An ultimately heartwarming, if somewhat stilted, new interpretation of a 95-year-old German kids’ book.

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Nesthäkchen in the Childrens Sanitorium

A translation of a beloved German children’s classic.

Translator Lehrer here presents a new English-language version of Ury’s 1921 novel, Nesthäkchen im Kinderheim, with helpful new annotations to provide context and catch resonances that might elude modern readers. This is the fourth book in a long series chronicling the adventures of Annemarie Braun, “a slim, golden blond, quintessential German girl” who’s the youngest child (or nesthäkchen) of a Berlin doctor at the turn of the 20th century. The series follows Annemarie from childhood to old age, and in this volume, she’s 10 years old when she’s stricken with scarlet fever and sent to a children’s sanitorium, called Wittdun, by the North Sea. The book dramatizes her voyage to Wittdun, her introduction to her new home, and how she gradually came to know the staff and children there. Annemarie is like a Teutonic Shirley Temple, always smiling, always slightly mischievous, and always bringing out the best in the people around her. Despite Lehrer’s best efforts, though, she tends to be a fairly stilted and dull heroine. However, the context of the surrounding social setting is fascinating—a snapshot of a vanished world presented with charming, black-and-white period illustrations. Ury’s narrative tone is amusingly sardonic at times—affectionate but assessing, as it aims to appeal to both children and their parents. Her portraits of the various adults that Annemarie encounters are refreshingly textured; they’re not the one-dimensional authority figures that were more typical of children’s books of the time. The story also handles Annemarie’s shifting emotions, from feeling forlorn to gradually coming to like many people at Wittdun, in a lively, often charming way. It’s easy to see why this series might have been so popular with German families nearly a century ago.

An ultimately heartwarming, if somewhat stilted, new interpretation of a 95-year-old German kids’ book.

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-5004-2458-9

Page Count: 210

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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Impressive world-building, breathtaking action and clear philosophical concerns make this volume, the beginning of a planned...

THE HUNGER GAMES

From the Hunger Games series , Vol. 1

Katniss Everdeen is a survivor.

She has to be; she’s representing her District, number 12, in the 74th Hunger Games in the Capitol, the heart of Panem, a new land that rose from the ruins of a post-apocalyptic North America. To punish citizens for an early rebellion, the rulers require each district to provide one girl and one boy, 24 in all, to fight like gladiators in a futuristic arena. The event is broadcast like reality TV, and the winner returns with wealth for his or her district. With clear inspiration from Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” and the Greek tale of Theseus, Collins has created a brilliantly imagined dystopia, where the Capitol is rich and the rest of the country is kept in abject poverty, where the poor battle to the death for the amusement of the rich. However, poor copyediting in the first printing will distract careful readers—a crying shame. [Note: Errors have been corrected in subsequent printings, so we are now pleased to apply the Kirkus star.]

Impressive world-building, breathtaking action and clear philosophical concerns make this volume, the beginning of a planned trilogy, as good as The Giver and more exciting. (Science fiction. 11 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-439-02348-1

Page Count: 394

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2008

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