Shows how, for refugees, the struggle for survival doesn’t end when you leave home.

WORLD IN BETWEEN

BASED ON A TRUE REFUGEE STORY

The 1992 Serbian invasion and subsequent massacre of Muslims and Catholics in Bosnia comes out of the blue for 11-year-old Kenan.

One day he’s playing soccer with his friends, and the next, they’re treating him like an outsider. His teacher, Mr. Miran, threatens to shoot him in the street. Why? Because Kenan is Muslim. And so begins his story of survival. Escaping Bosnia with his family, after passing through checkpoints with the constant fear of being thrown into internment camps, they land in Vienna as refugees, stripped of all their belongings. Once financially and socially thriving, now they survive on the generosity of strangers, shepherded from home to home. Just as Kenan is adapting to Vienna, learning German and memorizing the trolley routes, his family is brought to small-town Connecticut. While his parents begin minimum-wage jobs, Kenan starts school and learns to deal with language barriers and bullying, all the while keeping up with the progression of the war in Bosnia. The question of whether they can ever return home never once leaves his mind. Based on true events in Trebinčević’s life, this account reflects aspects of the stories of millions of refugees fleeing war. At times, the level of detail feels excessive and the story too drawn out, but this title shows how, despite cultural and geographic differences, people everywhere are sometimes drawn to malice but more often to generosity and good.

Shows how, for refugees, the struggle for survival doesn’t end when you leave home. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-43987-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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THE ONE AND ONLY BOB

Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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