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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog The Lost Hero
by Riordan, Rick

Book list Readers longing for a return to Camp Half-Blood will get their wish in the first novel of the Heroes of Olympus series, which follows Riordan's popular Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and includes some of the same characters in minor roles. The new cast features Jason, Piper, and Leo, teen demigods who are just coming to understand and use their unique abilities as they learn how much depends upon their wits, courage, and fast-developing friendship. Setting up the books to come, the backstory of a master plan to unseat the gods is complex but is doled out in manageable bits with a general air of foreboding. Meanwhile, the action scenes come frequently as the three heroic teens fight monstrous enemies in North American locales, including the Grand Canyon, Quebec City, Detroit, Chicago, Omaha, Pikes Peak, and Sonoma Valley. Flashes of humor lighten the mood at times, but a tone of urgency and imminent danger seems as integral to this series as the last. With appealing new characters within a familiar framework, this spin-off will satisfy the demand for more.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 5-9-This book will delight fans of The Lightning Thief (Hyperion, 2005) as Percy, Annabeth, and others play roles in the new prophecy and its subsequent quest. A few months after The Last Olympian (Hyperion, 2009) ends, Jason wakes up on a bus filled with problem kids from the Wilderness School who are headed to the Grand Canyon. He has no memory of his previous life, but seems to be with his girlfriend, Piper, and his best friend, Leo. The action takes off quickly: storm spirits attack them and capture their coach, who turns out to be a Satyr. Searching for Percy, who is missing, Annabeth arrives and takes the three to Camp Half-Blood, where they learn that they are demigods. Their parents are gods in their Roman rather than Greek personae. By sunset of the solstice in three days, the teens must rescue Hera, Queen of the gods, or Porphyrion, the giant king created to destroy Zeus and unseat the gods of Olympus, will rise. Their quest takes them across the United States, sometimes flying on a mechanical, 60-foot dragon, as they use their power and wits against Medea, King Midas, and the giant cannibal Enceladus. Riordan excels at clever plot devices and at creating an urgent sense of cliff-hanging danger. His interjection of humor by incongruous juxtaposition-Medea, for example, heads up a New York City department store-provides some welcome relief. The young heroes deal with issues familiar to teens today: Who am I? Can I live up to the expectations of others? Having read the first series is helpful but not essential, and the complex plot is made for sequels.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME (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 Percy Jackson fans can rest easy: this first book in Riordan's Heroes of Olympus spin-off series is a fast-paced adventure with enough familiar elements to immediately hook those eager to revisit his modern world of mythological mayhem. Clever plot devices-like gods who shift back and forth between their Greek and Roman personae-keep the book from feeling like a retread of Riordan's previous novels. Jason, Piper, and Leo, three students at a wilderness school for troubled teens, are transported to Camp Half-Blood after an unexpected encounter with evil storm spirits on the rim of the Grand Canyon. Not only do they discover that they are the offspring of ancient gods, but they also learn that they are three of seven demigods mentioned in the Great Prophecy uttered by Rachel in The Last Olympian. Wasting little time acclimating to their new lives, the three embark upon a quest to preserve Mt. Olympus and the divine status quo, by rescuing an erstwhile enemy. Rotating among his three protagonists, Riordan's storytelling is as polished as ever, brimming with wit, action, and heart-his devotees won't be disappointed. Ages 10-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Dead End in Norvelt
by Jack Gantos

