Books by Kathryn Lasky

THE ESCAPE by Kathryn Lasky
Released: Jan. 7, 2014

"A promising start to a new series. (author's note, map) (Historical fantasy. 8-12)"
Born in the hold of a Spanish galleon destined for the New World, the young filly Estrella knows nothing of the feel of the earth under her hooves or the joy of the pasture, but her mother's soft murmurings hint at a greater destiny for the young horse and her friends. Read full book review >
THE EXTRA by Kathryn Lasky
Released: Oct. 8, 2013

"In the end, the touching story of survival carries readers over the occasional infelicities. (Historical fiction. 12-16)"
The rarely told story of the Nazi genocide of the Romani people unfolds through the eyes of a heavily fictionalized "film slave," a Romani girl forced into service as an extra in a Leni Riefenstahl film. Read full book review >
THE RISE OF A LEGEND by Kathryn Lasky
Released: Aug. 1, 2013

"Both thoughtful and action-packed, this adventure illuminates the fantastical world that exists between dusk and dawn. (Fantasy. 8-12)"
The Guardians of Ga'Hoole gets a prequel, with the history of one of the Great Tree's rybs, Ezylryb. Read full book review >
SILK & VENOM by Kathryn Lasky
ANIMALS
Released: Feb. 1, 2011

"There are occasional maps, and the end matter includes a picture glossary with Latin and common names, which serves as an index to the spider photographs. (sources, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)"
Biology professor Greta Binford studies spiders in an Oregon lab and in the field in the Dominican Republic, where she searches for L. Taino, a Caribbean relative of the venomous brown recluse that might provide clues to how and when the recluse genus arrived in North America. Read full book review >
FELIX TAKES THE STAGE by Kathryn Lasky
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 2010

"While the message-driven conclusion may distract from the fast-paced narrative, this is still a successfully spun tale. (Animal fantasy. 6-9)"
When the brown recluse spider Felix attempts to feel the vibrations of an acclaimed maestro's baton, he disobeys his mother's most basic principle: "[N]ever, ever reveal yourself to human beings." Read full book review >
HAWKSMAID by Kathryn Lasky
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: May 1, 2010

"It doesn't bear up under scrutiny, but it's fun to read. (author's note) (Historical fantasy. 9-12)"
Veteran Lasky combines the Robin Hood/Maid Marian story with falconry. Read full book review >
CHASING ORION by Kathryn Lasky
FICTION
Released: May 1, 2010

"A truly extraordinary page-turner that embraces life's big and small aspects with humor and a healthy respect for its profound contradictions. (Historical fiction. 11 & up)"
It seems unfair to 11-year-old Georgie Mason that in Indiana's summer heat she can't go swimming or even to the movies for fear of catching polio. Read full book review >
WOLVES OF THE BEYOND by Kathryn Lasky
ANIMALS
Released: Jan. 1, 2010

"The author builds a captivating world of forest, snow and volcanoes populated by intelligent animals and weaves a compelling story sure to bring readers back for the second installment. (Fantasy. 8-12)"
Lasky spins off her popular Guardians of Ga'Hoole series into this enchanting first installment of a new series starring wolves, introducing a wolf pup raised by a grizzly bear. Read full book review >
DAUGHTERS OF THE SEA by Kathryn Lasky
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Sept. 1, 2009

"A good bet for upper middle-grade and early YA readers. (Fantasy. 12 & up)"
Orphan Hannah Albury, 15, the engagingly demure yet plucky heroine, has always been drawn to the ocean. Read full book review >
TWO BAD PILGRIMS by Kathryn Lasky
FICTION
Released: Aug. 1, 2009

Standish Brewster, professor of Pilgrimology, attempts diligently to tell the tale of the establishment of Plimoth Plantation while the two bad Pilgrims of the title, acknowledged troublemakers (they nearly blew up the Mayflower) John and Francis Billington, kibbitz with energy: "When we do it, they call it stealing. Read full book review >
POODLE AND HOUND by Kathryn Lasky
ANIMALS
Released: July 1, 2009

