HURRICANE DANCERS

Newbery Honor author Engle (The Surrender Tree, 2008) spins three intertwined tales in frequently lyrical free verse. In the Caribbean in 1509, the cruel pirate Bernardino de Talavera has captured brutal Alonso de Ojeda, governor of Venezuela and a former conquistador. Mixed-race slave boy Quebrado, whose name means “broken,” works on Talavera’s ship as a translator and deckhand. When a hurricane sinks the ship, the three find themselves washed up individually on an island inhabited by naturales, native Ciboney Indians. Caucubú, a chieftain’s daughter, wants desperately to avoid an arranged marriage and to pursue her love for Naridó, a fisherman. Engle continues to explore issues of captivity and freedom in the historical setting of her ancestors. She tells her tale in the alternating voices of her five main characters, all of whom are historical figures save Quebrado. Quebrado warns the Ciboney about the dangerous Spaniards, and the two are cast out. He helps the young lovers flee and claims true and total freedom for himself. Taken individually the stories are slight, but they work together elegantly; the notes and back matter make this a great choice for classroom use. (bibliography) (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9240-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2011

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Loosely based on Noble’s own grandmother’s story, this debut hits awfully close to home in the current anti-immigrant...

EVANGELINA TAKES FLIGHT

In 1911 during the Mexican Revolution, a Mexican family seeking refuge from Pancho Villa, soldiers, and violence migrates to Texas.

Debut novelist Noble introduces 13-year-old Evangelina de León—a self-aware, observant, caring daughter and sister—her six siblings, parents, and abuelo, who live on a ranch located outside of Mariposa, a small, northern (fictional) Mexican town. Days after her sister’s quinceañera and the news of imminent raids and violence, the family splits up and, in waves, arrive at a relative’s home in Texas. They have not left struggle behind, however. Signs that read “No Perros! No Negros! No Mexicanos!” tell them they are shunned at grocery stores. The political and racial tensions in their new hometown are not subtle: the family is denied a burial for a stillborn son; foreign-born children must use the woods as a bathroom instead of the school’s outhouse; a black boy is shot; a Lebanese kid is harassed; a young Mexican boy is spat upon; and both white children and adults are cruel to the immigrants in the neighborhood. Using the first person with Spanish sprinkled throughout, Noble propels the novel with vivid imagery and lovely prose, successfully guiding readers behind an immigrant family’s lens. Heartbreakingly real scenarios and the family’s perseverance will allow readers to forgive slow-moving sections.

Loosely based on Noble’s own grandmother’s story, this debut hits awfully close to home in the current anti-immigrant political climate. (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-55885-848-0

Page Count: 202

Publisher: Piñata Books/Arté Público

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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A poignant and life-affirming story from a master.

LISTEN TO THE MOON

War invades a peaceful English fishing community.

In May 1915 a fisherman and his son, Alfie, from the Scilly Isles west of Great Britain, find a little girl near death on a deserted island, take her home, and care for her. She does not speak but clings to a teddy bear and a blanket with a German name sewn on it. Naming her Lucy Lost, Alfie and his parents and a kindly and wise doctor nurture her with love, music from a gramophone, and drawing material. Months go by, and still no one can uncover any details about her life. But World War I is raging, the British harbor fierce anti-German sentiments, and when news of the name on her blanket spreads, the family is shunned. Morpurgo returns to the World War I of his much-lauded War Horse in a beautifully crafted, multivoiced novel about the sinking of the Lusitania, the strength of family bonds, the vicissitudes of memory, and the fear and bigotry of neighbors. Alfie’s third-person tale provides the main storyline, supported by other voices, including excerpts from the doctor’s journal and the narrow-minded school principal’s records of his horrible teaching theories. It is through Lucy’s voice that all the elements of the tale weave together both beautifully and dramatically.

A poignant and life-affirming story from a master. (author’s notes) (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-04204-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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