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

READ REVIEW

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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It’s great to see these kids “so enthusiastic about committing high treason.” (historical note) (Historical fiction. 10-12)

THE CONSPIRACY

From the Plot to Kill Hitler series , Vol. 1

Near the end of World War II, two kids join their parents in a plot to kill Adolf Hitler.

Max, 12, lives with his parents and his older sister in a Berlin that’s under constant air bombardment. During one such raid, a mortally wounded man stumbles into the white German family’s home and gasps out his last wish: “The Führer must die.” With this nighttime visitation, Max and Gerta discover their parents have been part of a resistance cell, and the siblings want in. They meet a colorful band of upper-class types who seem almost too whimsical to be serious. Despite her charming levity, Prussian aristocrat and cell leader Frau Becker is grimly aware of the stakes. She enlists Max and Gerta as couriers who sneak forged identification papers to Jews in hiding. Max and Gerta are merely (and realistically) cogs in the adults’ plans, but there’s plenty of room for their own heroism. They escape capture, rescue each other when they’re caught out during an air raid, and willingly put themselves repeatedly at risk to catch a spy. The fictional plotters—based on a mix of several real anti-Hitler resistance cells—are portrayed with a genuine humor, giving them the space to feel alive even in such a slim volume.

It’s great to see these kids “so enthusiastic about committing high treason.” (historical note) (Historical fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35902-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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