ALMOST A HERO by John Neufeld
FICTION
Released: May 1, 1995

Ben Derby's spring vacation is preempted by a class assignment requiring students to help out in one of various social agencies. Read full book review >
FALL-OUT by Gudrun Pausewang
ADVENTURE
Released: May 1, 1995

"Karen Hesse's Phoenix Rising (1994) explores similar moral issues more convincingly. (Fiction. 12-15)"
First published in Germany following the Chernobyl disaster, this tale of a teenager robbed of her childhood by a nuclear accident comes down hard on the human tendency to deny reality. Read full book review >

BETWEEN TWO WORLDS by Sarah Sargent
FICTION
Released: May 1, 1995

"These sequences, bound as they are by soap opera formulas, further homogenize Jan into popular culture; it's just plain hard to care very much about her. (Fiction. 9-12)"
Jan, 13, is unhappy about moving to suburban Forest Lawn, baby-sitting her little brother all summer, visiting her grandmother in a nursing home, and most of all, hearing her parents argue about ``the other woman.'' She wants the family back on solid ground, but her only reference for a happier way of life is television. Read full book review >
PROTECTING MARIE by Kevin Henkes
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 1995

"As in Henkes's other novels (and in contrast to his picture books), the glacial, evenly modulated plot requires patient readers; the reward is a cast of good-hearted, strongly individual characters moving through a simply told but multilayered story, rich in imagery and feeling. (Fiction. 11-13)"
A slow, meaty story of an autocratic father and his strong- minded daughter looking for ways to break through the reserve that keeps them from expressing their mutual love and respect. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 1995

"Fans of the series or those undergoing their own suburban teen angst will not be disappointed; others will find Alice unchallenging. (Fiction. 10-14)"
Following Naylor's six earlier books about this heroine (Alice In Between, 1994, etc.), this installment finds Alice and friends Pamela and Elizabeth on the eve of eighth grade, and smoothly chronicles their twelfth summer. Read full book review >

ABC BOOKS
Released: May 1, 1995

"From alligator to zapus, this is an alphabet not to be missed. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-12)"
A sumptuous ABC of predators and their prey, splendid for display or for careful, close viewing. Read full book review >
LOST SUMMER by Elizabeth Feuer
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 28, 1995

"Standard fare with a cast of familiar types and a short menu of personal problems, worked out with the help of wise adult advice. (Fiction. 10-12)"
A summer camp story, featuring some minor intrigue, a cabinful of unappealing 12-year-olds, and a predictably happy ending. Read full book review >
SIGNS OF LIFE by Jean Ferris
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 25, 1995

"A bittersweet evocation of the mourning process. (Fiction. 10-14)"
Dreamed memories of an ancient life that may-have-been and a wistful, would-be romance thaw Hannah's grief over the death of her twin sister, Molly. Read full book review >
SPYING ON MISS MULLER by Eve Bunting
Released: April 24, 1995

"The one false note is Jessie's belated and rather facile acceptance of her father's alcoholism (somehow linked to Miss Müller's acceptance of her own father's Nazism), but it's not enough to spoil a good story well told. (Fiction. 9-13)"
Miss Müller — half-Irish, half-German — is a favorite of the girls at Belfast's Alveara School until the start of WW II. Read full book review >
FIG PUDDING by Ralph Fletcher
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 24, 1995

"Sensitive to all the potential problems of the disparity between the substance and the style of his book, Fletcher (I Am Wings, not reviewed) displays an extremely gentle touch. (Fiction. 8-12)"
A book about a big happy family, with lots of laughter, lots of cooking, and lots of eating; it opens with Cliff, the 11-year- old narrator and oldest of six children, ``getting ready to dig into a steaming plate of French toast,'' and closes with his whole family laughing so hard that tears are running down their faces. Read full book review >
MICK HARTE WAS HERE by Barbara Park
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 20, 1995

"By the end of the book, readers miss him, too. (Fiction. 8-12)"
It's always difficult reading about the death of a child, especially when he's ``one of the neatest kids you'd ever want to meet.'' That's how Phoebe Harte, 13, describes her slightly younger brother Mick, in a poignant story by a writer more associated with making readers laugh (Maxie, Rosie, and Earl—Partners in Grime, 1990, etc.) than cry. Read full book review >
PINOCCHIO'S SISTER by Jan Slepian
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 19, 1995

"As such it is engrossing and has the feel of emotional truth, with the barest hints of the supernatural adding to the creepiness. (Fiction. 8-12)"
Martha's mother is dead, and her stepmother has left her and her father, a ventriloquist. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Vanessa Diffenbaugh
September 1, 2015

Vanessa Diffenbaugh is the New York Timesbestselling author of The Language of Flowers; her new novel, We Never Asked for Wings, is about young love, hard choices, and hope against all odds. For 14 years, Letty Espinosa has worked three jobs around San Francisco to make ends meet while her mother raised her children—Alex, now 15, and Luna, six—in their tiny apartment on a forgotten spit of wetlands near the bay. But now Letty’s parents are returning to Mexico, and Letty must step up and become a mother for the first time in her life. “Diffenbaugh’s latest confirms her gift for creating shrewd, sympathetic charmers,” our reviewer writes. View video >