JAYHAWKER

From the late author of many fine historicals, an authentic picture of a boy caught in the turmoil of the Civil War— abolitionist Lije Tulley, 13, already experienced in the bitter strife between Missouri and Kansas, is sent to Missouri to spy on Quantrill's raiders. Strong adherents of the fanatical John Brown, the Tulleys are among the ``Jayhawkers'' who rescue slaves from Missouri before the war. Lije sees his Pa killed during a raid; later, in retaliation, the family's house is burned by Missouri ``Bushwackers.'' Hoping to avenge these wrongs and help the Union, Lije agrees in 1861 to pose as a Bushwacker supporter. During two years on a Missouri farm, he meets raiders Frank and Jesse James and Jim (later ``Wild Bill'') Hickok as well as Quantrill, fearfully participating in their activities but successfully evading hurting anyone on his true side. When Jesse catches Lije passing information, Hickok surprises Lije by helping to convince Jesse that it's just a love note. Unable to evade the sharp-eyed, suspicious Jesse, Lije is forced to join the terrible raid on Lawrence, Kansas, where he is wounded but manages to escape to his family. The characters here take second place to the excitement of skillfully reconstructed historical events; ``Bloody Kansas'' emerges in a story richly endowed with real events and people (carefully differentiated from the fictional characters in a lengthy author's note). A gripping story; an excellent supplement to texts or histories of the period. (Fiction. 10+)

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 1991

ISBN: 0-688-09850-9

Page Count: 214

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1991

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Poignant, respectful, and historically accurate while pulsating with emotional turmoil, adventure, and suspense.

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REFUGEE

In the midst of political turmoil, how do you escape the only country that you’ve ever known and navigate a new life? Parallel stories of three different middle school–aged refugees—Josef from Nazi Germany in 1938, Isabel from 1994 Cuba, and Mahmoud from 2015 Aleppo—eventually intertwine for maximum impact.

Three countries, three time periods, three brave protagonists. Yet these three refugee odysseys have so much in common. Each traverses a landscape ruled by a dictator and must balance freedom, family, and responsibility. Each initially leaves by boat, struggles between visibility and invisibility, copes with repeated obstacles and heart-wrenching loss, and gains resilience in the process. Each third-person narrative offers an accessible look at migration under duress, in which the behavior of familiar adults changes unpredictably, strangers exploit the vulnerabilities of transients, and circumstances seem driven by random luck. Mahmoud eventually concludes that visibility is best: “See us….Hear us. Help us.” With this book, Gratz accomplishes a feat that is nothing short of brilliant, offering a skillfully wrought narrative laced with global and intergenerational reverberations that signal hope for the future. Excellent for older middle grade and above in classrooms, book groups, and/or communities looking to increase empathy for new and existing arrivals from afar.

Poignant, respectful, and historically accurate while pulsating with emotional turmoil, adventure, and suspense. (maps, author’s note) (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: July 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-88083-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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An outstanding new edition of this popular modern classic (Newbery Award, 1961), with an introduction by Zena Sutherland and...

ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS

Coming soon!!

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1990

ISBN: 0-395-53680-4

Page Count: -

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2000

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