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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Threads and Flames
by Friesner, Esther

School Library Journal Gr 6-9-Raisa, a 13-year-old Jewish girl, leaves a Polish shtetl to journey to America to join her sister, Henda, who has mistakenly been told that Raisa is dead. The crossing to America, the frightening chaos of arrival, poor working conditions, and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911 form the novel's framework. Raisa makes some close friends on the ship and she takes responsibility for Brina, a child whose mother dies during the crossing. Raisa's overwhelming loneliness as she tries to adjust and find her sister permeates the story. The frustration she feels and the seemingly insurmountable challenge of succeeding spills dramatically from the pages despite some contrived twists and turns. When Raisa seeks some rest by entering a synagogue, she meets Gavrel Kamensy, an aspiring rabbinal student just a few years her senior. He brings her home and she and Brina become boarders with his family. The Kamensys' warmth and accepting nature allow Raisa the chance to look for work and begin her English studies. She feels lucky to get a job at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, but the drudgery and unfair working conditions repeatedly foreshadow the horrendous event to follow. Gruesome details of workers jumping from the window in order to escape the pervasive flames are horrific. Scores die, many are physically injured, and still others, like Gavrel, suffer mentally. Anguish and frustration of looking for survivors and identifying the dead seem hopeless, but Raisa remains brave and focused. This would be a fine companion to Margaret Peterson Haddix's Uprising (S & S, 2007) and Mary Jane Auch's Ashes of Roses (Holt, 2002).-Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ (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 What would become of the little birds if their mama did not push them out of the nest? Glukel reassures Raisa, who makes the daunting decision to leave her Polish shtetl for America and try to join her sister, Henda. Leaving the nest means setting out on a grueling overseas voyage, facing fear of rejection at Ellis Island, and embarking on a desperate search for shelter and work. Adding to the challenge, Raisa takes over the care of a small child whose mother died on the ship and Henda seems nowhere to be found. Friesner's sparkling prose makes the immigrant experience in New York's Lower East Side come alive: from working at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company and attending night school to becoming part of a close-knit community with hope for the future. The devastating Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire tragedy resonates heartbreakingly, and although the happy ending is contrived, readers will turn the pages with rapt attention to follow the characters' intrepid, risk-all adventures in building new lives.--O'Malley, Anne Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

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ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow?
by Susan A. Shea

Book list This playful picture book asks children to consider which things grow and which stay the same. The rhyming text pairs two choices on each double-page spread. Lifting the large, die-cut flap on the right-hand page reveals the answer. The questions suggest analogies, but their absurdity is often amusing. If an owlet grows and becomes an owl, / can a washcloth grow and become . . . lift up the page flap a towel. After posing a series of questions where the answer is inevitably no, Shea turns the tables by asking. If a joey grows and becomes a kangaroo, / can a baby grow and become . . . pull down the page flap you. Slaughter's striking illustrations, collages of solid-color and painted papers, use simple forms and bold colors to create animals and objects that are easy to identify. With its eye-catching design and interactive text, this picture book is fun to read aloud and fine for introducing science units on the concept of living and nonliving things.--Phelan, Caroly. Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-This standout concept book is engaging, fun, and interactive. It begins by explaining that, "Some things grow/like you and me./Others stay the way/they're made./Until they crack, or rust,/or fade." Simple, spare rhyming text flows smoothly with illustrations that follow on pages that include die cuts and flaps; "If a kitten grows,/becomes a cat,/can a cap grow and become. a hat?" The answers are provided at the end. Layers of painted paper collage are done in a brightly colored palette, including end pages with bold paintbrush stripes in primary and secondary colors. White space is creatively used, but the flaps and die cuts steal the show. For example, the spread featuring snakes in saturated black, yellow, and green pops on the white background. A pickup truck grows to be a rig when the flap is opened. The flatbed becomes the trailer enhanced with a pattern that resembles the American flag. Readers will be challenged by the questions and some unusual words for the names of a few baby animals: a kit, an owlet, a kid, and a joey. This clever title begs for multiple readings and will be a favorite in storytimes or in one-on-one settings. Spot-on.-Anne Beier, Clifton Public Library, NJ (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 Slaughter's brightly colored cut-paper shapes and newcomer Shea's verse recall favorites of 50 years ago-a feeling reinforced by this book's matte pages, blocky images, and fun-to-flip gatefolds. "If a duckling grows/ and becomes a duck,/ can a car grow and become..." reads the text on facing pages; children will be able to guess what's coming even before the gatefold opens-"a truck?" Slaughter (Which Way?) revels in paint-box primaries, pushing reds, greens, yellows, and blues up against each other for maximum visual charge. The gatefolds break in interesting places-halfway down a garment hanging on a hanger, for example, turning a floral sweater into a full-length coat-and contain the occasional die-cut, too. Shea's verses scan consistently and gracefully. "YES to ducks, bears, and owls./ NO to trucks, chairs, and towels," she writes, reinforcing the idea that living things grow but inanimate objects don't. The beauty of the rhymes is that they teach a lesson children already know; children will relish the fun of being sure of all the answers, and they'll love Shea's tongue-in-cheek tone. Ages 4-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Night Broken
by Patricia Briggs


Agatha Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Better off Wed
by Laura Durham


Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog Ellen Foster
by Kaye Gibbons


Pulitzer Prize
Click to search this book in our catalog W.E.B. DuBois
by David Levering Lewis


Scientific America Young Readers Book Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Isaac Newton and the Scientific Revolution
by Gale Christianson

