A grand slam in every way.

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OUT OF LEFT FIELD

Katy’s such a good pitcher that she is accepted as one of the boys on the local sandlot in 1957 San Francisco.

She calls herself Casey and tries out for Little League as a boy. She makes the team, but her ruse is discovered, and she is ruled ineligible. But Katy is from a family of strong, highly educated women, and she will not give up. In a reply to her letter to Little League headquarters, she is informed that the game had always been solely for males. Determined to find proof that girls have played baseball, Katy meticulously begins her research, enlarging her parameters to dovetail it with an assigned fifth-grade project. Her first discovery is of Jackie Mitchell, the girl who struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in 1931. She delves deeper and discovers that “girl’s baseball had a lot of history, but not a lot of now.” Klages seamlessly interweaves Katy’s research with the world-changing events of 1957, from Sputnik to Little Rock, allowing readers to access the information with Katy. She is Jewish, and her friends are Jewish, Japanese, African-American, white, and more—both ethnicity and race play important roles in the tale. Katy can’t win the battle, but readers with be enthralled by both her spirit and the stories of the real women of baseball, thumbnail bios of whom appear in the backmatter.

A grand slam in every way. (author’s notes, glossary, recommended reading, acknowledgements) (Historical fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-425-28859-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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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

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This 2015 New Visions Award winner offers a complex narrative and inspires readers to check their privilege to address...

AHIMSA

Although Kelkar’s debut novel takes place in colonial India in the 1940s, when Indian citizens were fighting for independence from British rule, it is uncannily timely: 10-year old Anjali grapples with issues of social justice in many of the same ways young people are today.

When Anjali’s mother quits her job to become a freedom fighter, Anjali is reluctant to join the struggle, as it means she will have to eschew her decorated skirts and wear home-spun khadi (hand-woven cotton) instead, inviting the mockery of her school nemeses. But as her relationship with her mother evolves, her experience of and commitment to activism change as well. When her mother is imprisoned and commences a hunger strike, Anjali continues her work and begins to unlearn her prejudices. According to an author’s note, Kelkar was inspired by the biography of her great-grandmother Anasuyabai Kale, and the tale is enriched by the author’s proximity to the subject matter and access to primary sources. Kelkar also complicates Western impressions of Mohandas K. “Mahatma” Gandhi—Anjali realizes that Gandhi is flawed—and introduces readers to Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, a figure rarely mentioned in texts for young people in the United States but who is best known for campaigning against social discrimination of Dalits, or members of India’s lower castes.

This 2015 New Visions Award winner offers a complex narrative and inspires readers to check their privilege to address ongoing injustices. (Historical fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62014-356-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Tu Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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