BORN TO FLY

Eleven-year-old outcast Bird McGill feels she was born to fly. Luckily, her father’s work as a plane mechanic gives her the opportunity. In her small Rhode Island town, her imaginative stories aren’t taken seriously, but she really did see an enemy submarine in the bay in 1942. When she and her new friend, Kenji Fujita, try to take its picture, she stumbles onto a corpse and a murderous spy. It is her passion for the P-40 airplane flown by pilots at a nearby airfield that keeps other lives from being lost. Ferrari successfully recreates a time early in World War II, when anti-Japanese sentiment was high and fathers went to war and didn’t always return. Birdie’s first-person voice is convincing, and the narrative moves briskly. With this debut, the author aims to provide the kind of adventure for girls that boys often enjoy in children’s books. Middle-grade readers of either gender looking for suspenseful historical fiction won’t notice that the combination of events adds up to an unlikely story, but they will enjoy Bird’s flight. (Historical fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 14, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-385-73715-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2009

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This 2015 New Visions Award winner offers a complex narrative and inspires readers to check their privilege to address...

AHIMSA

Although Kelkar’s debut novel takes place in colonial India in the 1940s, when Indian citizens were fighting for independence from British rule, it is uncannily timely: 10-year old Anjali grapples with issues of social justice in many of the same ways young people are today.

When Anjali’s mother quits her job to become a freedom fighter, Anjali is reluctant to join the struggle, as it means she will have to eschew her decorated skirts and wear home-spun khadi (hand-woven cotton) instead, inviting the mockery of her school nemeses. But as her relationship with her mother evolves, her experience of and commitment to activism change as well. When her mother is imprisoned and commences a hunger strike, Anjali continues her work and begins to unlearn her prejudices. According to an author’s note, Kelkar was inspired by the biography of her great-grandmother Anasuyabai Kale, and the tale is enriched by the author’s proximity to the subject matter and access to primary sources. Kelkar also complicates Western impressions of Mohandas K. “Mahatma” Gandhi—Anjali realizes that Gandhi is flawed—and introduces readers to Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, a figure rarely mentioned in texts for young people in the United States but who is best known for campaigning against social discrimination of Dalits, or members of India’s lower castes.

This 2015 New Visions Award winner offers a complex narrative and inspires readers to check their privilege to address ongoing injustices. (Historical fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62014-356-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Tu Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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THE HOPE CHEST

Eleven-year-old Violet discovers to her outrage that her parents have been hiding letters sent to her by her much older sister, Chloe, who was cast out from the family for insisting that she wanted an education and a career, and for spending an inheritance earmarked for her hope chest on a Model T (christened The Hope Chest). Violet runs away to New York City in search of Chloe, but the information in the letters is out-of-date, and Chloe, now fighting for women’s suffrage, has moved on. Violet teams up with Myrtle, an African-American orphan on the lam from a maid’s school, and Mr. Martin, Chloe’s friend, who’s wanted by police for speaking out against the Great War; together they search for Chloe in the context of the Cause. Everything comes to a head in Nashville, where the suffragists’ best hope for the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment depends on the votes of a very few potentially bribable men. Schwabach tackles issues of race, class and courage head-on while never letting the plot hesitate. A fascinating account of a rarely studied part of history. (historical notes, timeline) (Historical fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-375-84095-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2007

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