KALPANA’S DREAM

When Neema’s Indian great-grandmother Kalpana comes to visit her in Australia, she brings with her a dream of flying just a few inches above the ground. At the end of her flight, Kalpana thought, she would see the face of her husband who had died when he was only 20. Seventh-grader Neema dreams of Gull, the good-looking boy who seems oddly familiar, while her best friend Kate dreams of a room of her own. These dreams intersect in unexpected ways during Kalpana’s visit. At school, English teacher Ms. Dallimore, aka the bride of Dracula, has assigned an essay, “Who am I?” Like her classmates, Neema struggles to figure that out. This complex narrative is told from the point of view of various family members, friends, the teacher and even the school cleaning woman, in a way that might be confusing to readers unaccustomed to a fully omniscient narrator. Nevertheless, the humor in this intricate blend of fairy tale elements, Indian culture, school story, friendship and family tensions should carry them through to the warmly satisfying ending. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 15, 2005

ISBN: 1-932425-22-5

Page Count: 168

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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WHAT THE MOON SAW

When Clara Luna, 14, visits rural Mexico for the summer to visit the paternal grandparents she has never met, she cannot know her trip will involve an emotional and spiritual journey into her family’s past and a deep connection to a rich heritage of which she was barely aware. Long estranged from his parents, Clara’s father had entered the U.S. illegally years before, subsequently becoming a successful business owner who never spoke about what he left behind. Clara’s journey into her grandmother’s history (told in alternating chapters with Clara’s own first-person narrative) and her discovery that she, like her grandmother and ancestors, has a gift for healing, awakens her to the simple, mystical joys of a rural lifestyle she comes to love and wholly embrace. Painfully aware of not fitting into suburban teen life in her native Maryland, Clara awakens to feeling alive in Mexico and realizes a sweet first love with Pedro, a charming goat herder. Beautifully written, this is filled with evocative language that is rich in imagery and nuance and speaks to the connections that bind us all. Add a thrilling adventure and all the makings of an entrancing read are here. (glossaries) (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2006

ISBN: 0-385-73343-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2006

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THE ROCK AND THE RIVER

This compelling debut novel set in 1968 Chicago vividly depicts how one African-American family is torn between two opposiing approaches to the Civil Rights Movement. Fourteen-year-old Sam is the son of minister and civil-rights leader Roland Childs, a revered community figure and movement heavyweight whose counsel is sought by Martin Luther King Jr. Sam finds his faith in and respect for his father’s stalwart commitment to nonviolence shaken when he discovers that Stick, his older brother and best friend, is involved with the Black Panthers. Sam is torn between the two people he looks up to most. As he poignantly wrestles over which direction to take, Sam both observes and experiences firsthand the injustice of racism. It takes a terrible tragedy for Sam to choose between “the rock and the river.” Magoon is unflinching in her depictions of police brutality and racism. She offers readers a perspective that is rarely explored, showing that racial prejudices were not confined to the South and that the Civil Rights Movement was a truly national struggle. (historical note) (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4169-7582-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2008

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