CRISPIN: THE END OF TIME

Avi guides his hero toward a final, very satisfying destiny in this wonderfully realized conclusion to the Crispin trilogy. With Bear, their mentor and protector, dead, Crispin and the disfigured girl Troth wearily wander the French countryside. Finding refuge at a convent, the two ultimately make the wrenching decision to part when Troth decides to stay with the Sisters, comforted that she’ll never again be shunned for her appearance and having accepted her own destiny as a healer. Bereft of his only friend, Crispin eventually falls in with a band of traveling musicians, who, he finds out in increasingly suspenseful scenes, are murderous thieves who hold a terrified boy in thrall. The story of how he and the child, Owen, escape their clutches makes for a heart-stopping read. As in the other titles in the saga, characters and setting are expertly rendered. The ending is almost unbearably intense and leads to a deeply moving final scene in which Crispin learns that Bear will always be with him. Thrilling and beautifully wrought. (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: June 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-06-174080-0

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2010

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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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