CABBY POTTS, DUCHESS OF DIRT

Cabby’s family are homesteaders in Kansas; fires and grasshoppers destroy their crops, but Cabby is determined to continue farming.

Twelve-year-old Catherine “Cabby” Potts isn’t aware that her parents may lose their claim until they force her to go work in Lady Ashford’s prairie manor. With no crops to sell, the family needs her wages. Independent-minded Cabby hates servitude and resents the classism of snooty Londoner Lady Ashford and her youngest son, Nigel. But that doesn’t stop her from matchmaking her sister, Emmeline, with Nigel, thinking the marriage will solve the family’s financial woes. To Cabby’s shock, although Nigel initially seemed interested in Emmeline, he in fact looks down on her. Cabby also discovers that Nigel and his associates are tricking her family and other homesteaders out of land they claimed for themselves. This storyline is juxtaposed with Cabby’s growing understanding of how these families acquired their land at the cost of Kiowa, Cheyenne, Kansa, and Wichita people. She becomes aware of the way her White neighbors disdain the town’s remaining Kiowa residents. With each episodic adventure narrated in Cabby’s first-person voice, Cabby earns the grudging respect of Lady Ashford and the trust of her Kiowa and White friend, Eli Lewis, a boy who works as the Ashfords’ groom. Throughout, she questions the nature of love and partnership, and, with new self-confidence, she ultimately exposes the fraudsters. Despite life’s uncertainties, one thing is clear: Cabby will determine her own path.

A rousing read. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-956378-05-4

Page Count: 252

Publisher: Blue Bronco Books

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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A story of fierce friendship, bravery, loyalty, and finding—or making—a place to belong.

THE MIDNIGHT CHILDREN

Ravani Foster and the whole town of Slaughterville are changed by the arrival of seven unusual children.

Skinny, lonely Ravani is the only one who sees the children arrive and move into the house across the street, and he soon finds a comrade in tough, golden-haired Virginia. Despite the local newspaper owner’s assertion that Slaughterville is not the kind of town where exciting things happen, Ravani’s life changes dramatically as Virginia and her chosen family of parentless kids calling themselves the Ragabonds let him in on their secret: They are on the run. When vicious bully Donnie learns that the Ragabonds are being pursued, he blackmails Ravani, who is desperate to protect them and equally desperate for Virginia, his first friend, to stay. She introduces him to the quietly revolutionary idea that things don’t have to be the way they’ve always been. The omniscient narrative voice is a strong presence throughout, drawing readers’ attention to themes including choices that make a difference, connections between people (“Sometimes, when two souls find each other in the darkness, the darkness goes away”), deciding who you want to be and not letting others define you, and the importance of home and family. Brief chapters from the perspective of the man hunting the Ragabonds ratchet up the suspense, culminating in an exciting sequence of events followed by a heartwarming ending. All main characters are coded White.

A story of fierce friendship, bravery, loyalty, and finding—or making—a place to belong. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-19672-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

GHOSTS

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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