"Vane's humorous watercolors, especially Poodle's creative outfits, add some depth to these stories, but they lack spark. (Early reader. 4-8)"
Friends Poodle and Hound learn to understand each other in three related short stories for new readers. Read full book review >
GEORGIA RISES by Kathryn Lasky
FICTION
Released: June 1, 2009

"1930. (author's note, selected bibliography, sources) (Picture book. 7-10)"
Cast in the spirit of her evocative picture-book text for First Painter (illustrated by Rocco Baviera, 2000), veteran novelist and nonfiction writer Lasky offers an apt, poetic tribute to an American classic. Read full book review >
ONE BEETLE TOO MANY by Kathryn Lasky
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Jan. 1, 2009

"A disappointing effort. (Biography. 8-10)"
The upcoming bicentennial of Darwin's birth has already increased interest in his life and theories. Read full book review >
THE LAST GIRLS OF POMPEII by Kathryn Lasky
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: May 1, 2007

"An intelligent, ruminative work for thoughtful readers. (historical note) (Historical fiction. 10+)"
For all of the daily prophecies in Pompeii, A.D. 79, the "chicken-gut-reading augurs" and oaths to the gods and goddesses, only the Sybil of Sarnus foresaw the end of the world, and for Julia and Sura, it's a world they are none too pleased with. Read full book review >
JOHN MUIR by Kathryn Lasky
BIOGRAPHY
Released: April 1, 2006

In this double-stranded tribute to Muir, who was a driving force behind the creation of the National Parks system, a founder of the Sierra Club and a brilliant inventor too, Lasky not only outlines the course of his life, but eloquently conveys his motivation—a profound delight in what he called "wildness" in the natural world. Read full book review >
TUMBLE BUNNIES by Kathryn Lasky
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 2005

"If it's not a startlingly original setting or plot, it's nevertheless an eminently comfortable one—and there's nothing wrong with that. (Picture book. 5-8)"
An insecure little rabbit finds that the air is where he shines. Read full book review >
BROKEN SONG by Kathryn Lasky
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: March 1, 2005

"Lasky's writing is straightforward and unsentimental, sometimes a little pat, and her hero is a relatable and admirable protagonist. (historical note) (Fiction. 11-14)"
This companion to Night Journey (1981) explores the plight of 15-year-old Reuven Bloom, a brilliant young Russian Jewish violinist whose music is "broken" by the horrors of late-19th-century pogroms. Read full book review >
BLOOD SECRET by Kathryn Lasky
ADVENTURE
Released: Aug. 1, 2004

"Though it often reads like a lesson in this aspect of Jewish history, rather than a true historical time-travel, there will be readers eager to delve into the secrets of blood and shadows. (Fiction. YA)"
Mysteries of her family and its long history fill the nooks and crannies of a teenager's mind in Albuquerque. Read full book review >
LOVE THAT BABY! by Kathryn Lasky
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Jan. 1, 2004

"Altogether as charming as a clean and smiling infant. (Picture book. 3-7)"
A reassuring mini-encyclopedia of what life is like with a new baby addresses its audience of only slightly older siblings with enthusiastic cheer. Read full book review >
HOPE IN MY HEART by Kathryn Lasky
FICTION
Released: Nov. 1, 2003

"Hopkinson's Shutting Out the Sky (p. 1175) makes a good nonfiction companion. (historical note) (Fiction. 7-10)"
Nine million immigrants came to the US between 1880 and 1900, and this entry in the My America series is the fictional diary of one such immigrant: nine-year-old Sofia Monari, from Italy. Read full book review >
THE MAN WHO MADE TIME TRAVEL by Kathryn Lasky
FICTION
Released: April 2, 2003

"Younger readers will discover both the historical significance of Harrison's invention and why he "became the hero not only of clockmakers, but of dreamers and ordinary people everywhere who learned by doing and daring." (Picture book/nonfiction. 8-10)"
The creators of The Librarian Who Measured the Earth (1994) team up again to profile a brilliant, little-known scientist: John Harrison, the 18th-century inventor of the marine chronometer. Read full book review >
BEFORE I WAS YOUR MOTHER by Kathryn Lasky
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 1, 2003

