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Featured Book Lists
Agatha Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Up Jumps the Devil
by Margaret Maron

Library Journal : Maron returns to fictional Colleton County, North Carolina, the setting of The Bootlegger's Daughter (Mysterious, 1992). After someone murders one of Deborah Knott's childhood friends, and then another, suspicion falls on Deborah's father. A winning tale of closeted skeletons and family feuds.

Copyright 1996 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publisher's Weekly : With vivid detail and engaging, credible characters, Maron's series featuring North Carolina district court judge Deborah Knott (Edgar winner Bootlegger's Daughter, etc.) brings to life fictional Colleton County and chronicles a charming but rapidly changing South. Here, the background is the suburbanization of the rural countryside less than an hour by superhighway from Raleigh. A few days after Dallas Stancil refuses to sell his land to a speculator, his stepson and wife murder him. Then, Dallas's peripatetic cousin Allen, the devil from Deborah's past, comes to town. Several days later, Dallas's father, Jap, is killed just before he can divide the property between Merrilee Grimes, his late wife's niece, and Allen. So who killed Jap, and who gets the Stancil land--Dallas's widow? Allen? Merrilee and her husband, Pete? Billy Wall, Jap's partner in the produce business? Dick Sutterly, a real estate developer who has a signed deed to Jap's property? Suspicions extend to Deborah's own family when one of her 11 brothers, visiting from California, reveals that he's lost his job and plans to sell his acreage, which abuts Jap's. In the end, the answer derives from a combination of greed, fear and ignorance of the intricate laws of inheritance. Maron eloquently describes different behaviors toward the land, from stewardship to despoliation. The old-fashioned warmth of the extended Knott family and Maron's well-constructed plot make this series a standout. Mystery Guild selection.

Copyright 1996 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Legend
by Lu, Marie

Book list *Starred Review* All right, it has a plague. And, yes, it's set in some semblance of America in the not-so-distant future. Yet even with all the hordes of dystopian novels out there, this one still manages to keep readers on the edge of their seats. But even the nonstop action would mean little without Lu's well-toned ability to write characters to care about. One is June, a daughter of the Republic. Her perfect scores at the Trial have insured a great future for her. Then there is Day. A hero to the street people, he fights injustice and keeps an eye on his brothers and mothers as they try to survive. Their narratives, told in alternating and distinctively voiced chapters, describe how circumstances bring them together. Day kills June's beloved soldier brother as he tries to get medicine for his own. With cold precision, June makes it her mission to exact revenge. What happens next, in macro terms, probably won't surprise, yet the delicious details keep pages turning to learn how it's all going to play out. Combine star-crossed lovers with the need to take down the Republic, and you've got the makings for a potent sequel.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-In this futuristic tale told in alternating voices, the United States has devolved into factions and California is a part of the Republic. The people are oppressed, except for the privileged few, and Day is carrying out a raid on a hospital for plague medicine for his family. Readers learn that he has been fighting against the Republic for some time, with phenomenal success. Unfortunately, his raid ends with a Republic soldier wounded, and Day is also injured while making his escape. The other narrator is June, who is Republic-trained, privileged, and also in possession of remarkable abilities. She vows vengeance on her brother's killer-he is the wounded soldier. June knows about Day, and she also knows that he doesn't kill, so why did he kill her brother? It's a good question, since he didn't. There is plenty of intrigue and underhanded dealing going on, mostly by Republic officials. The mystery surrounding June's brother and the constant recurrence of various strains of plague are solved by the end, with June and Day joining forces to fight injustice. The door is left open for a sequel since June and Day make their escape and head toward the Colonies (the western part of the former United States not including California) to seek aid in their fight against tyranny. The characters are likable, the plot moves at a good pace, and the adventure is solid. This is a fine choice for those who enjoyed Gemma Malley's The Declaration (Bloomsbury, 2007), Cory Doctorow's Little Brother (Tor, 2008), and fans of the "Star Wars" franchise.-Robin Henry, Wakeland High School, Frisco, TX (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.

