A book to inspire readers to be the change they want to see in the world.

PANDAS ON THE EASTSIDE

In 1972 the Chinese government gifted the people of the United States with two giant pandas. Prendergast imagines what might have happened to the pandas on their way to Washington, D.C., had the delivery not gone smoothly.

Ten-year-old Journey Wind Song lives in the Eastside, a neighborhood of Vancouver some consider a slum. To Journey, this is her community, and these are her friends. And as the book progresses, readers meet them all: the 15-year-old prostitute; the alcoholic living on the street; Nancy, her best friend; Miss Bickerstaff, the teacher whose brother has just died in Vietnam; Ben Wallace, a black American living in Canada to avoid the draft; Mr. Huang, the store owner from Taiwan; and many other beautifully portrayed characters, all seen compassionately but realistically through Journey’s eyes. And Journey? Her mom has red hair, pale skin, and freckles, while Journey has black hair that must have come from her dad, but Mom never talks about it. And then it all happens at the same time. The pandas on their way to Washington are stuck in diplomatic limbo in a warehouse in Vancouver, and the Cuban father she has never known shows up. What ensues is a community coming together to protect the pandas, inspired by a young girl’s single-minded earnestness and determination.

A book to inspire readers to be the change they want to see in the world. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1143-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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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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Entrancing and uplifting.

STAY

A small dog, the elderly woman who owns him, and a homeless girl come together to create a tale of serendipity.

Piper, almost 12, her parents, and her younger brother are at the bottom of a long slide toward homelessness. Finally in a family shelter, Piper finds that her newfound safety gives her the opportunity to reach out to someone who needs help even more. Jewel, mentally ill, lives in the park with her dog, Baby. Unwilling to leave her pet, and forbidden to enter the shelter with him, she struggles with the winter weather. Ree, also homeless and with a large dog, helps when she can, but after Jewel gets sick and is hospitalized, Baby’s taken to the animal shelter, and Ree can’t manage the complex issues alone. It’s Piper, using her best investigative skills, who figures out Jewel’s backstory. Still, she needs all the help of the shelter Firefly Girls troop that she joins to achieve her accomplishment: to raise enough money to provide Jewel and Baby with a secure, hopeful future and, maybe, with their kindness, to inspire a happier story for Ree. Told in the authentic alternating voices of loving child and loyal dog, this tale could easily slump into a syrupy melodrama, but Pyron lets her well-drawn characters earn their believable happy ending, step by challenging step, by reaching out and working together. Piper, her family, and Jewel present white; Pyron uses hair and naming convention, respectively, to cue Ree as black and Piper’s friend Gabriela as Latinx.

Entrancing and uplifting. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-283922-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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