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Featured Book Lists
New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog The Wright Brothers
by David McCullough

Library Journal McCullough (John Adams; 1776) effectively blends impeccable writing with historical rigor and strong character definition in his biography of Wright brothers Wilbur, the abstract thinker and introvert; and Orville, the extrovert and hands-on doer. They had limited formal education, with the author instead attributing his subjects' success to industry, imagination, and persistence, as seen in their early enterprises as newspaper publishers, printers, and bicycle salesmen in Dayton, OH. Credit is also accorded to their widowed father, Bishop Milton Wright, as well as their sister Katharine for their support of "Ullam" (Wilbur) and "Bubs" (Orville). Highlights of McCullough's narrative include his discussions of the Wrights' innovative conception of wing-warping as a means of flight control; the brothers' first controlled, powered, and sustained heavier-than-air human flight at Kitty Hawk, NC, on December 17, 1903; the issuance of the Wright flying machine patent #821,393 on May 22, 1906; the Ohioans' ongoing search for markets abroad; and the elder Wright's perfect flying demonstrations at Le Mans, France, even as Orville was nearly killed in a similar performance before army brass at Fort Myer, VA. The author closes with the incorporation of the Wright Company, patent infringement suits filed against competitor Glenn Curtiss, and the deaths of Wilbur (1912), Milton (1917), Katharine (1929), and Orville (1948). VERDICT A signal contribution to Wright historiography. Highly recommended for academicians interested in the history of flight, transportation, or turn-of-the-century America; general readers; and all libraries.-John Carver Edwards, formerly with Univ. of Georgia Libs. Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Independent Booksellers List
Click to search this book in our catalog Darth Vader and Son
by Jeffrey Brown

Publishers Weekly When the first Star Wars film conquered the world in 1977, no one could have possibly foreseen it going on to become such an ubiquitous part of our cultural heritage. Now even parenthood can be viewed through the filter of the Sith lord Darth Vader. Jeffrey Brown (Incredible Change-Bots) crashes headlong into George Lucas's galaxy far, far away with endearing, funny-and fully licensed-results. A series of full-page gag cartoons focusing on the "what if?" of Darth Vader raising a four-year-old Luke Skywalker, the book twists father/son moments into scenarios within the Star Wars playground. For instance, the addition of a wailing little Luke turns the Bounty Hunter scene into, as one bounty hunter's thought balloon puts it, Awkward!" Trick-or-treating, toy shopping, a day at the zoo, and more are rejiggered with a lighthearted, charming tone. However, the book also provides ample proof that adding a babysitting Darth Vader to any Star Wars situation makes it gently humorous. Brown's signature scratchy style is embellished with full color and stripped-down likenesses. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Kira-Kira
by Cynthia Kadohata

School Library Journal Gr 6-8-Katie's first word is "kira-kira," the Japanese word for "glittering," and she uses it to describe everything she likes. It was taught to her by her older sister, Lynn, whom Katie worships. Both girls have trouble adjusting when their parents move the family from Iowa to a small town in rural Georgia, where they are among only 31 Japanese-Americans. They seldom see their parents, who have grueling jobs in chicken-processing plants. Then Lynn becomes deathly ill, and Katie is often left to care for her, a difficult and emotionally devastating job. When her sister dies of lymphoma, Katie searches for ways to live up to her legacy and to fulfill the dreams she never had a chance to attain. Told from Katie's point of view and set in the 1950s, this beautifully written story tells of a girl struggling to find her own way in a family torn by illness and horrendous work conditions. Katie's parents can barely afford to pay their daughter's medical bills, yet they refuse to join the growing movement to unionize until after Lynn's death. All of the characters are believable and well developed, especially Katie, who acts as a careful observer of everything that happens in her family, even though there is a lot she doesn't understand. Especially heartbreaking are the weeks leading up to Lynn's death, when Katie is exhausted and frustrated by the demands of her sister's illness, yet willing to do anything to make her happy. Girls will relate to and empathize with the appealing protagonist.-Ashley Larsen, Woodside Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Gr. 6-12.atie Takeshima worships her older sister, Lynn, who knows everything and takes care ofatie while their parents are working long hours in their small Georgia town in the late 1950s. It's Lynn who showsatie the glittering beauty (kira-kira) of the stars and who preparesatie for the prejudice she will encounter as one of the fewapanese American kids in their school. But whenatie is 10, Lynn, 14, falls ill, and everything changes. Slowly the roles are reversed;atie becomes caregiver and does what Lynn has taught her. There's no surprise. It's clear that Lynn will die, andatie goes through all the stages of grief. The real story is in the small details, never self-consciously poetic but tense with family drama. In her first novel for young people,adohata stays true to the child's viewpoint in plain, beautiful prose that can barely contain the passionate feelings.ust as heart wrenching as the sisters' story is whatatie knows of her father's struggle, whether it's his backbreaking work in the factory or his love for his family. The quiet words will speak to readers who have lost someone they love--or fear that they could. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2004 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Set in the 1950s and '60s, Kadohata's moving first novel is narrated by a first-generation Japanese-American girl who moves with her family from Iowa to Georgia when their "Oriental foods grocery store" goes out of business. There, Katie and her family face hardships, including discrimination (she is ignored by the girls at school, for example), and the harsh conditions at the poultry plant where her mother works ("thugs" make sure workers do not gather so that they cannot organize). Katie's father often sleeps at the hatchery between shifts, and when their babysitter goes away, Katie and her brother must stay in the hot car outside the plant while their mother works. But it's her doting older sister Lynn's struggle with lymphoma that really tests her family. Katie's narrative begins almost as stream-of-consciousness, reflecting a younger child's way of seeing the world. But as she matures through the challenges her family faces, so does the prose. Kadohata movingly captures the family's sustaining love-Lynn and Katie secretly save their treat money for years so they can help their parents buy a house, and when ailing Lynn gets to pick the house, she chooses a sky blue one, because Katie as a "little girl,... had told her [she] wanted our first to be sky blue." The family's devotion to one another, and Lynn's ability to teach Katie to appreciate the "kira-kira," or glittering, in everyday life makes this novel shine. Ages 11-up. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Bronxwood
by Booth, Coe

