Patterns, codes, mysteries, and storytelling are an appealing middle-grade draw.

THE STORY SEEKER

A NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY BOOK

From the Story Collector series , Vol. 2

An intrepid lover of stories and her two best friends crack the case of the missing library books.

Viviani and her family, based in fact, live in the superintendent’s apartment of the New York Public Library in the 1920s. She and her brothers and friends solved a spooky mystery in their first outing, The Story Collector (2018). Now the librarians are dealing with the theft of several rare and irreplaceable medical books. Noticing a pattern to the thefts, Viviani is determined to solve the case. At the same time, she is excited to enter a writing contest for the New York Times about friendship. With Millions of Cats as her inspiration, the proudly self-styled “story collector” wins the contest. Tubb portrays the 11-year-old as an unabashed book enthusiast with a fondness for codes. The major characters all present as white with exceptions in the form of friends Eva from Armenia and Merit from Egypt—with Viviani, they become a trio known as the Moppets. With librarians who possess a special shushing power, a tuberculosis epidemic, and a theatrical outing, readers get a brief glimpse of period New York City life. Each chapter is labeled with a Dewey Decimal subject and number as well as see-also references. The answers to the codes that help solve the crime are revealed in the back of the book. (Black-and-white full-page line drawings not seen.)

Patterns, codes, mysteries, and storytelling are an appealing middle-grade draw. (author’s note) (Historical mystery. 9-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-30109-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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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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Japanese-American Aki and her family operate an asparagus farm in Westminster, Calif., until they are summarily uprooted and...

SYLVIA & AKI

Two third-grade girls in California suffer the dehumanizing effects of racial segregation after the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor in 1942 in this moving story based on true events in the lives of Sylvia Mendez and Aki Munemitsu.

Japanese-American Aki and her family operate an asparagus farm in Westminster, Calif., until they are summarily uprooted and dispatched to an internment camp in Poston, Ariz., for the duration of World War II. As Aki endures the humiliation and deprivation of the hot, cramped barracks, she wonders if there’s “something wrong with being Japanese.” Sylvia’s Mexican-American family leases the Munemitsu farm. She expects to attend the local school but faces disappointment when authorities assign her to a separate, second-rate school for Mexican kids. In response, Sylvia’s father brings a legal action against the school district arguing against segregation in what eventually becomes a successful landmark case. Their lives intersect after Sylvia finds Aki’s doll, meets her in Poston and sends her letters. Working with material from interviews, Conkling alternates between Aki and Sylvia’s stories, telling them in the third person from the war’s start in 1942 through its end in 1945, with an epilogue updating Sylvia’s story to 1955.

Pub Date: July 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-337-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2011

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