"It will no doubt inspire lots of similar stories in its readers. (Picture book. 4-8)"
A delicious tale with loads of girl appeal is satisfying for mothers and daughters (and brothers) alike. Read full book review >
A VOICE OF HER OWN by Kathryn Lasky
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Jan. 1, 2003

"It is a pity that Lasky chooses to impose her own feelings and voice upon this woman whose voice she purports to celebrate. (Picture book/biography. 6-10)"
A sizable dose of imagination seeks to illuminate the life of Phillis Wheatley, the 18th-century slave poet, but reveals more about the author than the subject. Read full book review >
PORKENSTEIN by Kathryn Lasky
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2002

"An enormously satisfying taste of Halloween fun, without resorting to clichéd spookiness, this leaves readers imagining what mayhem Porkenstein will make those neighborhood goblins digest. (Picture book. 4-7)"
The versatile Lasky (Mommy's Hands, p. 416, etc.) enters the Halloween sweepstakes with a delightfully comic send-up of gluttons everywhere by re-costuming a few recognizable characters. Read full book review >
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Nov. 1, 2001

"But the historical detail is both accurate and interesting, as is the historical appendix containing information and photographs of the period. (Fiction. 9-11)"
Minnie Swift is 11 years old in 1932 and the Great Depression has hit Indianapolis very hard. Read full book review >
BORN IN THE BREEZES by Kathryn Lasky
ADVENTURE
Released: Nov. 1, 2001

"Lasky, a veteran sailor herself, sends children on a voyage they won't soon forget, with a man for whom land never meant "home." (Biography. 10-13)"
Young readers intrigued by the brief encounter with Slocum, the first man to sail solo around the world, in Robert J. Blake's Spray (1996) will welcome this expanded look at the life of one of the Age of Sail's last great seamen. Read full book review >
STARRING LUCILLE by Kathryn Lasky
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 2001

"Give that ham a hand: Lucille is a lovable star who deserves another encore. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Prepare a place for yet another precocious piglet protagonist with panache, this time the youngest in a family of three little pigs: Frances, Franklin, and budding ballerina Lucille. Read full book review >
MOMMY’S HANDS by Kathryn Lasky
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 1, 2001

"Reading this cozy tale is rather like being enveloped by a mother's warm embrace, subtly reminding readers of the surety of their mother's love. (Picture book. 2-5)"
Through simple observations, a trio of toddlers reveals the love, security, and nurturing that are expressed through the everyday tasks and motions of a mother's hands. Read full book review >
MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS by Kathryn Lasky
FICTION
Released: April 1, 2001

"Mary, Queen of Scots remains a beloved figure to history buffs; this enjoyable and approachable account should serve as a springboard for further inquiry for today's readers. (Historical fiction. 9-14)"
In keeping with the theme of the Royal Diaries Series, one year in the life of young Mary Stuart is told as if she had kept a journal. Read full book review >
LUCILLE’S SNOWSUIT by Kathryn Lasky
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2000

"Mothers everywhere will send up a cheer for this wonderfully funny tale that shows mother does know best. (Picture book. 5-8)"
Snowsuits, the bane of every child's snow-filled days, are the focus of this hilarious tale. Read full book review >
FIRST PAINTER by Kathryn Lasky
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 2000

"This title creates for children an accessible truth—that art has a magic, that art holds immense human meaning, and that the artist makes things happen inside the human soul. (afterword, bibliography) (Picture book. 7-12)"
What moves people to make art? Read full book review >
VISION OF BEAUTY by Kathryn Lasky
BIOGRAPHY
Released: April 1, 2000

"Bennett's earth-toned, full-page, pencil and watercolor paintings add immediacy and intimacy while advancing the narrative. (Picture book/biography. 8-10)"
The girl who was to become Mme. C.J. Walker was born Sarah Breedlove, in poverty, to ex-slave, sharecropper parents in rural Louisiana in1876. Read full book review >
MARIE ANTOINETTE, PRINCESS OF VERSAILLES by Kathryn Lasky
FICTION
Released: April 1, 2000

