MY HOME IS OVER JORDAN

A sequel to Sound the Jubilee (1995, not reviewed) that does not stand on its own, but which will be welcomed by readers of the first book. With the Civil War over, Maddie Henry and her family are free and hope to work their own land. But the small town of Willoughby, North Carolina, where they settle, is not exactly welcoming, and some of the young black men seem as determined to stir up trouble as the belligerent whites are. All Maddie wants is to continue her education, but she is tied down by Tibby, a mixed-race child whom she finds running wild in the woods, and to whom she becomes a sort of mother. Forrester assumes a knowledge of the characters and their relationships, and jumps right into the story without much explanation; still, readers of the earlier book will appreciate the author's willingness to allow for moral complexity: While some of the characters are either all good or all bad, neither blacks nor whites as a group are, and in the rebuilding of the South, there is blame and praise enough to go around. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-525-67568-X

Page Count: 163

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1997

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THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS

After Hitler appoints Bruno’s father commandant of Auschwitz, Bruno (nine) is unhappy with his new surroundings compared to the luxury of his home in Berlin. The literal-minded Bruno, with amazingly little political and social awareness, never gains comprehension of the prisoners (all in “striped pajamas”) or the malignant nature of the death camp. He overcomes loneliness and isolation only when he discovers another boy, Shmuel, on the other side of the camp’s fence. For months, the two meet, becoming secret best friends even though they can never play together. Although Bruno’s family corrects him, he childishly calls the camp “Out-With” and the Fuhrer “Fury.” As a literary device, it could be said to be credibly rooted in Bruno’s consistent, guileless characterization, though it’s difficult to believe in reality. The tragic story’s point of view is unique: the corrosive effect of brutality on Nazi family life as seen through the eyes of a naïf. Some will believe that the fable form, in which the illogical may serve the objective of moral instruction, succeeds in Boyle’s narrative; others will believe it was the wrong choice. Certain to provoke controversy and difficult to see as a book for children, who could easily miss the painful point. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2006

ISBN: 0-385-75106-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: David Fickling/Random

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2006

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ASK ME NO QUESTIONS

Illegal immigrant sisters learn a lot about themselves when their family faces deportation in this compelling contemporary drama. Immigrants from Bangladesh, Nadira, her older sister Aisha and their parents live in New York City with expired visas. Fourteen-year-old Nadira describes herself as “the slow-wit second-born” who follows Aisha, the family star who’s on track for class valedictorian and a top-rate college. Everything changes when post-9/11 government crack-downs on Muslim immigrants push the family to seek asylum in Canada where they are turned away at the border and their father is arrested by U.S. immigration. The sisters return to New York living in constant fear of detection and trying to pretend everything is normal. As months pass, Aisha falls apart while Nadira uses her head in “a right way” to save her father and her family. Nadira’s need for acceptance by her family neatly parallels the family’s desire for acceptance in their adopted country. A perceptive peek into the lives of foreigners on the fringe. (endnote) (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-4169-0351-8

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Ginee Seo/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2005

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