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-In Tyrell (Scholastic, 2006), the teen dumped the girl who lied to him and left his mother to her own devices. He set up a new life in Bronxwood, crashing with two friends who are heavily involved in drug dealing. Now his father's out of prison and wants to reunite the family, but Tyrell finds the rules and posturing too much to handle and stays out on his own. He quickly realizes that without his own DJ equipment, he can't make the money he needs to support himself and take care of his girlfriend, Jasmine. When the decision comes down to what's best for his little brother, Troy, and what's best for Tyrell, the tough choice will change his life. Returning to the inner-city setting that is as much a character as any of the individuals, Booth builds up the conflict brought on by Tyrell's temptations-the drug dealers are more violent and persuasive, the girls are more enticing, and the family dynamics are more charged. Action scenes combine with interpersonal exchanges to keep the pace moving forward at a lightning speed, but Booth never sacrifices the street-infused dialogue and emotional authenticity that characterize her works. She has created a compelling tale of a teen still trying to make the right choices despite the painful consequences.-Chris Shoemaker, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list With the same heartbreak and honesty as the widely acclaimed Tyrell (2006), this fast-paced sequel continues the title teen's immediate first-person narrative of his struggle in the hood. Tyrell's dad has been released from prison, but having him at home does not make life easier; in fact, the two face off verbally and then in a brutal physical fight. It is hard to make enough money working as a DJ at parties, and Tyrell gets drawn into drug dealing on the violent streets. He finds escape with girls, and he has sex with more than one, although he loves gorgeous Latina Jasmine, whom he met in a motel for the homeless. Born in the Bronx, Booth has worked as a social worker there, and she is not easy on the system, offering no sweet resolution; in fact, things only get worse, and the realism continues in the characters' raw language (including the n- and f-words). Still, the hope rings true through Tyrell's sense of survival and responsibility ( I hafta ) as he cares for his brother, his friends, and his girl.--Rochman, Haze. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Pulitzer Prize
Click to search this book in our catalog Guns, Germs and Steel
by Jared Diamond

Publishers Weekly In a boldly ambitious analysis of history's broad patterns, evolutionary biologist Diamond (The Third Chimpanzee) identifies food production as a key to the glaring inequalities of wealth and power in the modern world. Dense, agriculture-based populations, unlike relatively egalitarian hunter-gatherers, bred chiefs, kings and bureaucratic "kleptocracies" that transferred wealth from commoners to upper classes. Such bureaucracies, Diamond maintains, were essential to organizing wars of conquest; moreover, farming societies were able to support full-time craft specialists who developed technical innovations and steel weapons. As a result, European conquerors and their colonizing descendants, bringing guns, cavalry and infectious diseases, overwhelmed the native peoples of North and South America, Africa and Australia. Using molecular biological studies, Diamond, a professor at UCLA Medical School, illuminates why Eurasian germs spreading animal-derived diseases proved so devastating to indigenous societies on other continents. Refuting racist explanations for presumed differences in intelligence or technological capability and eschewing a Eurocentric worldview, he argues persuasively that accidental differences in geography and environment, combined with centuries of conquest, genocide and epidemics, shaped the disparate populations of today's world. His masterful synthesis is a refreshingly unconventional history informed by anthropology, behavioral ecology, linguistics, epidemiology, archeology and technological development. Photos not seen by PW. BOMC, History Book Club, QPB and Newbridge Book Clubs selections. (Mar.)

