An enthralling journey interwoven with historical realities.

OPHIE’S GHOSTS

A 12-year-old Black girl in 1920s Georgia learns she has the ability to commune with ghosts—and goes on to help solve a mysterious death.

Ophelia “Ophie” Harrison was startled awake by her father’s urgently telling her to grab their emergency money, wake her mother, and escape to the woods—just before White men came and burned their house to the ground. The next morning, she found out those same men had already murdered her father; what she had seen was his ghost. Her mother, dealing with her own grief and their new reality, is not ready to hear of Ophie’s talent, so after they move north to live with Aunt Rose and her family in Pittsburgh, Ophie is forced to keep quiet about it. She longs to attend school but starts working with her mother at Daffodil Manor, home to one of the city’s wealthiest families, so that they can save up for their own place. She soon discovers that ghosts fill the manor; one in particular, Clara, helps her satisfy the demands of the curmudgeonly old White lady who is their employer. In return, Ophie is determined to find out how Clara died. Once again, Ireland weaves together the fantastical with historical realities that Black Americans have faced. Ophie’s optimistic personality and the intrigue-filled story will keep pages turning all the way to the satisfying conclusion.

An enthralling journey interwoven with historical realities. (Paranormal mystery. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-291589-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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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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Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun

THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH

From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 1

It’s been 42 days since the Monster Apocalypse began, and 13-year-old Jack Sullivan, a self-proclaimed “zombie-fighting, monster-slaying tornado of cool” is on a quest to find and rescue his not-so-secret crush, June Del Toro, whether she needs it, wants it, or not.

Jack cobbles together an unlikely but endearing crew, including his scientist best friend, Quint Baker; Dirk Savage, Parker Middle School’s biggest bully; and a pet monster named Rover, to help him save the damsel in distress and complete the “ULTIMATE Feat of Apocalyptic Success.” Middle-grade readers, particularly boys, will find Jack’s pitch-perfect mix of humor, bravado, and self-professed geekiness impossible to resist. His sidekicks are equally entertaining, and it doesn’t hurt that there are also plenty of oozing, drooling, sharp-toothed monsters and zombies and a host of gizmos and gadgets to hook readers and keep them cheering with every turn of the page. Holgate’s illustrations play an integral role in the novel’s success. They not only bring Brallier’s characters to life, but also add depth and detail to the story, making plain just exactly how big Rover is and giving the lie to Jack’s “killer driving.” The marriage of text and illustration serves as a perfect example of what an illustrated novel can and should be.

Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun (. (Graphic/horror hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-670-01661-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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