Cannon (On the Go with Pirate Pete and Pirate Joe, p. 650, etc.) returns after several years with an engrossing, detailed, thoroughly real story of faith, family, and community. Twelve-year-old Charlotte and her father are part of a band of several hundred Welsh Mormons making an arduous journey to Utah in 1856. The Mormon Church sponsors the trip, but cannot afford to make it easy on the pilgrims: after a ship to Boston and a train to Iowa City, the families, organized into bands of 70 people, must push their belongings across the prairie in handcarts. Impetuous, lively Charlotte still grieves for her mam, who died not long before the trip began, and recites the names of her dead brothers and sister, “David. Robert. Owen. William. Ann,” as a way of reminding God that they were important to her. On the ocean voyage, Charlotte finds a small doll and carries it about for several days before seeking out its owner, but at the start of the pushcart section she finds a better substitute for all she’s lost: a newborn baby whose mother, a friend of Charlotte’s, dies in childbirth. The baby’s father is too grief-stricken to even look at the child, and Charlotte defies the women of her group by insisting that she will carry it to Utah, she will care for it and love it. And she does. Caring for the infant, whom Charlotte names Rose, is more difficult than Charlotte expects, but she conquers all obstacles with believable spirit and the help of the women who surround and support her, and who, in the end, help her make the right decision about Rose’s future. Pinpoint historical details never overwhelm the force of the story, emotions ring true throughout, and the large cast of characters comes vividly to life, none more than Charlotte, strong and lovely. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2002

ISBN: 0-385-72966-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2002


An emotional, much-needed historical graphic novel.

Sandy and his family, Japanese Canadians, experience hatred and incarceration during World War II.

Sandy Saito loves baseball, and the Vancouver Asahi ballplayers are his heroes. But when they lose in the 1941 semifinals, Sandy’s dad calls it a bad omen. Sure enough, in December 1941, Japan bombs Pearl Harbor in the U.S. The Canadian government begins to ban Japanese people from certain areas, moving them to “dormitories” and setting a curfew. Sandy wants to spend time with his father, but as a doctor, his dad is busy, often sneaking out past curfew to work. One night Papa is taken to “where he [is] needed most,” and the family is forced into an internment camp. Life at the camp isn’t easy, and even with some of the Asahi players playing ball there, it just isn’t the same. Trying to understand and find joy again, Sandy struggles with his new reality and relationship with his father. Based on the true experiences of Japanese Canadians and the Vancouver Asahi team, this graphic novel is a glimpse of how their lives were affected by WWII. The end is a bit abrupt, but it’s still an inspiring and sweet look at how baseball helped them through hardship. The illustrations are all in a sepia tone, giving it an antique look and conveying the emotions and struggles. None of the illustrations of their experiences are overly graphic, making it a good introduction to this upsetting topic for middle-grade readers.

An emotional, much-needed historical graphic novel. (afterword, further resources) (Graphic historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0334-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021


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

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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