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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog A Time of Miracles
by Bondoux, Anne-Laure

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-Blaise Fortune has gone by the name Koumail for most of his life with Gloria in the war-torn Republic of Georgia. Although he loves her like a mother, he enjoys hearing the story of how she rescued him from a train that had derailed and his French mother, a passenger, died, and he dreams of the day he will find his real family. When the Soviet Union collapses, Gloria and Koumail begin a long, perilous journey to France where she believes he can live the life he deserves, without the stress and strife of war. Readers follow them through refugee camps, alternating between times of more peaceful hardship and periods of danger and flight. When Gloria tells Koumail to hide in a truck, he makes it to France but she is left behind. As he grows from a child into an adolescent, Koumail begins to wonder more about his true identity, and the novel culminates nine years later with a heartbreaking realization. The story is written in beautiful, quiet prose and offers a touch of hope, along with tragedy. The characters and story are well formed, but young people unfamiliar with the circumstances of life behind the Iron Curtain and the collapse of the Soviet Union might be confused as much of the conflict and political situation isn't explained until near the end of the book. However, those who stay with it will be rewarded with an exceptional story.-Sharon Senser McKellar, Oakland Public 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.

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-Blaise Fortune has gone by the name Koumail for most of his life with Gloria in the war-torn Republic of Georgia. Although he loves her like a mother, he enjoys hearing the story of how she rescued him from a train that had derailed and his French mother, a passenger, died, and he dreams of the day he will find his real family. When the Soviet Union collapses, Gloria and Koumail begin a long, perilous journey to France where she believes he can live the life he deserves, without the stress and strife of war. Readers follow them through refugee camps, alternating between times of more peaceful hardship and periods of danger and flight. When Gloria tells Koumail to hide in a truck, he makes it to France but she is left behind. As he grows from a child into an adolescent, Koumail begins to wonder more about his true identity, and the novel culminates nine years later with a heartbreaking realization. The story is written in beautiful, quiet prose and offers a touch of hope, along with tragedy. The characters and story are well formed, but young people unfamiliar with the circumstances of life behind the Iron Curtain and the collapse of the Soviet Union might be confused as much of the conflict and political situation isn't explained until near the end of the book. However, those who stay with it will be rewarded with an exceptional story.-Sharon Senser McKellar, Oakland Public 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.

Publishers Weekly "There's nothing wrong with making up stories to make life more bearable," says Gloria, the wise woman who is the soul of Bondoux's (The Killer's Tears) beautifully nuanced novel. As she and seven-year-old Koumail flee the Republic of Georgia to escape uprisings and fighting during the Soviet Union's collapse, Gloria soothes the boy with the story of his past. She says she rescued him from a train wreck near her family's orchard after his badly injured mother "begged me with her eyes, and I understood what she expected of me." His real name, she says, is Blaise Fortune and he was born in France, where he and Gloria are headed. The two make a perilous, five-year journey westward through war-torn territory, encountering a memorable entourage of fellow refugees with poignant stories of their own. Continuously embellishing Blaise's life story, Gloria keeps hope alive for the boy, believing it is the "one and only remedy against despair." Years after their sudden, wrenching separation, a reunion brings to light the final, heartrending version of Blaise's past. Though Blaise narrates this splendidly translated novel, Gloria's voice will long resonate. Ages 12-up. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list After the collapse of the Soviet Union, seven-year-old Koumaïl and his guardian, Gloria, flee violent unrest and begin an arduous journey across the Caucasus toward France. That's where Koumaïl was born, according to Gloria, who describes how she found Koumaïl in the wreckage of a train accident that killed his French mother. Gloria became the boy's devoted guardian, and Koumaïl recounts their inseparable bond as they risk everything, finding shelter in forests, camps, and gypsy settlements. Bondoux, author of the multi-award-winning The Killer's Tears (2006), tells another unusual, wrenching story of a vulnerable child. Koumaïl's first-person voice shifts uneasily between a young person's naïveté and an adult's acquired wisdom: I'm in a rush to grow up. I sense that the world in which we live is hostile to children. That may be a natural combination in an individual who has endured so much so young, though, and in potent details, Bondoux creates indelible scenes of resilient children who, like Koumaïl, find strength in painful memories: To be less afraid of the darkness and the unknown, I call on my ghosts. --Engberg, Gillian 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 Fangirl
by Rainbow Rowell.


