An urgent, timely narrative.


When helicopters of the Sit Tat, Myanmar’s army, arrive in their northern Rakhine province town, 14-year-old Hasina fears for her family and their Rohingya Muslim community.

State broadcasts depict the Rohingya as “Chittagonian Bengali Muslims,” foreign terrorists, and attempt to pit Buddhist and Muslim neighbors against one another. When the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army clashes with the Sit Tat, the latter immediately retaliates with violence, burning Rohingya homes. Hasina, her 6-year-old brother, and her 13-year-old cousin, flee into the forest, her father charging Hasina to keep them all safe and promising to come for them. But after days in the forest avoiding soldiers, the children make their way back only to find the adults gone, possibly rounded up. As Hasina desperately seeks to learn where the adults have been taken or if they are even alive, she must also figure out how the children can survive and stay safe even as people try to exploit them—or worse. In this novel, Burmese Australian author Aung Thin introduces young readers to the plight of the Rohingya, alluding to the horrors and violence of targeted persecution while also addressing how decades of authoritarian and military rule have affected the entirety of the country. An abrupt ending jars readers but emphasizes that for children in conflict zones, safety is elusive. Characters are Rohingya, Mro, and Burmese; Islamic terms are localized to both Rohingya language and context.

An urgent, timely narrative. (author’s note, timeline, glossary, resources) (Fiction. 11-15)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77321-397-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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An eclectic collection for adventurous readers.


An opening note from Colfer identifies this anthology as his project as (former) Laureate na nÓg to bring Irish children’s literature to Ireland and abroad.

As such, children this side of the pond will find some unfamiliar authors among others better known in the U.S. Whether story or poem, 17 works in all, place is center stage. Judging by some of the themes that carry through the collection—preternatural occurrences, memory, ghosts, family, loss, and, most of all, transformation—readers may well assume that that place, Ireland, has also shaped the sensibilities of the talents. Some pieces are easily digested, such as Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick’s “Gren’s Ghost,” wherein two boys, unlikely partners, stage a prank in an ancient priory and one emerges with a new identity, or Colfer’s contribution, “The Ram King,” in which the daughter of a king fearlessly takes control of her own fate. Other image-rich pieces will be picked apart over a lifetime, such as a stranger’s heartfelt relief in “Bus Stop,” by Pat Boran, or a soul’s voyage in “Stream Time,” by Oisín McGann. Unsurprisingly, most of the characters are white, but Paula Leyden acknowledges Ireland’s growing multiculturalism with a story about a Japanese ghost. Under Colfer’s editorial hand, pieces flow flawlessly from one to the next. Illustrator (and the new Laureate na nÓg) Lynch’s charcoal illustrations not only capture settings, but gorgeously evoke emotion, whether tender, playful, searching, or searing.

An eclectic collection for adventurous readers.   (foreword, contributor bios) (Anthology. 11-14)

Pub Date: June 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-910411-37-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Little Island/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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A patchy tale flickering repeatedly from light to dark and back.


From the Phantom Files series

Alex’s ability to talk with ghosts puts him in famous company when he and his mom move to Hannibal, Missouri.

Alex, 13, is driven by bitter determination to keep his lifelong ability secret, since it’s already led to a diagnosis of schizophrenia that drove his parents apart and cost his mother a decent job, but it’s not easy. For one thing, his new friend, Bones, is a positively obsessed amateur ghost hunter, and for another, ghosts just won’t leave him alone no matter how rudely he treats them. Notable among the latter is Mark Twain himself, as acerbic and wily as he was in life, who is on the verge of involuntarily degenerating into a raging poltergeist unless Alex can find the unspecified, titular treasure. Alex’s search takes him through Clemens’ writings and tragic private life as well as many of the town’s related attractions on the way to a fiery climax in the public library. Meanwhile, Alex has an apotheosis of his own, deciding that lying to conceal his ability and his unhappy past isn’t worth the sacrifice of a valued friendship. Conveniently for the plot’s needs, Clemens and other ghosts can interact with the physical world at will. Wolfe parlays Alex’s ingrained inability to ignore ectoplasmic accosters into some amusing cross-conversations that help lighten his protagonist’s hard inner tests. The cast, living and otherwise, presents as white.

A patchy tale flickering repeatedly from light to dark and back. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: June 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-940924-29-8

Page Count: 250

Publisher: Dreaming Robot

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

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