Book list Looks like a bummer of a summer for 11-year-old Jack (with a same-name protagonist, it's tempting to assume that at least some of this novel comes from the author's life). After discharging his father's WWII-souvenir Japanese rifle and cutting down his mom's fledgling cornfield, he gets grounded for the rest of his life or the rest of the summer of 1962, whichever comes first. Jack gets brief reprieves to help an old neighbor write obituaries for the falling-like-flies original residents of Norvelt, a dwindling coal-mining town. Jack makes a tremendously entertaining tour guide and foil for the town's eccentric citizens, and his warmhearted but lightly antagonistic relationship with his folks makes for some memorable one-upmanship. Gantos, as always, deliver bushels of food for thought and plenty of outright guffaws, though the story gets stuck in neutral for much of the midsection. When things pick up again near the end of the summer, surprise twists and even a quick-dissolve murder mystery arrive to pay off patient readers. Those with a nose for history will be especially pleased.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly A bit of autobiography works its way into all of Gantos's work, but he one-ups himself in this wildly entertaining meld of truth and fiction by naming the main character... Jackie Gantos. Like the author, Jackie lives for a time in Norvelt, a real Pennsylvania town created during the Great Depression and based on the socialist idea of community farming. Presumably (hopefully?) the truth mostly ends there, because Jackie's summer of 1962 begins badly: plagued by frequent and explosive nosebleeds, Jackie is assigned to take dictation for the arthritic obituary writer, Miss Volker, and kept alarmingly busy by elderly residents dying in rapid succession. Then the Hells Angels roll in. Gore is a Gantos hallmark but the squeamish are forewarned that Jackie spends much of the book with blood pouring down his face and has a run-in with home cauterization. Gradually, Jackie learns to face death and his fears straight on while absorbing Miss Volker's theories about the importance of knowing history. "The reason you remind yourself of the stupid stuff you've done in the past is so you don't do it again." Memorable in every way. Ages 10-14. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 5-8-In 1962, Jack accidentally discharges his father's war relic, a Japanese rifle, and is grounded for the summer. When a neighbor's arthritic hands get the best of her, his mother lifts the restriction and volunteers the 12-year-old to be the woman's scribe, writing obituaries for the local newspaper. Business is brisk for Miss Volker, who doubles as town coroner, and Norvelt's elderly females seem to be dropping like flies. Prone to nosebleeds at the least bit of excitement (until Miss Volker cauterizes his nose with old veterinarian equipment), Jack is a hapless and endearing narrator. It is a madcap romp, with the boy at the wheel of Miss Volker's car as they try to figure out if a Hell's Angel motorcyclist has put a curse on the town, or who might have laced Mertie-Jo's Girl Scout cookies with rat poison. The gutsy Miss Volker and her relentless but rebuffed suitor, Mr. Spizz, are comedic characters central to the zany, episodic plot, which contains unsubtle descriptions of mortuary science. Each quirky obituary is infused with a bit of Norvelt's history, providing insightful postwar facts focusing on Eleanor Roosevelt's role in founding the town on principles of sustainable farming and land ownership for the poor. Jack's absorption with history of any kind makes for refreshing asides about John F. Kennedy's rescue of PT-109 during World War II, King Richard II, Francisco Pizarro's conquest of Peru, and more. A fast-paced and witty read.-Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY (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.

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New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog World Order
by Henry Kissinger

Library Journal As a Machiavellian adviser to Republican presidents, Kissinger meditates on his realpolitik approach to international affairs at the beginning of the 21st century. "Leftists" condemned his elitism and concern with the major powers, while "rightists" condemned his willingness to negotiate with Soviet leaders. The former secretary of state begins by providing a historical account of how the Old World (Europe, Africa, and Asia) implemented a balance of power approach to maintain order. Later, he reflects on contemporary politics of the United States, China, Russia, and Iran. He theorizes that the modern American experience stems from Theodore Roosevelt's realism and Woodrow Wilson's idealism in foreign affairs. Though Kissinger's heart may be with Roosevelt, he demonstrates how Wilson's rhetoric affected the New World experience, particularly the Americas, influencing not only Franklin Roosevelt but also Richard Nixon, who kept a portrait of Wilson in the White House's Cabinet Room. VERDICT Critics are unlikely to find much interest in this volume as it largely summarizes Kissinger's thinking, but students and historians of political science may appreciate his suggestion that both realism and idealism are necessary in modern times. [See Prepub Alert, 3/17/14.]-William D. Pederson, Louisiana State Univ., Shreveport (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Agatha Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Birds of a Feather
by Jacqueline Winspear