New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Bill O'reilly's Legends And Lies
by David Fisher


Agatha Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog The Other Side of Dark
by Sarah Smith

Book list Crazy Katie sees and draws ghosts of real people who were killed in horrid circumstances. Law Walker, the son of a black Harvard professor and white landscape architect, dreams of becoming an architectural historian. His father believes in reparations; his mother, historical preservation. All the characters collide in the planned demolition of Pinebank, a historic house central to Frederick Law Olmstead's Emerald Necklace park system in Boston. As Law begins to realize that Katie's visions hold the key to saving Pinebank, he falls for her, despite her oddities. Well-known adult author Smith, who confesses to have loved ghost stories since childhood, has written an intricate YA debut that weaves complicated racial issues into a romantic, mysterious novel based on a controversial event in recent Boston history. Both adult and teenage characters are likable and authentically complex. Katie's visions of slavery and Law's father's address to the Boston City Council make for challenging reading that will prompt readers to reconsider the burden of history we all carry, regardless of race or origin.--Bradburn, Frances Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly What good is being able to see and speak to the dead if it doesn't help solve a mystery surrounding them? Fifteen-year-old Katie Mullens can interact with ghosts, including that of her father, though not of her more recently deceased mother. Law Walker is the mixed-race son of activists-an academic father who's a prominent advocate for slavery reparations ("Even in pajamas, standing at the top of the stairs and saying, Susan, I have lost my toothbrush,' his voice quivers with the weight of four hundred years of injustice") and a mother struggling to save a historic Boston building. Forging a friendship as outsiders-their classmates have written off Katie as crazy, and Law is a self-described geek trying to escape his domineering father's shadow-Katie and Law dive into a thickening tangle involving slavery, a treasure, and an old cabal that has modern-day repercussions for living and dead alike. Alternating between the teenagers' distinct and searching first-person narratives, and combining real history with quests for identity both personal and national, adult author Smith's YA debut is much more than just a ghost story. Ages 12-up. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 7-10-Law Walker and Katie Mullens couldn't be more different. He's the son of a wealthy African-American historian and a white architectural historian. She's a talented artist from a poor family who, after the death of her mother, begins to draw what she sees: ghosts and the horrific ways they died. Katie and Law are drawn together by Pinesbank, an estate that Law's father wants destroyed because of its ties to the slave trade, his mother wants restored because of its place in Boston history, and that Katie knows is important because of her new friendship with the ghost of a boy who lived there. While the premise may seem like that of many other supernatural romances, there is a depth to this title that others are lacking. Law is torn between his mother, whose passion for architecture he shares, and his strident father, who has built his career on working toward reparations and expects his son to follow in his footsteps. Katie is trying to hang on through her grief. Details of her visions and conversations with the dead will haunt readers, even as they're thinking about how race shapes actions and relationships, and how the past can change the present. Recommended for fans of paranormal romance and historical fiction alike.-Karen E. Brooks-Reese, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA (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 Twelve Tribes of Hattie
by Ayana Mathis


Pulitzer Prize
Click to search this book in our catalog Personal History
by Katharine Graham

Publishers Weekly In 1963, Graham took over as publisher of the Washington Post as a classic grieving widow. Her husband, Phil, had shot himself at their country estate, defeated in a prolonged battle with manic depression. Since then, Graham's life has been an amazing ride as she "moved forward blindly and mindlessly into a new and unknown life" to become the tough chief executive who, during Watergate, looked the President of the United States in the eye and didn't blink. She ended up as chairman and CEO of the Washington Post Media company, whose possessions included newspapers, magazines and TV stations. She makes a vivid and persuasive case for why it was so daunting for a woman of her generation to become, in the eyes of many, the most powerful woman in America-a designation she hated. She took over the newspaper to preserve it for her children and came to love it as a publication and as a business. She now sees that her management skills were lacking (financier Warren Buffett gave her a crash course in acquisitions and became a major shareholder and close friend), but she has nothing but pride and pleasure in the newspaper that she led from obscurity to world renown. The first half of her story centers around life with Phil, the second on three pivotal events at the Post: the publication of the Pentagon Papers, the Watergate scandal and the prolonged pressman's strike of 1975. She lovingly attributes much of the Post's success to editor Benjamin C. Bradlee. Her narrative is at times uneven, swinging from passages that sound almost like "what I did last summer" to amazingly detailed insider accounts of moments of national crisis. Household names dot every page, woven in with the lives of her four children, one of whom, Donald, now runs both the paper and the company. Graham is frank but not gossipy, self-critical but not falsely modest. She presents her "personal history" with quiet courage and considerable wit. Photos. 200,000 first printing; Random House audio. (Feb.)

