Despite this point, children will find this an exciting, eye-opening read.

READ REVIEW

RORY'S PROMISE

From the Hidden Histories series

This first in the Hidden Histories series of middle-grade novels highlights an episode in which New York City’s Foundling Hospital sent white youth to unfamiliar Arizona Territory to be adopted by Mexican Catholics, raising the ire of Protestant Anglos and revealing the depths of their prejudice.

Ever since Rory Fitzpatrick and her baby sister, Violet, arrived at the Foundling after their parents died, Rory has worked to remain with Vi. It seems for naught when Sister Anna decides to send Vi west to be placed. Rather than lose her last family member, Rory stows away on the train, appearing only when she cannot be sent back. It’s a good thing, too, as the nuns cannot care for the tots without Rory’s help. And when they arrive in Clifton to a riot caused by desperate, angry white women, only Rory fully understands the threat. Although Rory’s heroism is improbable, youngsters will find it heartening. Rory escapes when kidnapped, then negotiates a deal to secure safe passage for the majority of orphans and nuns—all before the happy ending. The injustice, drama and action will have readers riveted. A historical note sheds some light on the complicated issues. However, why so many women gave up their babies will warrant discussion, given Rory’s conflicted view of the matter (she makes a somewhat disturbing distinction between being an orphan and a foundling).

Despite this point, children will find this an exciting, eye-opening read. (Historical fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62091-623-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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It’s not the first time old Ben has paid our times a call, but it’s funny and free-spirited, with an informational load that...

BEN FRANKLIN'S IN MY BATHROOM!

Antics both instructive and embarrassing ensue after a mysterious package left on their doorstep brings a Founding Father into the lives of two modern children.

Summoned somehow by what looks for all the world like an old-time crystal radio set, Ben Franklin turns out to be an amiable sort. He is immediately taken in hand by 7-year-old Olive for a tour of modern wonders—early versions of which many, from electrical appliances in the kitchen to the Illinois town’s public library and fire department, he justly lays claim to inventing. Meanwhile big brother Nolan, 10, tags along, frantic to return him to his own era before either their divorced mom or snoopy classmate Tommy Tuttle sees him. Fleming, author of Ben Franklin’s Almanac (2003) (and also, not uncoincidentally considering the final scene of this outing, Our Eleanor, 2005), mixes history with humor as the great man dispenses aphorisms and reminiscences through diverse misadventures, all of which end well, before vanishing at last. Following a closing, sequel-cueing kicker (see above) she then separates facts from fancies in closing notes, with print and online leads to more of the former. To go with spot illustrations of the evidently all-white cast throughout the narrative, Fearing incorporates change-of-pace sets of sequential panels for Franklin’s biographical and scientific anecdotes. Final illustrations not seen.

It’s not the first time old Ben has paid our times a call, but it’s funny and free-spirited, with an informational load that adds flavor without weight. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93406-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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A moving exploration of the places we come from and the people who shape us—not to be missed.

SOME PLACES MORE THAN OTHERS

On a birthday trip to New York City, a girl learns about her roots, Harlem, and how to stay true to herself.

Eleven-year-old sneakerhead Amara is struggling to feel seen and heard. A new baby sister is on the way, her mom still wants to put her in dresses, and that birthday trip from the Portland, Oregon, suburbs to New York City that she so desperately wants feels out of reach. When Amara gets a family-history assignment, she is finally able to convince her mom to say yes to the trip, since it will allow Amara to meet her dad’s side of the family in person. In addition to the school project, her mom gives Amara a secret mission: get her dad and grandpa to spend time alone together to repair old wounds. Harlem proves unlike any place Amara has ever been, and as she explores where her father grew up she experiences black history on every street. Watson is a master at character development, with New York City and especially Harlem playing central roles. Through her all-black cast she seamlessly explores issues of identity, self, and family acceptance. Although the ending feels rushed, with no resolution between Amara and her mom, Amara’s concluding poem is powerful.

A moving exploration of the places we come from and the people who shape us—not to be missed. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68119-108-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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