An accessible and absorbing portrait of empathy, character, and moral courage, relevant for modern times.

LOUDER THAN WORDS

From the Heroes Quartet series , Vol. 3

A Christian family housekeeper puts herself at risk when she becomes the main caretaker for three Jewish sisters in World War II Ukraine.

Twelve-year-old Eldina “Dina” Sternik is a Jewish girl living in Proskurov, in Soviet Ukraine, when the Nazis take over in 1941. Dina’s first-person narrative brings readers directly through the loss of freedoms experienced by Ukrainian Jews, as the park, school, and market become off-limits and Jews must wear yellow Stars of David on their clothing whenever they go out. After a fire leaves them homeless, Nina, their Christian housekeeper, registers the children as her own so that the Sternik family may receive alternative housing and not be identified by their true religion. The contrast between Nina’s treatment of the Sterniks and the hostility shown by Dina’s estranged uncle’s Christian wife speaks volumes of the importance of the righteous individual. Nina treats them as the family that she never had and cares for the children for several years once their mother is imprisoned in the Jewish ghetto. Reminiscent of Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars (1989), this is Kacer’s third novel in the Heroes Quartet series and is based on the true story of Nina Pukas, named one of the Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem.

An accessible and absorbing portrait of empathy, character, and moral courage, relevant for modern times. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77321-354-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2014

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Newbery Medal Winner

THE CROSSOVER

Basketball-playing twins find challenges to their relationship on and off the court as they cope with changes in their lives.

Josh Bell and his twin, Jordan, aka JB, are stars of their school basketball team. They are also successful students, since their educator mother will stand for nothing else. As the two middle schoolers move to a successful season, readers can see their differences despite the sibling connection. After all, Josh has dreadlocks and is quiet on court, and JB is bald and a trash talker. Their love of the sport comes from their father, who had also excelled in the game, though his championship was achieved overseas. Now, however, he does not have a job and seems to have health problems the parents do not fully divulge to the boys. The twins experience their first major rift when JB is attracted to a new girl in their school, and Josh finds himself without his brother. This novel in verse is rich in character and relationships. Most interesting is the family dynamic that informs so much of the narrative, which always reveals, never tells. While Josh relates the story, readers get a full picture of major and minor players. The basketball action provides energy and rhythm for a moving story.

Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch. (Verse fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-10771-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

NIGHTBIRD

There’s a monster in Sidwell, Massachusetts, that can only be seen at night or, as Twig reveals, if passersby are near her house.

It’s her older brother, James, born with wings just like every male in the Fowler line for the last 200 years. They were cursed by the Witch of Sidwell, left brokenhearted by their forebear Lowell Fowler. Twig and James are tired of the secret and self-imposed isolation. Lonely Twig narrates, bringing the small town and its characters to life, intertwining events present and past, and describing the effects of the spell on her fractured family’s daily life. Longing for some normalcy and companionship, she befriends new-neighbor Julia while James falls in love with Julia’s sister, Agate—only to learn they are descendants of the Witch. James and Agate seem as star-crossed as their ancestors, especially when the townspeople attribute a spate of petty thefts and graffiti protesting the development of the woods to the monster and launch a hunt. The mix of romance and magic is irresistible and the tension, compelling. With the help of friends and through a series of self-realizations and discoveries, Twig grows more self-assured. She is certain she knows how to change the curse. In so doing, Twig not only changes James’ fate, but her own, for the first time feeling the fullness of family, friends and hope for the future.

Enchanting. (Magical realism. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-38958-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

more