Publishers Weekly Lu's debut is a stunner. Weaving the strands of SF dystopia, police procedural, and coming-of-age-with touches of superhero and wild frontier traditions-she fashions a narrative in which the action is kinetic and the emotional development is beautifully paced. June, a prodigy from the elite class of the disintegrating Republic, is being groomed for a military career when her brother, a captain, is murdered. June is quickly drafted into the team tracking his accused killer, a spectral and maddeningly persistent outlaw known as Day. June's life has been shaped by intellect, and to be driven by an emotion as ungovernable as grief makes her vulnerable in painful, dangerous ways. Day has known grief all of his life, but is no more immune to it than June is. The chase unfolds against a plague-infested Los Angeles of Gotham-like grit that Lu conjures with every nuance of smell, sound, and sight. First in a series, this story is utterly satisfying in its own right and raises hopes high for the sequels to come. Ages 12-up. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Diego Rivera: His World and Ours
by Duncan Tonatiuh

Publishers Weekly Suggestive of stained glass windows, Tonatiuh's mixed-media collages combine ancient Mexican art motifs with blocky, stylized figures, to pay tribute to this versatile artist. Rivera paired classical and modern techniques with traditional Mexican aesthetics to create socially and politically relevant murals. Tonatiuh invites readers to speculate about what Rivera might paint if he were alive today-"would he paint students at their desks... just as he painted factory workers in the production line?"-while creating vignettes whose symmetries draw further connections between past and present. Tonatiuh's biography celebrates Rivera, but focuses on the inspiration driving artistic expression in his time and in our own. Ages 5-9. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal K-Gr 3-Tonatiuh relates key moments in the famous muralist's life and ponders what would capture his interest if he were alive today. The stylized brown figures are shown in profile with open mouths, exaggerated features, and heads that seem hinged to the bodies. With only one page mentioning the subject's childhood (in which the young artist is wearing a hat and suit as he draws near his toys), the text concentrates instead on how Rivera internalized traditional and modern styles while studying art in Europe, absorbed the aesthetics of ancient Mexican civilizations after returning home, and then applied his training to local politics and culture. In scenes both thoughtful and humorous, Tonatiuh contrasts interpretations of Rivera's work with renderings of imagined work today. A contemporary mall scene faces the flower vendor with calla lilies. Dynamic, brightly lit luchadores (professional wrestlers) are paired with a scene of Aztec warriors and conquistadores. Back matter includes a glossary of words/concepts in sequence, an author's note, selected sites for viewing the murals, and a list of specific works that inspired the cartoonlike art. Students looking closely will note that some of Rivera's historical paintings include brown figures, in profile, mouths open. The original murals can be found along with biographical details in Mike Venezia's Diego Rivera (Children's Press, 1995) and in Guadalupe Rivera Marin's highly personal My Papa Diego and Me/Mi papa Diego y yo (Children's Book Press, 2009). An inspired approach that combines child appeal, cultural anthropology, and art history.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC 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 In this illustrated biography, Tonatiuh introduces Diego Rivera and shows how the Mexican artist drew on the history of his people for his murals, which combined ancient Mexican art with modern styles. Then Tonatiuh asks a crucial question: What would Rivera paint if he were alive today? Would he paint the bustle of city life. Would he paint the way we play. Working in his own blend of styles, working motifs borrowed from ancient Mexican art into contemporary images, the pictures show kids on busy city streets with laptops and cell phones, scooters and rollerblades, shopping at the mall. A long author's note fills in more about Tonatiuh's inspiration and his technique, drawing first by hand and then creating digital collages. With only one reproduction of Rivera's work, this title won't give young people much sense of Rivera's style, but kids will want to talk about the great painter, and young artists will find inspiration for their own creations.--Rochman, Haze. Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

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Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Owl Moon
by John Schoenherr

