best friends with Tiffany Funcraft. Tiffany and Annabelle form a private club, share secrets, and contrast their families in ways that will resonate with every girl who has ever wondered if her dolls talk to each other. In the end, they find Auntie Sarah and rescue Papa Doll from the fiendish clutches of the cat. The whole is fabulously illustrated by Selznick, whose pictures have a shapely richness that captures not only the sturdy tubbiness of the modern dolls, but the fragile rigidity of the Victorian ones. (Fiction. 8-12)Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 1991

An episodic story uniting the big, alphabetically named family in Ten Kids, No Pets (1988) with the leads from Just a Summer Romance (1987). The Rossos are looking forward to their summer rental on Fire Island—a rambling old house on the beach. Abbie, the responsible eldest, is the focus of the first chapter as she worries about the complications of train travel with so many kids. In the ten subsequent chapters, each of the others takes center stage—little number ten, Janthina, gets a makeover on a movie set; solitary Calandra hopes and fears that the house next door is haunted; Ira seems to have Lyme disease, but quickly recovers; Faustine becomes a vegetarian and tries to convert her family—with the result that, though the chapters aren't independent stories, the characters perform so briefly that there's little chance to know them. Meanwhile, the hustle and bustle of a large family and its many interconnections are glimpsed but not really explored, despite an overabundance of details of daily life. The children do have walk-on roles in each other's stories, thus tidying up loose ends from their own. Easily read fare, sure to please fans of Martin's popular ``Babysitters'' books. (Fiction. 8-12) Read full book review >