Book list Sinking into a novel this good is as satisfying as sinking into a good leather chair: we know we are in for the duration, and it feels right. Although alert readers will probably tease out the murderer about halfway through, the journey is worth it, for we are in the company of Maisie Dobbs, a P.I. who bears the scars of service as a nurse in the Great War. When the owner of a chain of London food halls hires her to find his daughter, Maisie is intrigued as Charlotte Waite is in her thirties and has run away before. Then several women with ties to Charlotte are murdered--morphine and a bayonet to the heart. Maisie teases this all out while practicing both the careful observance and interior meditation her mentor has taught her. Maisie, who has gone from being in service to a graduate of Girton at Cambridge, is as intelligent and engaging a sleuth as one might desire: the period touches, from clothing to manners, are not only elegantly presented but unostentatious. --GraceAnne DeCandido Copyright 2004 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly The eponymous heroine of Winspear's promising debut, Maisie Dobbs (2003), continues to beguile in this chilling, suspenseful sequel set in England a decade after the end of the Great War. Maisie, "Psychologist and Investigator," as the brass nameplate on her office door declares, gets hired by a wealthy industrialist to find his only daughter, Charlotte Waite, who has gone missing. With the help of her cockney assistant, Billy Beale, Maisie sets out to learn all she can of Charlotte's habits, character and friends. No sooner has Maisie discovered the identities of three of these friends than they start turning up dead-poisoned, then bayoneted for good measure. At each crime scene is left a white feather. Increasingly preoccupied with these tragedies, Maisie almost loses sight of her original mission, until it becomes apparent that the murders and Charlotte's disappearance are related. As in her first novel, the author gives an intelligent and absorbing picture of the period, providing plentiful details for the history buff without detracting from the riveting mystery. Readers will be eager to see more of the spunky Maisie, with her unusual career as a one-time maid, nurse and university student. Agent, Amy Rennert. (June 15) Forecast: A Top Ten Book Sense 76 pick for 2003, Maisie Dobbs has been nominated for both Agatha and Edgar awards. A win of either of these in late May, followed by a national author tour, will help propel sales of Birds of a Feather. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal In this follow-up to Winspear's Edgar Award-nominated Maisie Dobbs, her most unusual P.I. has been hired to find the missing daughter of a wealthy London magnate. As Maisie and her Cockney assistant, Billy Beale, try to track Charlotte Waite down, they discover that three of her old friends have been murdered-poisoned and then bayoneted. Did Charlotte run away to escape an overbearing father, or did she flee out of fear? Are the crimes connected to the Great War? Unlike the first book, which was a fascinating portrait of a young woman moving from servitude to independence, this is more a traditional mystery ? la Dorothy Sayers. But Winspear doesn't stint on the intriguing historical and social details that made her debut so compelling. She deftly captures Maisie's Upstairs, Downstairs dilemma of living in a class-ridden society: the former housemaid still feels "like a citizen of two countries, neither here nor there, but always somewhere in the middle." Strongly recommended for most mystery collections.-Wilda Williams, Library Journal Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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

School Library Journal Adult/High School-The spirited heroine of Maisie Dobbs (Soho, 2003) is back to solve another puzzle in post-World War I London. Having been trained by a master detective, the former serving girl now a Cambridge graduate is hired by grocery magnate Joseph Waite to find his wayward daughter, Charlotte. What begins as a simple missing-person case evolves into the investigation of three murders, all of young women who were friends during the war. Charlotte may be the next target. Chock-full of period details such as how to start a 1920s-era MG, what to buy at the grocer's, what to wear in the country, soup kitchens, and heroin use, the novel follows Maisie's progress as she uses detection, psychology, and even yogalike centering to clear her mind. There is much substance to this mystery, which mines the situations brought about by the horrors of the war-both on the front and at home, and its still simmering aftermath-plus a hint of romance and the beginning resolution of two father-daughter rifts. The story flows easily, descriptions are vivid and apt, and character is limned quickly, with each an individual. This is an utterly enjoyable and painless history lesson and a well-plotted and consistent mystery that will appeal to teens looking for more than just historical fiction.-Susan H. Woodcock, Fairfax County Public Library, Chantilly, VA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail
by Malika Oufkir