Book list Ages 2-7. An exquisite mood piece, Owl Moon is a poetic story of a winter-wrapped little girl and her father's owling adventure. The elusive magic and gentle shivery excitement that accompany the twosome are felt by the reader. The late-night walks are steeped in family tradition, no words are exchanged, but the companionship of the elusive quest speaks volumes. ``When you go owling / you don't need words / or warm / or anything but hope. That's what Pa says.'' The integrity of Yolen's pleasure in writing about her subject is evident, and Schoenherr, also an owling enthusiast, captures the stark blue-black majesty of the nighttime forest in his powerful and evocative watercolor illustrations. Excellent for one-on-one or read-aloud groups. PW. Owls Fiction / Fathers and daughters Fiction [CIP] 87-2300

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

Book list Ages 2-7. Midnight blues and frost whites capture the stark majesty of this poetic mood piece in which a little girl and her father go owling in the nighttime forest. (D 15 87)

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

Book list Delicate pen-and-ink lines over watercolors capture the wonder and intimacy of a father and child's moonlit winter search for an owl. The 1988 Caldecott Medal Book. (D 15 87)

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

Publishers Weekly A girl and her father go owling on a moonlit winter night near the farm where they live. Bundled tight in wool clothes, they trudge through snow ``whiter than the milk in a cereal bowl''; here and there, hidden in ink-blue shadows, a fox, raccoon, fieldmouse and deer watch them pass. An air of expectancy builds as Pa imitates the Great Horned Owl's call once without answer, then again. From out of the darkness ``an echo/ came threading its way/ through the trees.'' Schoenherr's watercolor washes depict a New England few readers see: the bold stare of a nocturnal owl, a bird's-eye view of a farmhouse. In harmony with the art, the melodious text brings to life an unusual countryside adventure. Ages 2-6. (November)

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

Book list Ages 5-9. This child and father's moonlight search for an owl through a snow-covered landscape is ideal for January sharing and can be smoothly linked with Franklyn Branley's informative Snow Is Falling and Patricia Hunt's Snowy Owls.Year Round Reading

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

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New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Some Luck
by Jane Smiley

Publishers Weekly In the first volume of a planned trilogy, Smiley returns to the Iowa of her Pulitzer Prize-winning A Thousand Acres, but in a very different vein. The warring sisters and abusive father of that book have given way to the Langdons, a loving family whose members, like most people, are exceptional only in their human particularities. The story covers the 1920s through the early '50s, years during which the family farm survives the Depression and drought, and the five Langdon children grow up and have to decide whether to stay or leave. Smiley is particularly good at depicting the world from the viewpoint of young children-all five of the Langdons are distinct individuals from their earliest days. The standout is oldest son Frank, born stubborn and with an eye for opportunity, but as Smiley shifts her attention from one character to another, they all come to feel like real and relatable people. The saga of an Iowa farm family might not seem like an exciting premise, but Smiley makes it just that, conjuring a world-time, place, people-and an engaging story that makes readers eager to know what happens next. Smiley plans to extend the tale of the Langdon family well into the 21st century; she's off to a very strong start. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* Smiley was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for A Thousand Acres (1991), a novel about a farming family in Iowa. In her fourteenth novel, she returns to that fertile ground to tell the stories of the Langdons, a clan deeply in accord with the land, wherever their quests lead them. A seductive writer in perfect command of every element of language, Smiley sets a ruminative pace embodying the tempo of farm work, season to season. Beginning in 1920 and reaching 1953, this saga of the vicissitudes of luck and our futile efforts to control it is also a richly meteorological novel, exploring how the high and low pressures of the mind can determine a farm's bounty and losses just as droughts and blizzards do. While steadfast Walter worries, his smart, industrious wife, Rosanna, runs the household and cares for their children, beginning with courageous Frankie, followed by animal-lover Joey, romantic Lillian, scholarly Henry, and good Claire. As barbed in her wit as ever, Smiley is also munificently tender. The Langdons endure the Depression, Walter agonizes over giving up his trusty horses for a tractor, and Joe tries the new synthetic fertilizers. Then, as Frank serves in WWII and, covertly, the Cold War, the novel's velocity, intensity, and wonder redouble. Smiley's grand, assured, quietly heroic, and affecting novel is a supremely nuanced portrait of a family spanning three pivotal American decades. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: With a major print run and extensive national author tour ramping up publicity, ever-popular Smiley's tremendous new novel will be on the top of countless to-read lists.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

