GHOST GIRL

A BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAIN STORY

Eleven-year-old April Sloane lives an isolated life on Doubletop Mountain in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, so she doesn’t believe it when her friend Dewey Jessup claims to have met President Hoover at his new summer place down the mountain. But when the president starts a mountain school and hires Miss Vest as the new teacher, April’s world begins to expand. Miss Vest introduces her to such wonders as indoor plumbing, hot chocolate, marshmallows, reading, and the Sears, Roebuck catalogue. April gets to know Mrs. Hoover and even visits her at the White House. Though the outside world has its wonders, so does April’s mountain life, and with the help of Miss Vest, Aunt Birdy, and Mama, April finds her place in that world. Ray’s loving attention to setting, character, and detail makes this debut special, a quiet and subtle evocation of a time and a place based on real events and a real teacher. (author’s note) (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-33377-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2003

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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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