Publishers Weekly While accounts of the unjust arrest and torture of political prisoners are by now common, we expect such victims to come with a just cause. Here, Oufkir tells of the 20-year imprisonment of her upper-class Moroccan family following a 1972 coup attempt against King Hassan II by her father, a close military aide. After her father's execution, Oufkir, her mother and five siblings were carted off to a series of desert barracks, along with their books, toys and French designer clothes in the family's Vuitton luggage. At their first posting, they complained that they were short on butter and sweets. Over the years, subsequent placements brought isolation cells and inadequate, vermin-infested rations. Finally, starving and suicidal, the innocents realized they had been left to die. They dug a tunnel and escaped. Recapture led to another five years of various forms of imprisonment before the family was finally granted freedom. Oufkir's experience does not fit easily into current perceptions of political prisoners victimized for their beliefs or actions. In fact, she was the adopted daughter of King Muhammad V, Hassan II's father, sent by her parents at age five to be raised in the court with the king's daughter as her companion and equal. Beyond horrifying images such as mice nibbling at a rich girl's face, this erstwhile princess's memoir will fascinate readers with its singular tale of two kindly fathers, political struggles in a strict monarchy and a family's survival of cruel, prolonged deprivation. (Apr.) Forecast: A bestseller in France, where Morocco is always a hot issue, this oddly gripping book should also do well here thanks to Oufkir's appearance soon on 60 Minutes and a five-city tour. Film adaptation is a distinct possibility, especially given the book's publisher. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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

Library Journal Oufkir, the child of a general, was adopted at the age of five by King Mohammed and brought up as a companion to his daughter. Eleven years later, she returned home to a three-year adolescence of wealth and privilege, where she consorted with movie stars and royalty. In 1961, Hassin II succeeded his father as king, and Oufkir's father was executed after staging a coup against the new regime. For the next 15 years, Oufkir, her mother, and her five siblings were confined to a desert prison and subjected to inhuman conditions. Oufkir's description of their day-to-day survival during these years is the heart of the book. The family finally escaped by digging a tunnel, were recaptured, and today live in Paris, where Oufkir eventually found love and marriage with a French architect. A best seller in France, this riveting story will find an audience here, but just how much of an audience is yet to be determined. Recommended for all general collections. Frances Sandiford, Green Haven Correctional Facility Lib., Stormville, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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

Book list The ways that people hurt one another are always hard to fathom, and why they do so is another mystery. It is true that General Oufkir probably led the 1972 attempted coup and assassination of King Hassan of Morocco. However, Oufkir's wife and children, including Malika, found out about it only after his execution. Still, guilt by association condemned them, without a trial, to more than 20 years of imprisonment, including more than a decade of near starvation and torture. What makes all this harder to understand is that Malika had been adopted by then king Mohammed when she was five. As the primary playmate of the king's beloved daughter, she was surrounded by luxury and treated as royalty. After the coup attempt, Malika and other members of her family were exiled to an abandoned fort in the countryside. Within four years they were moved to the Bir-Jdid prison, where their worst torment began. They would not see one another or sunlight for more than a decade. The physical toll of years of this treatment was bad enough, but the emotional toll was far more devastating. By the time they dug their way to freedom in 1987, they were emaciated skeletons. However, even then it would be another nine years before they were totally free. The question of why it happened is never really answered, but this is an extremely effective and graphic picture of what evil is like from the vantage point of its most innocent victims. --Marlene Chamberlain

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

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Pulitzer Prize
Click to search this book in our catalog Tinkers
by Paul Harding