Book list Gr. 8^-12. Christianson, a distinguished professor who has written extensively on Newton and his times, makes few concessions to the lay reader in this biography in the Oxford Portraits in Science series. Those who know some physics will find the science fascinating, but the technical explanations aren't easy: just what did that falling apple show Newton about gravity? How did he come to his theory of the calculus? What are the connections with Einstein's work on relativity and quantum mechanics? However, all readers will enjoy the personal life story, and they will feel the excitement of Newton's discoveries of the laws that govern an orderly and knowable universe. Far from reverential, Christianson shows us a genius who could be treacherous, revengeful, and arrogant: "Time itself must stand still for Isaac Newton; after all, he was one of the Lord's anointed." Bibliography; chronology; many contemporary prints and diagrams. --Hazel Rochman

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

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up?This is not just a great biography?it's one of the best-written science books around for young people. Christianson has sifted through the historical documents and accounts of Newton to paint a convincing and intelligent picture of the complex and at times irascible genius. Even more remarkable, the biographical portrait he presents is a compelling story. It begins with a beheading?that of Charles I?and ends with the poetic image of visitors to Newton's gravesite pausing "in silent tribute to the sacred permanence of the dead." The author demonstrates a remarkable sense of Newton and his times. For example, while many other biographers struggle to explain his experiments in alchemy, Christianson puts them in context of the great scientist trying to unravel the mysteries of the atomic world with the best tools available to him. The narrative also shows how Newton changed as he grew older: from a young, intense, reclusive academic to a living legend justifiably vain about his reputation. Reproductions of documents, Newton's sketches, and paintings of well-known figures illustrate this fine book.?Alan Newman, American Chemical Society, Washington, DC

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

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National Book Critics Circle
Click to search this book in our catalog Strange Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights
by Marina Warner

Book list This learned, lively, and well-written book concerns the wide-ranging influence of The Arabian Nights a polyvocal anthology of world myths, fables and fairy tales on Western culture. Even Freud's couch, carpet, and Middle Eastern antiquities created an Oriental setting for the first psychoanalytical cures. Warner's densely detailed, loose, baggy monster of a book covers an impressive array of subjects from Voltaire and Goethe to Borges and Nabokov. It includes and interprets 15 of the tales, which describe fantasy, magic, and enchantment as well as cruelty and executions, humanity and justice. They were first translated into French by the orientalist Antoine Galland in 1704-12. The most popular stories, Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, were not in the original collection but rather invented by the translator. Warner writes, Sharazad plays the part of an Arabian Penelope, delaying her fate by weaving an endless tapestry of stories, which instead of unwinding actually grows. At the end of a thousand nights, the sultan decrees that she deserves to live and inscribes her stories in a golden book.--Meyers, Jeffrey Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Library Journal Warner (literature, film, & theater studies, Univ. of Essex, UK; Monsters of Our Own Making: The Peculiar Pleasures of Fear) has long been recognized as one of the foremost scholars of the fairy tale and myth. Here, she brings her characteristic erudition and insight to one of the great works of world literature, The Arabian Nights, using the best-known as well as some of the lesser-known stories to demonstrate how the Nights contributed to the rise of magical thinking across European and world culture. In all, she examines 15 stories from the Nights and connects them to wider cultural phenomena such as Mozart's The Magic Flute and ideas of flying "before flying." Freud's couch plays its role as well. Warner's argument is based on her premise that "the cultural picture has greater potential for enriching the historical view." She ably demonstrates how the tales loom large in European culture and have provided the basis for much creativity and imagination since their discovery by the West in the 18th century. VERDICT General readers and scholars in folklore, history, and Arabic literature alike will appreciate Warner's ability to make connections between the Nights and the way the stories have resonated over time and space. Highly recommended.-David S. Azzolina, Univ. of Pennsylvania- Libs., Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2012. 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.

Choice Writer and mythographer Marina Warner (Univ. of Exeter, UK) examines the perplexing popularity of Arabian Nights during the Enlightenment. Antoine Galland's creative reconstruction of the tales in 1704 provides the starting point for Warner's investigation. Despite multiple variations, every version of Arabian Nights follows the same overarching plot: by telling fascinating, interlaced tales, Shahrazad is able to distract, educate, and transform an enraged sultan. These fantastical tales enabled Western readers to act out their fantasies in a foreign and therefore safe space. The book is divided into five parts, each featuring three stories written by Warner for convenience and consistency. Part 1 focuses on enchantment in the legends of Solomon; part 2 examines how magic became exoticized by being projected on mysterious yet powerful foreigners; part 3 connects the stories to modern experience through objects and artifacts; and part 4 explores respectively writers' and artists' response to Nights. Part 5 provides specific case studies of the Arabian Nights' influence on modernity. Overall, Warner's analysis of Arabian Nights aims at redefining the relationship between East and West, reason and imagination, science and magic. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. S. Gomaa Salve Regina University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly This remarkable study is an arabesque, and an intricate Persian rug of themes, eras, tales, and authors-of the Middle East and West, playing on "states of consciousness" as well as state-cultures. With a basic knowledge of Arabic from childhood as well as a Catholic upbringing, Warner is almost divinely positioned to unravel the infinite strands of the wily Scheherazade, as she weaves her way through the Arabian Nights, exploring their boundless capacity to "keep generating more tales, in various media, themselves different but alike: the stories themselves are shape-shifters." From Disney's Aladdin to the works of Freud, Goethe, Hans Christian Andersen, and others, Warner explores the impact of the Arabian Nights on the West and the power of enchantment and fantasy. Like all myth, these of flying carpets, sofas, and beds of genies and heroic connivers grant lasting insights into human aspirations, transcendence, and love. Carefully documented, Warner's ever shifting work takes its place alongside that of Edward Said, though she is refreshingly less polemical and less theoretical. No one need cover this enchanting ground again. 25 color, 55 b&w illus. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog The Whipping Boy
by Sid Fleischman