"Still, a royal read that manages to both entrance and instruct. (Historical fiction. 1014)"
Psychologically astute and packed with historical detail, this faux diary opens when Marie Antoinette [then called Maria Antonia] was a 13-year-old youngster. Read full book review >
STAR SPLIT by Kathryn Lasky
Released: Oct. 1, 1999

PLB 0-7868-2401-8 In a work of science fiction, Lasky (A Brilliant Streak, 1998, etc.) tackles both the morality of human cloning and the potential for people to cover their tracks through the time-honored tradition of manipulating language. Read full book review >
A BRILLIANT STREAK by Kathryn Lasky
BIOGRAPHY
Released: April 1, 1998

"His successes are the source of one colorful anecdote after another, which Lasky taps and twirls into an engaging narrative that glimmers with its own brand of brilliance. (Biography. 6-12)"
With an apparently infinite fascination with her subject (Samuel Clemens appears in her novel, Alice Rose and Sam, p. 341), Lasky says that "it would only be stretching the truth a little to say that Samuel Clemens had one of the longest childhoods in history." Read full book review >
ALICE ROSE AND SAM by Kathryn Lasky
BIOGRAPHY
Released: March 1, 1998

"EWSLUGp1992 have a plucky new heroine to admire. (Fiction. 11-13)"
A newspaperman's daughter and novice reporter Sam Clemens uncover a plot to seize the mighty Comstock Lode for the Confederacy in this open-throttled page-turner from Lasky (True North, 1996, etc.). Read full book review >
MARVEN OF THE GREAT NORTH WOODS by Kathryn Lasky
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 1997

"Unlike Gary Paulsen's bittersweet northland novella, The Cookcamp (1991), over which hangs a vague sense of unease, this book is a happy adventure that brims with rugged excitement. (Picture book. 6-10)"
 With a daughter's fitting reverence, Lasky tells the story of her father, Marven, who was sent away from his family at the age of ten to work in a logging camp. Read full book review >
TRUE NORTH by Kathryn Lasky
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Oct. 1, 1996

"Lucy and Afrika are vivacious fictional heroines striving against a backdrop of actual events and real players; they reveal underlying truths in the sad histories of many a slave. (further reading) (Fiction. 12+)"
 A rousing good story and two strong female protagonists make this novel of the Underground Railroad an energetic work of historical fiction. Read full book review >
A JOURNEY TO THE NEW WORLD by Kathryn Lasky
ADVENTURE
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

"Memorable. (Fiction. 9-12)"
 In this entry in the Dear America series, subtitled ``The Diary of Remember Patience Whipple,'' Lasky (She's Wearing a Dead Bird on Her Head!, 1995, etc.) demonstrates how vigorous historical fiction can enliven the facts found in most textbooks. Read full book review >
SHE'S WEARING A DEAD BIRD ON HER HEAD! by Kathryn Lasky
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

"The truth behind this story is so fertile that the inventions used here just don't do it justice. (Picture book. 5-9)"
 More well-meaning than well-crafted, this lighthearted look at the origins of the Audubon Society, augmented by Catrow's jaunty caricatures, is overwhelmed by an essentially serious message. Read full book review >
POND YEAR by Kathryn Lasky
FICTION
Released: May 1, 1995

"The whole, however, is a treasured memory of a gentler, more peaceful time, a book for sharing and remembering. (Fiction. 4-8)"
 The author (Days of the Dead, 1994, etc.) of many fine science titles recounts a quiet adventure from her own childhood up in Indiana. Read full book review >
DAYS OF THE DEAD by Kathryn Lasky
HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS
Released: Oct. 28, 1994

"A revealing, thoughtful exercise in multiculturalism. (Glossary) (Nonfiction. 8-12)"
 An unforgettable photo-essay of a farm family in rural Mexico by Lasky (The Librarian Who Measured the Earth, p. 1131, etc.; Beyond the Burning Time, see p. 1410) and Knight, the husband-and- wife team that most recently produced Surtsey: The Newest Place on Earth (1993, ALA Notable Book). Read full book review >
BEYOND THE BURNING TIME by Kathryn Lasky
FANTASY
Released: Oct. 1, 1994

