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THE GLORY WIND

Set on the Canadian prairie, as was Tumbleweed Skies (2009), Sherrard’s latest movingly documents 11-year-old Luke’s coming of age in 1946 as he comes to deeply love his new neighbor, Gracie, also 11. Gracie, endearingly spontaneous and affectionate, is the daughter of Raedine, who sets small-town tongues wagging when she takes a job at the local hotel, also a brothel, and people discover that her child is illegitimate. Luke and Gracie, in their innocence, initially have no idea why the townspeople and their children turn on Gracie. When she’s ostracized at school, Luke becomes her defender, a difficult position after their loving teacher is fired for trying to protect the child from classmates’ bullying. Yet Gracie seems almost ethereally indifferent to her situation. While Luke’s parents don’t shun Raedine, neither will they explain what’s behind the prejudice she and Gracie encounter, leaving him to explore the possibilities. Chapters begin with information about tornadoes, but it isn’t clear until the climax that this foreshadowing is more than just a symbolic representation of the town’s stormy bias. Luke’s first-person narration is fresh and emotionally true, charting his growing awareness of his own human failure to live up to Gracie’s tender yet believable goodness. This haunting depiction of small-mindedness will leave readers wondering, as Luke comes to, about Gracie’s true nature: heavenly child—or angel? (Historical fiction. 10 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-55455-170-5

Page Count: 222

Publisher: Fitzhenry & Whiteside

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2011

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THIS BOOK IS ANTI-RACIST

20 LESSONS ON HOW TO WAKE UP, TAKE ACTION, AND DO THE WORK

Essential.

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A guidebook for taking action against racism.

The clear title and bold, colorful illustrations will immediately draw attention to this book, designed to guide each reader on a personal journey to work to dismantle racism. In the author’s note, Jewell begins with explanations about word choice, including the use of the terms “folx,” because it is gender neutral, and “global majority,” noting that marginalized communities of color are actually the majority in the world. She also chooses to capitalize Black, Brown, and Indigenous as a way of centering these communities’ voices; "white" is not capitalized. Organized in four sections—identity, history, taking action, and working in solidarity—each chapter builds on the lessons of the previous section. Underlined words are defined in the glossary, but Jewell unpacks concepts around race in an accessible way, bringing attention to common misunderstandings. Activities are included at the end of each chapter; they are effective, prompting both self-reflection and action steps from readers. The activities are designed to not be written inside the actual book; instead Jewell invites readers to find a special notebook and favorite pen and use that throughout. Combining the disruption of common fallacies, spotlights on change makers, the author’s personal reflections, and a call to action, this powerful book has something for all young people no matter what stage they are at in terms of awareness or activism.

Essential. (author’s note, further reading, glossary, select bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4521-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL

From the School for Good and Evil series , Vol. 1

Rich and strange (and kitted out with an eye-catching cover), but stronger in the set pieces than the internal logic.

Chainani works an elaborate sea change akin to Gregory Maguire’s Wicked (1995), though he leaves the waters muddied.

Every four years, two children, one regarded as particularly nice and the other particularly nasty, are snatched from the village of Gavaldon by the shadowy School Master to attend the divided titular school. Those who survive to graduate become major or minor characters in fairy tales. When it happens to sweet, Disney princess–like Sophie and  her friend Agatha, plain of features, sour of disposition and low of self-esteem, they are both horrified to discover that they’ve been dropped not where they expect but at Evil and at Good respectively. Gradually—too gradually, as the author strings out hundreds of pages of Hogwarts-style pranks, classroom mishaps and competitions both academic and romantic—it becomes clear that the placement wasn’t a mistake at all. Growing into their true natures amid revelations and marked physical changes, the two spark escalating rivalry between the wings of the school. This leads up to a vicious climactic fight that sees Good and Evil repeatedly switching sides. At this point, readers are likely to feel suddenly left behind, as, thanks to summary deus ex machina resolutions, everything turns out swell(ish).

Rich and strange (and kitted out with an eye-catching cover), but stronger in the set pieces than the internal logic. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: May 14, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-210489-2

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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