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Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village
by Laura Amy Schlitz

Book list *Starred Review* The author of A Drowned Maiden's Hair: A Melodrama (2006), Schlitz turns to a completely different kind of storytelling here. Using a series of interconnected monologues and dialogues featuring young people living in and around an English manor in 1255, she offers first-person character sketches that build upon each other to create a finer understanding of medieval life. The book was inspired by the necessity of creating a play suitable for a classroom where no one wanted a small part. Each of the 23 characters (between 10 and 15 years old) has a distinct personality and a societal role revealed not by recitation of facts but by revelation of memories, intentions, and attitudes. Sometimes in prose and more often in one of several verse forms, the writing varies nicely from one entry to the next. Historical notes appear in the vertical margins, and some double-page spreads carry short essays on topics related to individual narratives, such as falconry, the Crusades, and Jews in medieval society. Although often the characters' specific concerns are very much of their time, their outlooks and emotional states will be familiar to young people today. Reminiscent of medieval art, Byrd's lively ink drawings, tinted with watercolors, are a handsome addition to this well-designed book. This unusually fine collection of related monologues and dialogues promises to be a rewarding choice for performance or for reading aloud in the classroom.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2007 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Schlitz (The Hero Schliemann ) wrote these 22 brief monologues to be performed by students at the school where she is a librarian; here, bolstered by lively asides and unobtrusive notes, and illuminated by Byrd's (Leonardo, Beautiful Dreamer) stunningly atmospheric watercolors, they bring to life a prototypical English village in 1255. Adopting both prose and verse, the speakers, all young, range from the half-wit to the lord's daughter, who explains her privileged status as the will of God. The doctor's son shows off his skills ("Ordinary sores/ Will heal with comfrey, or the white of an egg,/ An eel skin takes the cramping from a leg"); a runaway villein (whose life belongs to the lord of his manor) hopes for freedom after a year and a day in the village, if only he can calculate the passage of time; an eel-catcher describes her rough infancy: her "starving poor [father] took me up to drown in a bucket of water." (He relents at the sight of her "wee fingers" grasping at the sides of the bucket.) Byrd, basing his work on a 13th-century German manuscript, supplies the first page of each speaker's text with a tone-on-tone patterned border overset with a square miniature. Larger watercolors, some with more intricate borders, accompany explanatory text for added verve. The artist does not channel a medieval style; rather, he mutes his palette and angles some lines to hint at the period, but his use of cross-hatching and his mostly realistic renderings specifically welcome a contemporary readership. Ages 10-up. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 4-8-Schlitz helps students step directly into the shoes-and lives-of medieval children in this outstanding collection of interrelated monologues. Designed for performance and excellent for use in interdisciplinary history classrooms, the book offers students an incredibly approachable format for learning about the Middle Ages that makes the period both realistic and relevant. The text, varying from dramatic to poetic, depending on the point of view, is accompanied by historical notes that shed light on societal roles, religion, and town life. Byrd's illustrations evoke the era and give dramatists ideas for appropriate costuming and props. Browsers interested in medieval life will gravitate toward this title, while history buffs will be thrilled by the chance to make history come alive through their own voices.-Alana Abbott, James Blackstone Memorial Library, Branford, CT (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.

