A gentle look at daily beauty and at heartache that’s not caused by anyone doing anything wrong.

BIRDIE

For at least one young girl, a small town is a good place to navigate early crushes and long-term grief.

Twelve-year-old Birdie knows everything about birds. She doesn’t quite want to be one anymore, as she did when she was little, but she still drops hairs from her hairbrush onto the lawn because “there is something / light and feathery / in my heart / at the idea / that a bird / may be weaving / the hairs from my brush / into its nest.” Mom and Birdie came to live with great-grandmother Maymee in tiny Hadley Falls (too small for a public library) three years ago, after Birdie’s firefighter father was killed in the line of duty. The grief isn’t fresh but it’s ongoing—as are Maymee’s eccentricity (she interrupts church to identify an attractive new older worshiper), the five shelves of “lending library” in a neighbor’s pantry, and classmate Loretta’s preparation to become a therapist by “seeing” neighborhood kids as clients. The adults are all good, the kids occasionally grumpy but kind, and the town safe for 12-year-olds to roam. Even the pains of an unrequited crush or a new man in Mom’s life come with soft places to fall. Birdie’s free-verse narration is thoughtful and unhurried, and although it’s interior, it shows without telling. Birdie and her family seem white by default and cover art; absence of racial markers implies that everyone is white.

A gentle look at daily beauty and at heartache that’s not caused by anyone doing anything wrong. (Verse fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5513-8

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit...

NUMBER THE STARS

The author of the Anastasia books as well as more serious fiction (Rabble Starkey, 1987) offers her first historical fiction—a story about the escape of the Jews from Denmark in 1943.

Five years younger than Lisa in Carol Matas' Lisa's War (1989), Annemarie Johansen has, at 10, known three years of Nazi occupation. Though ever cautious and fearful of the ubiquitous soldiers, she is largely unaware of the extent of the danger around her; the Resistance kept even its participants safer by telling them as little as possible, and Annemarie has never been told that her older sister Lise died in its service. When the Germans plan to round up the Jews, the Johansens take in Annemarie's friend, Ellen Rosen, and pretend she is their daughter; later, they travel to Uncle Hendrik's house on the coast, where the Rosens and other Jews are transported by fishing boat to Sweden. Apart from Lise's offstage death, there is little violence here; like Annemarie, the reader is protected from the full implications of events—but will be caught up in the suspense and menace of several encounters with soldiers and in Annemarie's courageous run as courier on the night of the escape. The book concludes with the Jews' return, after the war, to homes well kept for them by their neighbors.

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit of riding alone in Copenhagen, but for their Jews. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1989

ISBN: 0547577095

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1989

Did you like this book?

This pitch-perfect contemporary novel gently explores the past’s repercussions on the present

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2016

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner

  • Schneider Family Book Award Winner

AS BRAVE AS YOU

Eleven-year-old Brooklynite Genie has “worry issues,” so when he and his older brother, Ernie, are sent to Virginia to spend a month with their estranged grandparents while their parents “try to figure it all out,” he goes into overdrive.

First, he discovers that Grandpop is blind. Next, there’s no Internet, so the questions he keeps track of in his notebook (over 400 so far) will have to go un-Googled. Then, he breaks the model truck that’s one of the only things Grandma still has of his deceased uncle. And he and Ernie will have to do chores, like picking peas and scooping dog poop. What’s behind the “nunya bidness door”? And is that a gun sticking out from Grandpop’s waistband? Reynolds’ middle-grade debut meanders like the best kind of summer vacation but never loses sense of its throughline. The richly voiced third-person narrative, tightly focused through Genie’s point of view, introduces both brothers and readers to this rural African-American community and allows them to relax and explore even as it delves into the many mysteries that so bedevil Genie, ranging from "Grits? What exactly are they?" to, heartbreakingly, “Why am I so stupid?” Reynolds gives his readers uncommonly well-developed, complex characters, especially the completely believable Genie and Grandpop, whose stubborn self-sufficiency belies his vulnerability and whose flawed love both Genie and readers will cherish.

This pitch-perfect contemporary novel gently explores the past’s repercussions on the present . (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-1590-3

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more