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Choice At the risk of sounding melodramatic, this usually soft spoken academic is willing to assert that Diamond's book is one of very few that could have a real impact on world understanding if it were widely read. Diamond wrestles with the huge question of why some societies became so rich and powerful -- and why others remain relatively poor and powerless. To answer so enormous a question, the author addresses many other fundamental questions. Among these are how and why did food production begin? What differences did this make? How did it spread? Why were some animals domesticated and others not? How did writing evolve, and why does it matter? Diamond poses similar questions with respect to technology, religion, and government. He writes clearly and in an engrossing manner, with a consistent (but not heavy-handed) grounding in evolutionary theory. He is a biologist who neatly interweaves data and insights from many other disciplines, including geography and anthropology, which are too often overlooked. A subsidiary theme of this work is discrediting racist theories of history, which Diamond does deftly and consistently throughout, with no resort to polemic. Several apt but unfamiliar illustrations complement the text, which is thoroughly authoritative despite the absence of footnotes or endnotes. A discursive bibliographic essay on each chapter can be helpful to anyone who wants to pursue a topic in greater depth. All levels. D. B. Heath; Brown University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Library Journal Most of this work deals with non-Europeans, but Diamond's thesis sheds light on why Western civilization became hegemonic: "History followed different courses for different peoples because of differences among peoples' environments, not because of biological differences among peoples themselves." Those who domesticated plants and animals early got a head start on developing writing, government, technology, weapons of war, and immunity to deadly germs. (LJ 2/15/97) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Library Journal In the course of history, some groups conquered, some were conquered. UCLA physiology professor Diamond investigates why, arguing that it has nothing to do with race.

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Why is history so dramatically different for peoples around the world? Why did some groups become literate industrial societies with metal tools while others remained nonliterate farming societies, and still others remained hunter-gatherers with stone tools? The resultant inequalities have led historically to the extermination or conquest of some groups by more advanced, literate societies. Biologist Diamond (The Third Chimpanzee, LJ 3/15/92) here combines a study of human history with science, specifically evolutionary biology and geology. His starting point is 11,000 B.C., when large differences began to appear in the rates at which human societies evolved. Diamond examines on a global scale the development of farming, domestication of plants and animals, creation of writing, and advancement of technology. He maintains that it was such environmental benefits as the availability of certain key species and plants, as well as geographical placement, that gave the advantage to Eurasia over the rest of the world, rather than any biological advantages of one race over the others. A provocative book that will appeal to general readers as well as scholars; recommended for most libraries. BOMC, History Book Club, Quality paperback Books, and Newbridge Book Club selections.?Ed.]?Gloria Maxwell, Kansas City P.L., Kan.

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Agatha Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog The 7th Knot
by Kathleen Karr

Book list Gr. 6-9. Karr offers an offbeat turn-of-the-last-century novel that dances on the edge of the fantastical. Fifteen-year-old Wick, who has already developed a taste for gambling and cigars, and his 12-year-old brother, Miles, a budding scientific genius, are banished by their mother to a European grand tour with their uncle Eustace. The boys do not find Uncle Eustace's pursuit of art, particularly the woodcuts of Durer, particularly engaging, but their uncle's scholarly and mysterious valet soon changes their minds. When he vanishes, the boys give chase, and their escapades take them across Europe to Mad Ludwig's remarkable castle, to a wild journey in a hot-air balloon, to entanglement in a secret society that hints of Germany's future Aryan obsession. Durer's knot woodcuts (hence the title) and the secret society add weight to the adventures, which combine delightful elements of Indiana Jones, Around the World in 80 Days, and P. G. Wodehouse's Bertie Wooster stories. A good, fast read that leaves the door open for sequels. --GraceAnne DeCandido Copyright 2003 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 7-9-In this historical mystery, brothers Wick and Miles are sent to spend the summer with their rich Uncle Eustace, an 1890s robber baron touring Europe to purchase "High Art." After Eustace's mysterious valet, Jose Gregorio, is kidnapped, the brothers follow his trail and become involved with the Durerbund, a nationalistic secret society that honors painter Albrecht Durer. In a series of adventures involving dungeons, explosions, airships, and secret rooms, the brothers are reunited with Jose, and they race across Europe to stop the Durerbund before its plans to conquer Europe come to fruition. The action-filled, fast-paced plot and maturing of the boys from delinquents into heroes-and their interest in nude paintings-will appeal to a wide audience. While background characters remain caricatures, Wick, Miles, and Jose are fully human and entertaining. Karr smoothly integrates information about Durer and other painters into the plot, and she uses the historical Durerbund, with its shades of Nazism, to good effect. The well-crafted plot and nonstop action will catch readers' attention from the first chapter and lead them to the satisfying conclusion, and they may even be motivated to look at an art book or two.-Beth L. Meister, Yeshiva of Central Queens, Flushing, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.