THE SECRET OF THE ROSE

Rosalind and her younger brother Robin are the children of a wool merchant, turned out of their comfortable home when their secretly Catholic father is imprisoned. They make their way to Elizabethan London to find him, in short order losing their carefully hoarded coins and possessions and discovering that their father has died in prison. Robin is distracted by and soon taken in by players who need a tumbling boy. Rosalind chops off her hair and dresses as a boy to keep herself safer as well as to protect her brother. As Richard, she catches the eye of the brooding Kit Marlowe—mercurial, secretive—who needs a boy to run his errands and make fair copies of his plays. This fast-paced and accessible tale is full of the dark side of Elizabethan times: spies and informants; persecution of Catholics; stench and disease; fear of immigrants, the plague and of the players themselves. The title refers to the Rose Theatre and to Rosalind’s own secrets of gender and religion. While the historical aspects are clear and not trifled with (she does get to meet Will Shakespeare), it is Rosalind’s story that compels. (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: July 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-087250-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2006

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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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