THE OTHER HALF OF MY HEART

Funny and deeply affecting, this novel by the Steptoe Award winner for Brendan Buckley’s Universe and Everything in It (2007) revisits the still largely unexplored world of multiracial heritage. Twin daughters of a black mom and white dad, Minerva and Keira King, 11, fly from Washington State to North Carolina to stay with oppressive Grandmother Johnson and compete in the Miss Black Pearl Preteen pageant. The narrator, shy Minni, who appears white, is reluctant; outgoing Keira, who appears black, is thrilled. Back home, Minni has unknowingly benefited from white privilege, while Keira’s appearance has subjected her to bias. In North Carolina, Keira fits in, and Minni stands out. Although she’s favored by their grandmother, Minni’s white appearance leads others to question her right to identify as black. As their experience of race threatens to divide the sisters, Minni struggles to heal the rift. Frazier highlights the contradictions, absurdities, humor and pain that accompany life as a mixed-race tween. Never didactic, this is the richest portrait of multiracial identity and family since Virginia Hamilton’s 1976 novel Arilla Sun Down. An outstanding achievement. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: June 8, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-385-73440-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2010

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DIARY OF A WIMPY KID

A NOVEL IN CARTOONS

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 1

First volume of a planned three, this edited version of an ongoing online serial records a middle-school everykid’s triumphs and (more often) tribulations through the course of a school year. Largely through his own fault, mishaps seem to plague Greg at every turn, from the minor freak-outs of finding himself permanently seated in class between two pierced stoners and then being saddled with his mom for a substitute teacher, to being forced to wrestle in gym with a weird classmate who has invited him to view his “secret freckle.” Presented in a mix of legible “hand-lettered” text and lots of simple cartoon illustrations with the punch lines often in dialogue balloons, Greg’s escapades, unwavering self-interest and sardonic commentary are a hoot and a half—certain to elicit both gales of giggles and winces of sympathy (not to mention recognition) from young readers. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-8109-9313-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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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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