"The book's characters are solidly imagined and appealing, and it's rich in details about life in Puritan New England, but the novel falls short of evoking the true horror of its times— and why write about Salem's witches if you don't do that? (Fiction. 12+)"
 The Salem witch trials never cease to fascinate kids (and adults), and Lasky's (The Librarian Who Measured the Earth, p. 1131, etc.; Days of the Dead, see p. 1421) novel does capture some of the flavor of that era. Read full book review >
CLOUD EYES by Kathryn Lasky
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 1994

"Basically a real yawn. (Fiction/Picture book. 5-10)"
 This woolly-headed fable, trying to re-create the qualities of Native-American myth, tells of a visionary young Indian who restores honey to his tribe. Read full book review >
THE LIBRARIAN WHO MEASURED THE EARTH by Kathryn Lasky
NATURE
Released: Sept. 1, 1994

"Bibliographies for both Lasky and Hawkes; a note and an afterword place the librarian in histical context. (Nonfiction/Picture book. 5-10)"
 The story of Eratosthenes, a scholar of the third century b.c. Read full book review >
MEMOIRS OF A BOOKBAT by Kathryn Lasky
FICTION
Released: May 1, 1994

"Lasky's obvious sympathies are sure to strike a responsive chord among the like-minded; her many specific references to children's literature enrich Harper's accessible first-person narrative. (Fiction. 12+)"
 Harper Jessup's parents' arguments and drinking stopped seven years ago when they began to work for F.A.C.E. (Family Action for Christian Education); a spiffy motor home replaced their old trailer and they took off cross-country to protest books that didn't support F.A.C.E. values. Read full book review >
A VOICE IN THE WIND by Kathryn Lasky
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Nov. 1, 1993

"Even the Bobbsey twins had more substance. (Fiction. 8-12)"
 From a much-honored pro, a disappointingly graceless tale, third in the Starbuck Family Adventures. Read full book review >
SEARCHING FOR LAURA INGALLS by Kathryn Lasky
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Oct. 29, 1993

"Readers with more than a cursory interest in the subject will prefer William Anderson's Laura Ingalls Wilder Country (1990). (Nonfiction/Picture book. 7-10)"
 The summer following third grade, Meribah Knight and her noted author-photographer parents (Dinosaur Dig, 1990) made a pilgrimage to some of the sites in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and South Dakota that she had read about in the ``Little House'' books. Read full book review >
MONARCHS by Kathryn Lasky
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"Excellent color photos throughout enhance a book that truly captures the wonder of these intrepid creatures. (Nonfiction. 7+)"
 A splendid depiction of one the few true migratory butterflies, which journey from the coast of Maine to the forests of El Rosario, Mexico, and Pacific Grove, California, where they gather by the millions to winter. Read full book review >
MY ISLAND GRANDMA by Kathryn Lasky
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: March 16, 1993

"A book that ranks high in a frequently exploited genre. (Picture book. 3-8)"
 Yet another summer idyll with a grandparent—this one notable for lyrical yet unsentimental language depicting an independent, warmhearted woman and for the bracing realism of its detail. Read full book review >
SHADOWS IN THE WATER by Kathryn Lasky
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

"In paying tribute to the Keys, Lasky is affectionate and winning; but a consistent style and a truly persuasive narrative are sacrificed in the process. (Fiction. 8- 12)"
 This second of the ``Starbuck Family Adventures'' runs a gamut of genres from ecology thriller to fantasy. Read full book review >
THINK LIKE AN EAGLE by Kathryn Lasky
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 1992

"But the glimpse of special techniques used to photograph in the wild and the handsome color photos (those depicting Swedberg at work are by Knight) make a fine introduction to a fascinating career, as exemplified by a photographer with 30 years of experience. (Nonfiction. 10-12)"
 A noted science author and her photographer husband follow photographer Swedberg, subject of the documentary movie Home Free: Return of the Bald Eagle, while he stakes out animal haunts, sets up elaborate blinds, patiently waits for hours or even days, and finally snaps wildlife in Florida, Massachusetts, and Alaska. Read full book review >