MY DARLIN’ CLEMENTINE

“Oh, my darlin’, oh, my darlin,’ oh, my darlin’ Clementine, / thou art lost and gone forever—” Gregory uses the familiar folksong as a jumping-off place for a surprisingly original story. In the fictional mining town of Nugget, Idaho, Clementine’s father is known as “Dry Boots” because arthritis prevents him from panning for gold in creeks. He rides with the local vigilantes and gambles himself deeper into debt; her mother cooks for local miners and keeps secrets of her own. Clementine longs to study medicine, but when she’s offered a chance to right her family’s fortunes via an arranged marriage, she doesn’t see how she can refuse. And yet—thanks to her now-dead mother’s influence—she can also see a way out. The first-person narrative brims with confident details, making the mining town and particularly the minor characters—Tall Sing, a Chinese immigrant who works for them, the miners Whiskey Nose and Jesse Blue, and the rest—come vividly to life. Highly recommended. (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2198-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2009

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Poignant, respectful, and historically accurate while pulsating with emotional turmoil, adventure, and suspense.

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REFUGEE

In the midst of political turmoil, how do you escape the only country that you’ve ever known and navigate a new life? Parallel stories of three different middle school–aged refugees—Josef from Nazi Germany in 1938, Isabel from 1994 Cuba, and Mahmoud from 2015 Aleppo—eventually intertwine for maximum impact.

Three countries, three time periods, three brave protagonists. Yet these three refugee odysseys have so much in common. Each traverses a landscape ruled by a dictator and must balance freedom, family, and responsibility. Each initially leaves by boat, struggles between visibility and invisibility, copes with repeated obstacles and heart-wrenching loss, and gains resilience in the process. Each third-person narrative offers an accessible look at migration under duress, in which the behavior of familiar adults changes unpredictably, strangers exploit the vulnerabilities of transients, and circumstances seem driven by random luck. Mahmoud eventually concludes that visibility is best: “See us….Hear us. Help us.” With this book, Gratz accomplishes a feat that is nothing short of brilliant, offering a skillfully wrought narrative laced with global and intergenerational reverberations that signal hope for the future. Excellent for older middle grade and above in classrooms, book groups, and/or communities looking to increase empathy for new and existing arrivals from afar.

Poignant, respectful, and historically accurate while pulsating with emotional turmoil, adventure, and suspense. (maps, author’s note) (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: July 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-88083-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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An outstanding new edition of this popular modern classic (Newbery Award, 1961), with an introduction by Zena Sutherland and...

ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS

Coming soon!!

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1990

ISBN: 0-395-53680-4

Page Count: -

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2000

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