Book list *Starred Review* A tinker is a mender, and in Harding's spellbinding debut, he imagines the old, mendable horse-and-carriage world. The objects of the past were more readily repaired than our electronics, but the living world was a mystery, as it still is, as it always will be. And so in this rhapsodic novel of impending death, Harding considers humankind's contrary desires to conquer the imps of disorder and to be one with life, fully meshed within the great glimmering web. In the present, George lies on his death bed in the Massachusetts house he built himself, surrounded by family and the antique clocks he restores. George loves the precision of fine timepieces, but now he is at the mercy of chaotic forces and seems to be channeling his late father, Howard, a tinker and a mystic whose epileptic seizures strike like lightning. Howard, in turn, remembers his strange and gentle minister father. Each man is extraordinarily porous to nature and prone to becoming unhitched from everyday human existence and entering a state of ecstasy, even transcendence. Writing with breathtaking lyricism and tenderness, Harding has created a rare and beautiful novel of spiritual inheritance and acute psychological and metaphysical suspense.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2008 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Harding's outstanding debut unfurls the history and final thoughts of a dying grandfather surrounded by his family in his New England home. George Washington Crosby repairs clocks for a living and on his deathbed revisits his turbulent childhood as the oldest son of an epileptic smalltime traveling salesman. The descriptions of the father's epilepsy and the "cold halo of chemical electricity that encircled him immediately before he was struck by a full seizure" are stunning, and the household's sadness permeates the narrative as George returns to more melancholy scenes. The real star is Harding's language, which dazzles whether he's describing the workings of clocks, sensory images of nature, the many engaging side characters who populate the book, or even a short passage on how to build a bird nest. This is an especially gorgeous example of novelistic craftsmanship. (Jan.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal George Washington Crosby has eight days to live. After this first line, the life of George and of his father, Howard, who left when George was 12, is explored through the metaphor of George's hobby of repairing clocks. Howard was a peddler, traveling with a cart and mule through eastern Maine around the turn of the century. This isolated profession allowed him to keep his affliction, epilepsy, successfully hidden from most everyone until, finally, his wife decides he has to be institutionalized for the safety of her children. It is to avoid this that Howard disappears. George, as he lays dying, considers his life and family coming in and out of reality and history. Harding, an MFA from Iowa Writer's Workshop, creates a beautifully written study of father-son relationships and the nature of time. This short work is a solid addition for larger literary collections. Recommended.--Josh Cohen, Mid-Hudson Lib. Syst., Poughkeepsie, NY Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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Scientific America Young Readers Book Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Optical Tricks
by Walter Wick

Book list Gr. 3^-6. Using mirrors, lighting, shadows, and simple props, the photographer who gave us the I Spy books and last year's extraordinary A Drop of Water, Booklist 1997 Top of the List for Young Nonfiction, has produced a stunning picture book of optical illusions. With crystal-clear photographs, he creates a series of scenes that fool the eye and the brain. Objects placed on a mirror seem to float in space, a triangle appears to move in three different directions, and a small Roman soldier guards a strange structure with columns that seem to change shape and decrease in number. These and other illusions are accompanied by text that not only describes what is happening but also gives hints about how the tricks are done. A full explanation of each illusion is provided at the end. The large format and clear pictures make this perfect for using with a small group, and even readers older than the target audience will enjoy the challenge of these examples of trompe l'oeil. --Helen Rosenberg

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

School Library Journal Gr 4-8-Communication between eye and mind is disoriented with a series of colorful photos of meticulously chosen or carefully constructed objects painstakingly arranged and ingeniously photographed from extremely precise angles. Challenges are presented both in those often-frustrating photos and in the simply written text, with the "illusions" revealed on subsequent pages by having readers change their viewpoint, or in consultation with a series of "solutions" and explanations at the back of the book. In a conclusion, youngsters are reassured that not everyone can "see" every illusion, and that this work is meant as "...an entertaining introduction to the mysteries of visual perception..." and not an "intelligence test." Highly sophisticated despite its appearance of colorful ingenuousness, this new endeavor from the creator of A Drop of Water (Scholastic, 1997) will prove engagingly demanding to those who can "see" 3-D op art in a trice, and annoyingly exacting to those who cannot. Stimulating, if frustrating, and certainly not in the usual stripe of books on optical illusions.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY

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

Publishers Weekly Wick (photographer of the I Spy books) reaches into his bag of photography tricks and pulls out surprises galore: his baker's dozen of fascinating illusions will stump readers of every age. Nothing is quite what it seems?images that appear indented in clay suddenly pop out in relief when the page is turned upside-down; a handful of fish multiplies into an endless school through the clever use of mirrors; the middle of three columns in a structure seems to disappear somewhere between base and ceiling. Crisply photographed and composed in largely primary colors, the images pack a nifty one-two punch. Best yet, Wick generously reveals the tricks of his trade at the end, explaining the difference between true and false perceptions and showing how, for example, he created the illusion titled "In Suspense" by placing halves of objects on a mirror to make them appear as wholes, floating in space. Part M.C. Escher, part "Magic Eye," but wholly original in their presentation, these irresistible puzzles are nothing short of visual catnip. Ages 7-up. (Sept.)

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National Book Critics Circle
Click to search this book in our catalog Austerlitz
by W. G. Sebald

School Library Journal Winner of the Berlin Literature and Literatur Nord prizes and the Los Angeles Times Book Award, Sebald has previously been published here by New Directions but now jumps to a bigger house. The narrator recounts the story of his friend, Jacques Austerlitz, who came to Britain on a kindertransport and as an adult must painfully reconstruct his past. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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

Publishers Weekly The ghost of what historian Peter Gay calls "the bourgeois experience," molded in the liberalism and neurasthenia of the 19th century and destroyed in the wars and concentration camps of the 20th century, haunts W.G. Sebald's unique novels. His latest concerns the melancholic life of Jacques Austerlitz who, justifiably, exclaims, "At some point in the past, I thought, I must have made a mistake, and now I am living the wrong life." The unnamed narrator met Austerlitz, an architectural historian, in Belgium in the '60s, then lost track of his friend in the '70s. When they accidentally run into each other in 1996, Austerlitz tells the story that occupies the rest of the book the story of Austerlitz's life. For a long time, Austerlitz did not know his real mother and father were Prague Jews his first memories were of his foster parents, a joyless Welsh couple. While exploring the Liverpool Street railroad station in London, Austerlitz experiences a flashback of himself as a four-year-old. Gradually, he tracks his history, from his birth in Prague to a cultivated couple through his flight to England, on the eve of WWII, on a train filled with refugee children. His mother, Agata, was deported first to Theresienstadt and then, presumably, to Auschwitz. His father disappeared in Paris. Austerlitz's isolation and depression deepen after learning these facts. As Sebald's readers will expect, the novel is filled with scholarly digressions, ranging from the natural history of moths to the typically overbearing architecture of the Central European spas. In this novel as in previous ones, Sebald writes as if Walter Benjamin's terrible "angel of history" were perched on his shoulder. B&w photos. (Oct.) Forecast: Gambling (safely) on Sebald's progress from cult favorite to major figure, Random House has picked up the author from former publisher New Directions and is sending him on an author tour. Though his latest isn't as startling and exciting as The Emigrants or The Rings of Saturn, it is a significant achievement, and Sebald should continue to attract ever more attention. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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

Library Journal This tremendously emotional novel is far easier to sum up than to evaluate: Jacques Austerlitz, an architectural historian, tells his life story to the unnamed narrator over the course of 30 years. What unfolds is the tale of one man's search for the truth behind his identity after he learned that the Welsh couple who raised him are not his real parents. He discovers that his birth parents were Prague Jews who sent him to England in 1939 on a Kindertransport before being deported to concentration camps. Contrary to what some say, Sebald is not an easy read. In fact, this novel, much like his previous ones (The Emigrants, Vertigo), cries to be reread before it even ends. Sebald constructs the narrative as if to convey that even the mundane seems more meaningful if we are unaware of the facts. The black-and-white photographs scattered throughout do not add to the depth of the story, but they do add to its genuineness, serving to validate the events and reconstruct the novel as a tangible historical document. Ultimately, the narrative transcends fiction and becomes history. The overbearing details of architectural history that saturate much of the text are the only distractions. Ultimately, this is a work of rare originality. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/01.] Mirela Roncevic, "Library Journal" Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog A Single Shard
by Linda Sue Park

