Compelling and atmospheric.


Twelve-year-old Mexican American Lula longs to speak out and stand up against oppression in 1960s Delano, California.

Lula lives with her migrant farmworker family in bedbug-infested barracks. Her older sister, Concha, loves school just like Lula does; big brother Rafa works the fields with Mamá and Papá while youngest siblings Gabi and Martín tag along. Papá drinks, has an unpredictable temper, and only shows love to the littlest ones. Lula dreams of being able to make Papá smile. When Mamá becomes gravely ill, she’s turned away from the emergency room due to lack of money. A local curandera thinks she’s been poisoned by pesticides used in the fields and treats her with herbs. At school, Lula befriends Leonor, a Filipina and Mexican American girl, and is inspired by her powerful voice and grit. Leonor’s family is involved with the Filipino strikers’ union, the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee. The AWOC are recruiting the Mexican National Farm Worker’s Association, led by Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chávez, to join them in striking for better wages and conditions. This introspective novel with a well-developed sense of place features free verse in varied layouts that maintain visual interest. The character development is strong; as Papá is influenced by Chávez, who speaks of nonviolence, his behaviors change. Lula shows tenacity as her seeds of potential are nourished.

Compelling and atmospheric. (author’s note, further reading) (Verse historical fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-40660-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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


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. 27, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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