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CODE RED

Character-driven, thought-provoking, often funny, and, above all, timely.

Heather Sorensen rose from poverty to lead a major menstrual products company, but she’s MIA when her daughter gets her first period.

Eden, 13, was fulfilling Heather’s lofty dream for her future—Olympic medal–winning gymnast—until a growth spurt and injury cut it short. Though less invested in her divorced mother’s ambitions, Eden feels lost: Gymnastics always came first, leaving little time for friends. She rarely sees her pilot dad and is often alone in the enormous Seattle-area mansion she shares with Heather, whose high-profile career trumps parenting. Heather’s appearance at a career day assembly to extol her company, MySecret, leaves Eden feeling humiliated and a target for teasing. After she defends herself against a harassing boy with help from classmate Maribel, both girls are suspended. With Heather unreachable, Maribel’s mom brings them to the food pantry she manages, where Eden starts her period. Maribel’s Guatemalan immigrant family take to Eden, as do their friends Will, a trans boy, and his mom, Raven (who are White, like Eden). Raven’s small nonprofit makes and distributes free, reusable cloth menstrual pads. Learning about period poverty (and poverty, period), Eden ponders ways to fund period products and gets a crash course in income inequality, but her commitment to social justice strains her relationship with Heather. Readers learn about these subjects alongside Eden in a well-integrated way and will root for the quirky, well-rounded characters who challenge outdated cultural taboos.

Character-driven, thought-provoking, often funny, and, above all, timely. (author’s note, glossary, resources) (Fiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: June 13, 2023

ISBN: 9781534496262

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023

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WONDER

A memorable story of kindness, courage and wonder.

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After being home-schooled for years, Auggie Pullman is about to start fifth grade, but he’s worried: How will he fit into middle school life when he looks so different from everyone else?

Auggie has had 27 surgeries to correct facial anomalies he was born with, but he still has a face that has earned him such cruel nicknames as Freak, Freddy Krueger, Gross-out and Lizard face. Though “his features look like they’ve been melted, like the drippings on a candle” and he’s used to people averting their eyes when they see him, he’s an engaging boy who feels pretty ordinary inside. He’s smart, funny, kind and brave, but his father says that having Auggie attend Beecher Prep would be like sending “a lamb to the slaughter.” Palacio divides the novel into eight parts, interspersing Auggie’s first-person narrative with the voices of family members and classmates, wisely expanding the story beyond Auggie’s viewpoint and demonstrating that Auggie’s arrival at school doesn’t test only him, it affects everyone in the community. Auggie may be finding his place in the world, but that world must find a way to make room for him, too.

A memorable story of kindness, courage and wonder. (Fiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-86902-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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CHARLOTTE'S WEB

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

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