Books by Karen Hesse

SAFEKEEPING by Karen Hesse
Released: Sept. 18, 2012

"Hesse offers some of her best in lavish descriptions of nature and mood, all overlaid with a social message, but this might be of more interest to adults than to teens. (Speculative fiction. 14 & up)"
Billed as "a novel of tomorrow," this account of a privileged teenager who returns from a goodwill trip in Haiti to a changed America disappoints. Read full book review >
BROOKLYN BRIDGE by Karen Hesse
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

"Another work of enduring excellence from Hesse. (author's note) (Historical fiction. 10-14)"
An immigrant family's tale, Impressionistic glimpses of street children living under the Brooklyn Bridge and vintage newspaper excerpts braid themselves together to form this spellbinding novel. Read full book review >
SPUDS by Karen Hesse
by Karen Hesse, illustrated by Wendy Watson
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

"A sweet, gentle tale. (Picture book. 5-9)"
Ma is working late shifts but there doesn't ever seem to be enough to eat. Read full book review >
THE YOUNG HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN by Karen Hesse
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Oct. 1, 2005

"A perfect gem. (afterword, bibliography, illustrator's note) (Nonfiction. 7-10)"
"The Ugly Duckling" was the story of Andersen's life. Read full book review >
THE CATS IN KRASINSKI SQUARE by Karen Hesse
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2004

A young Jewish girl and her sister, "passing" as Polish in WWII Warsaw, plot to sneak food, brought by collaborating train passengers, into the ghetto. Read full book review >
ALEUTIAN SPARROW by Karen Hesse
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 2003

"At the end, readers will be haunted by a hope-filled love that has grown between Vera and Alfred in the camp and by a government that says, "We are moving you to save you." (Historical fiction. 10-15)"
The historical facts are as starkly unforgiving as the Aleutian landscape, but not as beautiful. Read full book review >
THE STONE LAMP by Karen Hesse
POETRY
Released: Sept. 1, 2003

"Pinkney's bold paint and scratchboard illustrations also emphasize the theme of light and flame. (Picture book/nonfiction. 10+)"
In this ambitious and unusual oversized volume, eight episodes from Jewish history are experienced through the eyes of child witnesses. Read full book review >
WITNESS by Karen Hesse
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

"What Copeland created with music, and Hopper created with paint, Hesse deftly and unerringly creates with words: the iconography of Americana, carefully researched, beautifully written, and profoundly honest. (Fiction. 10-14)"
In this stunning piece of little-known American history, Hesse (Stowaway, 2000, etc.) paints small-town Vermont on the brink of self-destruction circa 1924. Read full book review >
STOWAWAY by Karen Hesse
ADVENTURE
Released: Nov. 1, 2000

"In a lucid, readable style, free of excessive nautical jargon, Hesse simultaneously takes readers along on one of history's greatest enterprises, and introduces them to one of history's most prodigious natural leaders. (Historical fiction. 10-14)"
Presented in diary format, this is the story of 11-year-old Nicholas Young's 1768 voyage as a stowaway on Captain Cook's ship Endeavor. Read full book review >
COME ON, RAIN! by Karen Hesse
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: March 1, 1999

"Muth contributes fine watercolor atmospherics, in sultry summer scenes where the heat is almost palpable, and raucous wet scenes of jubilant dancers. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Hesse (Just Juice, p. 1600, etc.) hits some high notes in this story of parched summer days in the city. Read full book review >
JUST JUICE by Karen Hesse
FICTION
Released: Nov. 1, 1998

"This poignant story of love and endurance has a lot to say; fittingly, it never shouts. (b&w illustrations, not seen) (Fiction. 7-12)"
Down-to-earth, resourceful heroine Justus "Juice" Faulstich doesn't like going to school. Read full book review >
OUT OF THE DUST by Karen Hesse
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 1997

 Billie Jo tells of her life in Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl: Her mother dies after a gruesome accident caused by her father's leaving a bucket of kerosene near the stove; Billie Jo is partially responsible—fully responsible in the eyes of the community—and sustains injuries that seem to bring to a halt her dreams of playing the piano. Read full book review >
THE MUSIC OF DOLPHINS by Karen Hesse
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

"A probing look at what makes us human, with an unforgettable protagonist. (Fiction. 9-12)"
 Her mind and spirit shaped by the dolphins who raised her, a feral child views herself and her human captors from a decidedly unusual angle in this poignant story from the author of A Time of Angels (1995). Read full book review >
A TIME OF ANGELS by Karen Hesse
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

"An absorbing story with strongly drawn characters and a convincing sense of time and place. (glossary) (Fiction. 11-15)"
 An intense, vivid tale of the devastating influenza epidemic of 1918. Read full book review >
PHOENIX RISING by Karen Hesse
FICTION
Released: April 1, 1994

"The answer is almost inevitable; yet Hesse portrays her characters' anguish and their growing tenderness with such unwavering clarity and grace that she sustains the tension of her lyrical, understated narrative right to her stunning, beautifully wrought conclusion. (Fiction. 12+)"
 A massive nuclear accident has just occurred in southern Vermont. Read full book review >
SABLE by Karen Hesse
by Karen Hesse, illustrated by Marcia Sewall
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 1994

"With a fresh narrative voice, thoughtfully developed characters, and its surefire Lassie-Come-Home ending, a fine early chapter book. (Fiction. 6-10)"
 Another nicely honed Redfeather Book from the author of Lavender (1993) and Phoenix Rising (p. 480). Read full book review >
LESTER'S DOG by Karen Hesse
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 1993

 The unnamed narrator shivers as he watches Lester's dog light out after a car—he's had his own run-ins with the big creature and knows better than to tangle with him. Read full book review >
LAVENDER by Karen Hesse
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Oct. 1, 1993

"Illustrations not seen. (Fiction/Young reader. 5-9)"
 Codie has a special relationship with her aunt Alix, who lives up the block; though Alix's first child is due in two weeks, she welcomes the little girl for her usual Saturday night sleepover and assures her that, despite the big belly where Codie can see the baby move, ``There will always be room'' for her. Read full book review >
POPPY'S CHAIR by Karen Hesse
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: March 31, 1993

"Thoughtful and well crafted. (Picture book. 5-8)"
 At Gramm's house for her first long visit since ``Poppy'' died, Leah is sad and uneasy: she's afraid to look at his picture, unwilling to sing the song they shared, and conscious of the familiar chair that, in unspoken agreement, she and Gramm are both avoiding. Read full book review >
LETTERS FROM RIFKA by Karen Hesse
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 1992

"Told with unusual grace and simplicity, an unforgettable picture of immigrant courage, ingenuity, and perseverance. (Fiction. 10+)"
 Beginning in Russia in 1919, this epistolary novel, based on experiences of the author's great-aunt, tells how 12-year-old Rifka Nebrot and her family fled the anti-Semitism of post-revolutionary Russia and emigrated to the US. Read full book review >
WISH ON A UNICORN by Karen Hesse
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: April 1, 1991

"Adequate fare for middle readers. (Fiction. 8-10)"
 ``Kids at school...they won't talk to me because of Hannie, even though sometimes I think Patty Jo wouldn't mind being friends. Read full book review >