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Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog The Best Way to Play
by Bill Cosby

School Library Journal : K-Gr 3--Cosby turns his hand to writing, telling stories about situations that children often face. In The Best Way to Play, Little Bill, the narrator, and his friends get caught up in the excitement and marketing of their favorite TV cartoon, Space Explorers, and desperately want their parents to buy them the expensive video game. They become bored with it quickly, however, and realize that it's more fun to play Space Explorers outside. In The Meanest Thing to Say, Little Bill comes face to face with a bully. The Treasure Hunt takes him on a voyage of self-exploration. It seems to him that everyone in his family has a special quality. After a full day of searching, he discovers that his is "telling stories and making people laugh." These titles feature short chapters, making them appropriate for beginning readers--but they're also short enough to be read aloud. Honeywood's illustrations are bright and eye-catching, and show Little Bill and his friends and family as having distinctive personalities and characteristics. Each book comes with a letter to parents from a child psychiatrist about the subject matter in that book. While the writing is nothing extraordinary, Cosby has a good grasp of the issues and how the world looks through children's eyes. The primarily African-American characters also make these books welcome additions to easy-reader collections.

Dina Sherman, Brooklyn Children's Museum, NY Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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Pulitzer Prize
Click to search this book in our catalog The orphan master's son : a novel
by Adam Johnson.

Publishers Weekly Johnson's novel accomplishes the seemingly impossible: an American writer has masterfully rendered the mysterious world of North Korea with the soul and savvy of a native, from its orphanages and its fishing boats to the kitchens of its high-ranking commanders. While oppressive propaganda echoes throughout, the tone never slides into caricature; if anything, the story unfolds with astounding empathy for those living in constant fear of imprisonment-or worse-but who manage to maintain their humanity against all odds. The book traces the journey of Jun Do, who for years lives according to the violent dictates of the state, as a tunnel expert who can fight in the dark, a kidnapper, radio operator, tenuous hero, and foreign dignitary before eventually taking his fate into his own hands. In one of the book's most poignant moments, a government interrogator, who tortures innocent citizens on a daily basis, remembers his own childhood and the way in which his father explained the inexplicable: "...we must act alone on the outside, while on the inside, we would be holding hands." In this moment and a thousand others like it, Johnson (Parasites Like Us) juxtaposes the vicious atrocities of the regime with the tenderness of beauty, love, and hope. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Imagine a society in which the official political story tells only of happiness and prosperity, yet personal experience reveals the opposite. Imagine the resulting internal dissonance and the ways in which people might reconcile such opposing forces. This is the experience offered by Johnson (Parasites Like Us) in his novel of modern-day North Korea. Following the path of the hero's journey, young Pak Jun Do moves from an orphanage into a life of espionage, kidnapping, and torture, only to be given a new identity as the husband of the Dear Leader's favorite actress. With references to the classic American film Casablanca, Johnson's narrative portrays his hero as he makes his way through a minefield of corruption and violence, eventually giving his all so that his loved ones might have a better life. VERDICT Readers who enjoy a fast-paced political thriller will welcome this wild ride through the amazingly conflicted world that exists within the heavily guarded confines of North Korea. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 8/15/11.]-Susanne Wells, M.L.S., Indianapolis (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 *Starred Review* Pak Jun Do lives with his father at a North Korean work camp for orphans. In a nation in which every citizen serves the state, orphans routinely get the most dangerous jobs. So it is for Jun Do, who becomes a tunnel soldier, trained to fight in complete darkness in the tunnels beneath the DMZ. But he is reassigned as a kidnapper, snatching Japanese citizens with special skills, such as a particular opera singer or sushi chef. Failure as a kidnapper could lead directly to the prison mines. But in Johnson's fantastical, careening tale, Jun Do manages to impersonate Commander Ga, the country's greatest military hero, rival of Dear Leader Kim Jong Il and husband of Sun Moon, North Korea's only movie star. Informed by extensive research and travel to perhaps the most secretive nation on earth, Johnson has created a remarkable novel that encourages the willing suspension of disbelief. As Jun Do, speaking as Ga, puts it, people have been trained to accept any reality presented to them. Johnson winningly employs different voices, with the propagandizing national radio station serving as a mad Greek chorus. Descriptions of everyday privations and barbarities are matter of fact, and Jun Do's love for Sun Moon reads like a fairy tale. Part adventure, part coming-of-age tale, and part romance, The Orphan Master's Son is a triumph on every level.--Gaughan, Thomas Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

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