A meandering, idealistic tale for budding scientists.

DOWN TO EARTH

After 10-year-old Henry witnesses the fall of a meteorite, disaster finds his Maine home.

Henry Bower, of Bower Hill Road, comes from a family of water dowsers, but he hasn’t yet shown any talent in this area—his current skills include reading the most books at the library and writing questions about the world in his home-schooling notebook. Henry has a passion for rocks and minerals and is thrilled when he and his little sister find a meteorite to rival the 31-ton Ahnighito in Greenland. An author’s note describes, among other things, the controversy over its fate and the “sad and disturbing history of the Inughuit people brought to New York City, along with the meteorite.” Henry tries to keep it a secret to protect it from similar theft. A paean to science, the text can be laudably earnest (“I learn that no matter how big or special a meteorite is, someone always wants to take it or chip it”) but the dialogue is occasionally stilted. Brief quotes, mostly from nonfiction science resources, open each chapter, intriguing readers who might otherwise wonder where Henry’s narrative is going and why. The flood that overtakes Henry’s house traumatizes his family, especially when some people in the town blame them for it, but Henry shows impressive kindness and resilience. The main cast reads as White; a visiting scientist who mentors Henry is Black.

A meandering, idealistic tale for budding scientists. (author's note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-17573-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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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...

NUMBER THE STARS

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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For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
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  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Newbery Honor Book

  • Coretta Scott King Book Award Winner

  • National Book Award Winner

BROWN GIRL DREAMING

A multiaward–winning author recalls her childhood and the joy of becoming a writer.

Writing in free verse, Woodson starts with her 1963 birth in Ohio during the civil rights movement, when America is “a country caught / / between Black and White.” But while evoking names such as Malcolm, Martin, James, Rosa and Ruby, her story is also one of family: her father’s people in Ohio and her mother’s people in South Carolina. Moving south to live with her maternal grandmother, she is in a world of sweet peas and collards, getting her hair straightened and avoiding segregated stores with her grandmother. As the writer inside slowly grows, she listens to family stories and fills her days and evenings as a Jehovah’s Witness, activities that continue after a move to Brooklyn to reunite with her mother. The gift of a composition notebook, the experience of reading John Steptoe’s Stevie and Langston Hughes’ poetry, and seeing letters turn into words and words into thoughts all reinforce her conviction that “[W]ords are my brilliance.” Woodson cherishes her memories and shares them with a graceful lyricism; her lovingly wrought vignettes of country and city streets will linger long after the page is turned.

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-25251-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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