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WITCHLINGS

From the Witchlings series , Vol. 1

Energetic and intelligent; invites readers to question their assumptions and the status quo.

It’s the night of the Black Moon Ceremony, when Witchlings in Ravenskill are assigned to their covens, and the one thing 12-year-old Seven Salazar hopes to avoid is being made a Spare Witch.

When her fears unfortunately come to pass, she’s faced with two other leftover and unlikely new companions—not to mention a challenge that might just prove deadly. Alongside the other Spares, anxious Thorn La Roux and bully Valley Pepperhorn, Seven must embark on a dangerous quest to find and kill the rumored child-eating Nightbeast. Through their adventures, however, Seven learns about a lot more than just the mystery of the Nightbeast: She comes to see people—including herself—differently. She peers beneath her first assumptions and stands up for others even when that’s not easy. When she fears a friend is experiencing parental abuse, she brings her concerns to an adult she trusts even though she’s frightened it will make her friend angry. The story balances serious social themes with lighthearted friendship hijinks, and the plot is fast-paced and full of gratifying twists. Ortega invites readers in, combining familiar fantasy furnishings with a low-key, modern-inflected tone. Seven is cued as Latine, and many of the spells she invokes on her journey ring with Spanish roots, offering Spanish speakers the joy of recognition and others the excitement of new-forged understanding. Thorn and Valley read as White.

Energetic and intelligent; invites readers to question their assumptions and the status quo. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-74552-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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CHARLOTTE'S WEB

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

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BROWN GIRL DREAMING

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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  • Coretta Scott King Book Award Winner

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 24, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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