The story seems to be trying hard to provide substance, but readers will notice the effort it takes. (Historical fiction....

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DOLLS OF WAR

From the Friendship Dolls series , Vol. 3

A young white girl tries to hold onto a special Japanese doll in the racially charged aftermath of the Pearl Harbor bombings in this third book about the Friendship Dolls.

Macy, 11, treasures Miss Tokyo, a near–life-size doll that resides in the small Oregon museum her father runs. One of several handcrafted dolls originally exchanged between Japan and America in 1926, Miss Tokyo, who wears an exquisite kimono and comes complete with a full set of culturally appropriate accessories, had reminded Macy’s recently deceased mother of her own missionary childhood in Japan. As such, the doll provides one of Macy’s only links to her mother’s memory. With her 17-year-old brother freshly enlisted and her father distanced by grief, Macy writes her mother letters in the persona of Miss Tokyo. But now the country is at war with Japan, and anti-Japanese sentiment runs high. White townsfolk are pleased when their Japanese-American neighbors are rounded up by the government, and they want to burn Miss Tokyo. Macy struggles against a mob mentality—not always in realistic ways. Her emotional involvement with the doll is credible, but the greater emotional story—her father’s physical abandonment of her in order to avoid telling her a hard truth—is glossed over in a way that feels dishonest.

The story seems to be trying hard to provide substance, but readers will notice the effort it takes. (Historical fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9069-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit...

NUMBER THE STARS

The author of the Anastasia books as well as more serious fiction (Rabble Starkey, 1987) offers her first historical fiction—a story about the escape of the Jews from Denmark in 1943.

Five years younger than Lisa in Carol Matas' Lisa's War (1989), Annemarie Johansen has, at 10, known three years of Nazi occupation. Though ever cautious and fearful of the ubiquitous soldiers, she is largely unaware of the extent of the danger around her; the Resistance kept even its participants safer by telling them as little as possible, and Annemarie has never been told that her older sister Lise died in its service. When the Germans plan to round up the Jews, the Johansens take in Annemarie's friend, Ellen Rosen, and pretend she is their daughter; later, they travel to Uncle Hendrik's house on the coast, where the Rosens and other Jews are transported by fishing boat to Sweden. Apart from Lise's offstage death, there is little violence here; like Annemarie, the reader is protected from the full implications of events—but will be caught up in the suspense and menace of several encounters with soldiers and in Annemarie's courageous run as courier on the night of the escape. The book concludes with the Jews' return, after the war, to homes well kept for them by their neighbors.

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit of riding alone in Copenhagen, but for their Jews. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1989

ISBN: 0547577095

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1989

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This 2015 New Visions Award winner offers a complex narrative and inspires readers to check their privilege to address...

AHIMSA

Although Kelkar’s debut novel takes place in colonial India in the 1940s, when Indian citizens were fighting for independence from British rule, it is uncannily timely: 10-year old Anjali grapples with issues of social justice in many of the same ways young people are today.

When Anjali’s mother quits her job to become a freedom fighter, Anjali is reluctant to join the struggle, as it means she will have to eschew her decorated skirts and wear home-spun khadi (hand-woven cotton) instead, inviting the mockery of her school nemeses. But as her relationship with her mother evolves, her experience of and commitment to activism change as well. When her mother is imprisoned and commences a hunger strike, Anjali continues her work and begins to unlearn her prejudices. According to an author’s note, Kelkar was inspired by the biography of her great-grandmother Anasuyabai Kale, and the tale is enriched by the author’s proximity to the subject matter and access to primary sources. Kelkar also complicates Western impressions of Mohandas K. “Mahatma” Gandhi—Anjali realizes that Gandhi is flawed—and introduces readers to Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, a figure rarely mentioned in texts for young people in the United States but who is best known for campaigning against social discrimination of Dalits, or members of India’s lower castes.

This 2015 New Visions Award winner offers a complex narrative and inspires readers to check their privilege to address ongoing injustices. (Historical fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62014-356-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Tu Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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