School Library Journal Gr 5-8-In this tale of courage and devotion, a single shard from a celadon vase changes the life of a young boy and his master. In 12th-century Korea, the village of Ch'ulp'o is famous for its pottery. The orphan Tree-ear spends his days foraging for food for himself and Crane-man, a lame straw weaver who has cared for him for many years. Because of his wanderings, Tree-ear is familiar with all of the potters in the village, but he is especially drawn to Min. When he drops a piece Min has made, Tree-ear begins to work for him to pay off his debt, but stays on after the debt is paid because he longs to learn to create beautiful pots himself. Sent to the royal court to show the king's emissary some new pottery, Tree-ear makes a long journey filled with disaster and learns what it means to have true courage. This quiet story is rich in the details of life in Korea during this period. In addition it gives a full picture of the painstaking process needed to produce celadon pottery. However, what truly stands out are the characters: the grumpy perfectionist, Min; his kind wife; wise Crane-man; and most of all, Tree-ear, whose determination and lively intelligence result in good fortune. Like Park's Seesaw Girl (1999) and The Kite Fighters (2000, both Clarion), this book not only gives readers insight into an unfamiliar time and place, but it is also a great story.-Barbara Scotto, Michael Driscoll School, Brookline, MA (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.

Publishers Weekly Park (Seesaw Girl) molds a moving tribute to perseverance and creativity in this finely etched novel set in mid- to late 12th-century Korea. In Ch'ul'po, a potter's village, Crane-man (so called because of one shriveled leg) raises 10-year-old orphan Tree Ear (named for a mushroom that grows "without benefit of "parent-seed"). Though the pair reside under a bridge, surviving on cast-off rubbish and fallen grains of rice, they believe "stealing and begging... made a man no better than a dog." From afar, Tree Ear admires the work of the potters until he accidentally destroys a piece by Min, the most talented of the town's craftsmen, and pays his debt in servitude for nine days. Park convincingly conveys how a community of artists works (chopping wood for a communal kiln, cutting clay to be thrown, etc.) and effectively builds the relationships between characters through their actions (e.g., Tree Ear hides half his lunch each day for Crane-man, and Min's soft-hearted wife surreptitiously fills the bowl). She charts Tree Ear's transformation from apprentice to artist and portrays his selflessness during a pilgrimage to Songdo to show Min's work to the royal court he faithfully continues even after robbers shatter the work and he has only a single shard to show. Readers will not soon forget these characters or their sacrifices. Ages 10-14. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Gr. 4-8. When the polite greeting in a society is "Have you eaten well today?' one may guess that subsistence is of prime concern. Surely no one in this twelfth-century Korean village is more accustomed to hunger than the orphan boy Tree-ear and his guardian Crane-man who is lame. They sleep under a bridge in summer and in a pit in winter, eating what they can forage in the woods or garbage piles. At the age of 12, Tree-ear becomes an assistant to the potter Min. A hard taskmaster to himself and the boy, Min is the maker of the finest celadon ware in Ch'ul'po, a village known for its pottery. When Min entrusts two precious pots to Tree-ear to deliver to Songdo, the boy must make his way across miles of unknown territory, relying on his courage and wits to prove himself worthy of Min's trust. This quiet, but involving, story draws readers into a very different time and place. Though the society has its own conventions, the hearts and minds and stomachs of the characters are not so far removed from those of people today. Readers will feel the hunger and cold that Tree-ear experiences, as well as his shame, fear, gratitude, and love. A well-crafted novel with an unusual setting. --Carolyn Phelan

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

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