A quirky and vivid primer for parents to teach kids about environmentalism.

NIGHTHAWK AND LITTLE ELK

In this debut graphic novel, two siblings escape their foster mother and survive in the woods on wits, magic, and love.

Brother and Sister are First Nation children who live in a tightly knit community. One cruel day, they’re abducted and placed in foster care. Their new mother is Thoxweya, a witch from a lineage descended from the original woman of that name who lured children into the woods to eat them. In their new home, Brother and Sister become servants to Thoxweya and her daughter. When the siblings decide to run away one night, the witch curses all surrounding sources of water. While traveling through the woods, Brother tries to quench his thirst at a fountain, then a brook. Sister’s closeness to nature helps her hear the warnings, and she stops him. But eventually, he drinks from a spring and transforms into an elk. Brother and Sister come to terms with their new dilemma and choose to stay strong. They build a shelter in the woods of their people’s ancestral land, surviving on berries, roots, and mushrooms. Brother wears their grandmother’s locket around his furry neck for strength, but is it enough to protect him from a nearby camp of hunters? In this charming, educational tale, Harris uses bits from the Brothers Grimm (“Brüderchen und Schwesterchen”), the actual legend of Thoxweya, and her own fiction to illustrate sustainable living choices. Vibrant photography—especially the outdoor scenes—provides backgrounds while meticulously crafted dolls act out the script. Light digital effects add personality to the figures and magic to the transformations. At the end of the story, the author emphasizes underlying themes for her younger audience with a mock-up article titled “We Need to Protect the Planet We Depend On.” Boldface phrases, such as “vote with your pocket book,” “insincere politics,” and “even if it’s inconvenient and hard,” are ones adults should discuss in detail with children. Harris’ wisdom applies to readers of all ages: “Everyone should keep a vigilant eye on the goings-on in the world outside their own small one.”

A quirky and vivid primer for parents to teach kids about environmentalism.

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9959311-4-5

Page Count: 38

Publisher: TaleFeather Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

TELL ME LIES

Passion, friendship, heartbreak, and forgiveness ring true in Lovering's debut, the tale of a young woman's obsession with a man who's "good at being charming."

Long Island native Lucy Albright, starts her freshman year at Baird College in Southern California, intending to study English and journalism and become a travel writer. Stephen DeMarco, an upperclassman, is a political science major who plans to become a lawyer. Soon after they meet, Lucy tells Stephen an intensely personal story about the Unforgivable Thing, a betrayal that turned Lucy against her mother. Stephen pretends to listen to Lucy's painful disclosure, but all his thoughts are about her exposed black bra strap and her nipples pressing against her thin cotton T-shirt. It doesn't take Lucy long to realize Stephen's a "manipulative jerk" and she is "beyond pathetic" in her desire for him, but their lives are now intertwined. Their story takes seven years to unfold, but it's a fast-paced ride through hookups, breakups, and infidelities fueled by alcohol and cocaine and with oodles of sizzling sexual tension. "Lucy was an itch, a song stuck in your head or a movie you need to rewatch or a food you suddenly crave," Stephen says in one of his point-of-view chapters, which alternate with Lucy's. The ending is perfect, as Lucy figures out the dark secret Stephen has kept hidden and learns the difference between lustful addiction and mature love.

There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6964-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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