A vivid retelling of a pivotal time for the Cherokee nation.



A boy grapples with the return of his father, Sequoyah, and the creation of a Cherokee syllabary.

Bruchac reimagines a pivotal moment in Tsalagi (Cherokee) history through the eyes of a boy on the cusp of manhood. Uwohali’s father, Sequoyah, has returned from the West with a new wife and a daughter. Raised by his mother and uncles, Uwohali struggles between his longing to reconnect with his father and his loyalty to his mother’s clan. Complicating matters are the rumors that Sequoyah practices black magic. Drawn by the desire to learn something useful from his father, Uwohali reacquaints himself with Sequoyah. His father wishes to save Tsalagi tradition by creating a syllabary similar to the whites’ “talking leaves.” Soon Uwohali burns with the same desire as his father. He and his family must work together to convince the Tsalagi to adopt Sequoyah’s syllabary in order to preserve their culture and identity. Bruchac gives readers a vivid look into the life of a Cherokee boy in 1821. His extensive research is evidenced by details such as Tsalagi women’s prominent social status and a survivor’s retelling of the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. Themes of preserving identity and culture through both spoken and written language will appeal to readers of all ages.

A vivid retelling of a pivotal time for the Cherokee nation. (cast of characters, afterword, printed syllabary, glossary, further reading) (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3508-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 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...


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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Warm, delicious and filling.


What do you get when you take some scrumptious pie recipes, stir in a mix-up of a mystery involving an overweight cat and a legacy, then add a sly satirical nod to the Newbery Medal? This irresistible confection.  

In 1955, 10-year-old Alice’s beloved Aunt Polly, the peerless “Pie Queen of Ipswitch,” who has always given away the extraordinary products of her oven simply because it makes her happy, dies. She bequeaths her incomparable piecrust recipe to Lardo, her cat—or does she?—and leaves Lardo to Alice. Thus the stage is set for a rich, layered and funny tale about friendship, family relationships and doing what’s right. The characters are wonderfully drawn. While doing her best to carry on Aunt Polly’s legacy, trying to figure out how to wrest the secret from the cat, dealing with a nefarious woman poking around town and learning about the renowned “Blueberry Medal,” which everyone in town is trying to win, Alice draws closer to her mom, a resolution Aunt Polly would have cherished. Alice and her family eventually discover the solution to the mystery in a plot twist that is both comical and plausible. An epilogue, set in 1995, is deeply poignant and gratifying. In addition to the beautifully wrought story, readers will savor and want to attempt the 14 recipes, each of which precedes a chapter.

Warm, delicious and filling.   (recipes, pie credits) (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-545-27011-3

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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