DAWN AND DUSK

It was an ordinary day when the bombs fell over Sardasht, Iran. Thirteen-year-old Azad was walking downtown to buy a Pac-Man game. Other people were shopping or at work. Saddam Hussein’s use of chemical weapons—part of a campaign of genocide against the Kurds—was part of the larger war with Iran. Mead’s story opens with Azad in Maine, looking back, trying to convince himself of a time when he and his family were happy before having to flee Iran. Attacks from Iraq and the repressive government of the Ayatollah Khomeini had made life unbearable for ordinary people, and Azad tells his story in an uneasy mix of narrative and explication. Much history is told, but too often at the expense of the story. An excellent introduction provides additional historical perspective, including the culpability of the U.S. for its support of Saddam Hussein. It’s an important story, and any reader, young or old, wishing to know more about Iran, Iraq, Kosovo, Sudan and other troubled spots of the modern world would do well to start with Mead’s many informative works. (Fiction. 10+)

Pub Date: March 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-374-31708-9

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2007

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Poignant, respectful, and historically accurate while pulsating with emotional turmoil, adventure, and suspense.

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REFUGEE

In the midst of political turmoil, how do you escape the only country that you’ve ever known and navigate a new life? Parallel stories of three different middle school–aged refugees—Josef from Nazi Germany in 1938, Isabel from 1994 Cuba, and Mahmoud from 2015 Aleppo—eventually intertwine for maximum impact.

Three countries, three time periods, three brave protagonists. Yet these three refugee odysseys have so much in common. Each traverses a landscape ruled by a dictator and must balance freedom, family, and responsibility. Each initially leaves by boat, struggles between visibility and invisibility, copes with repeated obstacles and heart-wrenching loss, and gains resilience in the process. Each third-person narrative offers an accessible look at migration under duress, in which the behavior of familiar adults changes unpredictably, strangers exploit the vulnerabilities of transients, and circumstances seem driven by random luck. Mahmoud eventually concludes that visibility is best: “See us….Hear us. Help us.” With this book, Gratz accomplishes a feat that is nothing short of brilliant, offering a skillfully wrought narrative laced with global and intergenerational reverberations that signal hope for the future. Excellent for older middle grade and above in classrooms, book groups, and/or communities looking to increase empathy for new and existing arrivals from afar.

Poignant, respectful, and historically accurate while pulsating with emotional turmoil, adventure, and suspense. (maps, author’s note) (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: July 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-88083-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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An outstanding new edition of this popular modern classic (Newbery Award, 1961), with an introduction by Zena Sutherland and...

ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS

Coming soon!!

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1990

ISBN: 0-395-53680-4

Page Count: -

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2000

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