A well-researched, lively volume that leavens the Ellis Island experience with humor, fairy-tale magic, and an appealing...

Sailing Back To Ellis Island

From the The Enjella Adventure Series series , Vol. 2

A 21st-century brother and sister travel with two erudite fairy guides back to pre–World War I Ellis Island in the latest installment of an educational fantasy series for young readers.

In Storming Back to Key West (2013), the second book in Collen’s (The Magic Colors of Sparkleshire, 2015, etc.) adventure series, former Tooth Fairy Enjella and her fairy friend, Alicia, took 10-year-old Abigail and her young brother, Bennett, back to 1835 Florida, where they learned about lighthouse history and helped save ships during a hurricane. Other Enjella adventures were in picture-book formats, but here Abigail and Bennett return in a smart, nimble mix of history and fiction for older elementary- and middle-grade readers. The siblings—gifted by fairies with the ability to fly, shrink in size, become invisible, and speak various languages—journey to Ellis Island, where they observe the experiences of immigrants arriving in the United States in the early 1900s. Drawing upon her own family history, interviews, and historical documents, Collen provides a vivid picture of the events experienced by so many people that came to America, relating their hopes and fears, the crowds they encountered, the health inspections they endured, and the challenges they faced regarding language and cultural differences. Soon the focus shifts to individual immigrant children, because this magical journey, unbeknownst to Abigail and Bennett, is deeply related to their own ancestry. Collen admirably balances fact and fiction while also using humor—the fairies, for example, react to circumstances variously with confetti, fireworks, a disembodied congratulatory hand, and historic documents and paraphernalia, among other things. Accomplished illustrator Trumble’s (Twinkle, Twinkle, 2014, etc.) witty, full-page drawings and visual accents are a fine match for the text.

A well-researched, lively volume that leavens the Ellis Island experience with humor, fairy-tale magic, and an appealing plot.

Pub Date: June 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9855732-6-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Streamline Brands

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

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A persuasive, valuable addition to the ongoing immigration reform debate.



A highly organized, informative discussion of the immigration system in the United States.

In this politically charged environment, Afrasiabi manages to broach the volatile issue of immigration in a well-rounded, surprisingly effective framework that combines case studies, historical research, statistical analysis and personal anecdotes to detail the current issues and propose solutions. Invocations of Kafka, “The Twilight Zone” and “Alice in Wonderland” prove warranted as illustrations of the often surreal circumstances that confront immigrants facing deportation. Immigrants usually lack access to quality legal representation, while their situation can be made doubly difficult due to language barriers and significant cultural differences. Afrasiabi incorporates his work with colleagues and students at the Chapman University School of Law to deftly weave together the facts of several compelling cases and their underlying legal issues, with a genuine sense of suspense as readers wonder if justice will be truly be served. Occasionally, though, the narrative becomes overwrought—two federal laws passed in 1996 are “dark storm clouds depositing their sleet”—although, considering the life-changing effects of court decisions, it’s difficult to overstate the ramifications: extralegal rendition of individuals with pending cases and the de facto deportation of native-born children whose parents are deported. Afrasiabi also addresses the legacy of various anti-alien laws in California, as well as marriage equality for same-sex couples when one partner is a noncitizen. As the subtitle asserts, Afrasiabi employs his additional experience in the field of property law to contrast the stark differences between immigration judges and constitutional judges, like their qualifications, vetting processes and even the oaths they take. His arguments culminate in seven concrete reforms proposed in the conclusion. In order to make the immigration system more just and effective, Afrasiabi claims the solutions are closer than we may think; we can implement procedures and safeguards already in place within the constitutional courts.

A persuasive, valuable addition to the ongoing immigration reform debate.

Pub Date: May 1, 2012


Page Count: 249

Publisher: Kurti Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.


Walkley pits CIA agents against a maniacal Saudi prince intent on starting World War III in this debut thriller.

Delta Force operative Lee McCloud, aka Mac, finds himself in Mexico, trying to rescue two teenage girls kidnapped by a drug cartel. But things go from bad to worse when the villains don’t play by the rules. Framed for two murders he didn’t commit, Mac has two options: go to prison or go to work for a CIA black-op group run by the devious Wisebaum, who hacks into terrorists’ bank accounts and confiscates millions of dollars. However, there’s more going on than meets the eye; Saudi Prince Khalid is in possession of nuclear canisters, with which he hopes to alter world history. Khalid also dabbles in trafficking young women, and harvesting and selling human organs. When Wisebaum’s black-op team targets Khalid’s father, the action becomes even more intense. With so many interweaving subplots—kidnapped girls, Israeli undercover agents, nuclear weapons and a secret underwater hideout—it could be easy to lose track of what’s going on. But the author’s deft handling of the material ensures that doesn’t occur; subplots are introduced at the appropriate junctures and, by story’s end, all are accounted for and neatly concluded. Mac is portrayed as a rough and ready action-hero, yet his vulnerabilities will evoke empathy in readers. He finds a love interest in Tally, a hacker whose personality is just quirky enough to complement his own. All Walkley’s primary characters are fleshed out and realistic, with the exception of Wisebaum—a malicious, double-dealing, back-stabber of the worst ilk; the reader is left wondering about Wisebaum’s motivations behind such blatant treachery.

Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0980806601

Page Count: 412

Publisher: Marq Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2012

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