THE BOY FROM SEVILLE

It is 17th-century Spain, the time of the Inquisition, and 11-year-old Manuel Nuñez has just learned a shocking secret from his parents: They are Jews. Having fled Portugal, the family, nominally “New Christians,” live in terrible fear that their true religious convictions, practiced in tightly guarded secrecy, will be discovered. The novel, translated from the original Hebrew, does a good job of capturing the time and the dread, though a lot of explanation slows the pace. Jews caught practicing their faith were subject to severe punishment or death by fire. Complicating matters is Manuel’s growing bond with the mysterious girl next door; his Christian tutor’s almost-love affair with Manuel’s sister; and Manuel’s feeling compelled to join a local gang to hide his identity. The story moves along and ends happily with the Nuñez family escaping by sea to more tolerant Holland. Readers will feel the injustice of Manuel’s and the other Jews’ plight, but characterization isn’t skillfully handled—some actors in the drama seem mere types—and dialogue and Manuel’s first-person narration are clipped and often seem unrealistic. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-1-58013-253-4

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2007

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CREATION

READ-ALOUD STORIES FROM MANY LANDS

Defining creation liberally, Pilling (Realms of Gold, 1993, etc.) includes pourquoi tales among the 16 here, retold in a uniform, easy style that does indeed lend itself to reading aloud—especially since the typeface is large and well-leaded. Presented in three general groups—beginnings, warmth and light, and animals—the familiar stories include the opening chapter of Genesis and the myth of Persephone (``How a Girl Brought About The Seasons''), while those less familiar range from the somber Norse ``How Everything Came from Fire and Ice'' to a tale from Sri Lanka in which an irritated servant girl whacks the low clouds with a broom until they float up beyond reach. Foreman's many illustrations only occasionally evoke a particular culture; in general they are his own interpretations, featuring small, sketchy figures placed on radiant backgrounds done in what looks like watercolors applied to wet paper. Pilling does not cite specific sources for each story, and next to Virginia Hamilton's In the Beginning (1988), this collection seems limited and scattershot; still, the selections are well- chosen for sharing, and for showing how cultures may differ while the big issues remain the same. (bibliography) (Folklore. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1997

ISBN: 1-56402-888-7

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1997

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  • SPONSORED PLACEMENT

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

AFTER ALL I'VE DONE

A middle-aged woman sidelined by a horrific accident finds even sharper pains waiting on the other side of her recuperation in this expert nightmare by Hardy, familiar to many readers as Megan Hart, author of All the Secrets We Keep (2017), etc.

Five months ago, while she was on her way to the hospital with an ailing gallbladder, Diana Sparrow’s car hit a deer on a rural Pennsylvania road. When she awoke, she was minus her gallbladder, two working collarbones (and therefore two functioning arms), and her memory. During a recovery that would’ve been impossible without the constant ministrations of Harriett Richmond, the mother-in-law who’s the real reason Diana married her husband, Jonathan, Diana’s discovered that Jonathan has been cheating on her with her childhood friend Valerie Delagatti. Divorce is out of the question: Diana’s grown used to the pampered lifestyle the prenup she’d signed would snatch away from her. Every day is filled with torments. She slips and falls in a pool of wine on her kitchen floor she’s sure she didn’t spill herself. At the emergency room, her credit card and debit card are declined. She feels that she hates oppressively solicitous Harriett but has no idea why. Her sessions with her psychiatrist fail to heal her rage at her adoptive mother, an addict who abandoned her then returned only to disappear again and die an ugly death. Even worse, her attempts to recover her lost memory lead to an excruciatingly paced series of revelations. Val says Diana asked her to seduce Jonathan. Diana realizes that Cole, a fellow student in her watercolor class, isn’t the stranger she’d thought he was. Where can this maze of deceptions possibly end?

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64385-470-0

Page Count: 310

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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TO BIGOTRY NO SANCTION

THE STORY OF THE OLDEST SYNAGOGUE IN AMERICA

The Touro Synagogue of Newport, Rhode Island, is the oldest Jewish house of worship in the US; Fisher traces its history and details the design and construction of the beautiful two-story Georgian-style building, describing “the quietness of the building’s exterior, its gentleness” which “belied the tormented history of its congregants, resolute in their beliefs.” Constructed from 1759—1763, the synagogue was the focus of President George Washington’s comments in 1790 that “the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.” This well-documented history will remind readers that the US was settled by people of many faiths who were united in their “search for freedom and peace of mind.” (photos and reproductions, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 1999

ISBN: 0-8234-1401-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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