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

Library Journal Katharine Meyer Graham was a woman born into a world of wealth and privilege who raised four children, became involved in volunteer work, and ended as the head of a powerful newspaper. Graham's father, a wealthy entrepreneur, bought the struggling Washington Post in 1933. Although Katharine had worked as a journalist, it was her husband, Philip Graham, who was chosen to take over the paper from her father. This is the story of a newspaper's rise to power but also of the destruction of a marriage, as Philip Graham slid into alcohol, depression, and suicide, and of Katharine's rise as a powerful woman in her own right. Throughout this easy-to-read story, Graham writes about her personal life and the lives of others, ranging from presidents to household help, with sympathy and grace. Recommended for public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/96.]?Rebecca Wondriska, Trinity Coll. Lib., Hartford, Ct.

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

Library Journal Not just the story of Graham's stewardship of the Washington Post, this "personal history" ranges from her favorite tennis partner (George Schultz) to her husband's fall into madness and suicide. A 200,000-copy first printing.

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

Book list Katharine (with an a) Graham has led a very full life, and her personal history will be, most likely, very well received by the public, for through it, she manages to answer questions of enduring interest: How do the excessively rich live? How do the rich get rich? How do they stay that way? How does a young, rich woman become more than a woman with lots of time on her hands? She indirectly answers those questions by shaping her family's history with a view toward its stewardship of the Washington Post. Graham, born to multimillionaire Eugene Meyer, a Jew, and Agnes Ernst, an arrogant German, lived such a sheltered life that in college she had to be told how to wash a sweater. Like most men of her time, she did not know how to maintain her material possessions but was well schooled in mind and body (a professional tennis player lived with the family for a while). Beyond her upbringing, Graham manages a controlled but seemingly full discussion of the many sensational aspects of her life: the suicide of her husband, Phil Graham; her rise to publisher of The Post; the Pentagon Papers; Watergate; and the dreadful pressmen's strike, a dispute in which Graham prevailed. In this well-researched memoir, with a cast of fascinating people doing their cameo turns, including several presidents, the photographer Edward Steichen, Thomas Mann, Felix Frankfurter, Warren Buffet, and Ben Bradlee, Graham keeps the sets moving and makes everyone work for her. It is a well-examined life. --Bonnie Smothers

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

Book list Katharine (with an a) Graham has led a very full life, and her personal history will be, most likely, very well received by the public, for through it, she manages to answer questions of enduring interest: How do the excessively rich live? How do the rich get rich? How do they stay that way? How does a young, rich woman become more than a woman with lots of time on her hands? She indirectly answers those questions by shaping her family's history with a view toward its stewardship of the Washington Post. Graham, born to multimillionaire Eugene Meyer, a Jew, and Agnes Ernst, an arrogant German, lived such a sheltered life that in college she had to be told how to wash a sweater. Like most men of her time, she did not know how to maintain her material possessions but was well schooled in mind and body (a professional tennis player lived with the family for a while). Beyond her upbringing, Graham manages a controlled but seemingly full discussion of the many sensational aspects of her life: the suicide of her husband, Phil Graham; her rise to publisher of The Post; the Pentagon Papers; Watergate; and the dreadful pressmen's strike, a dispute in which Graham prevailed. In this well-researched memoir, with a cast of fascinating people doing their cameo turns, including several presidents, the photographer Edward Steichen, Thomas Mann, Felix Frankfurter, Warren Buffet, and Ben Bradlee, Graham keeps the sets moving and makes everyone work for her. It is a well-examined life. --Bonnie Smothers

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

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Scientific America Young Readers Book Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Mud Matters: Stories from a Mud Lover
by Jennifer Owings Dewey

School Library Journal Gr 3-5ÄA unique book on the author's personal experiences with mud. Dewey offers good information on quicksand, primordial ooze, adobes, etc., and describes finding a fossilized bone of a Camalops, a sort of prehistoric, humpless camel. Full-color photographs and black-and-white drawings appear throughout. However, the writing gets so bogged down in dialogue that most youngsters will have a difficult time wading through it to get to the facts. Another problem is accessibility. Students researching the Zuni and their Mudheads, the nest-building techniques of wasps, or the Rio Grande will probably not think to look in this book. An appended list of plants and animals named after mud could prove handy, but the glossary, which includes words such as muddle and muddlehead, seems to be of marginal relevance. Students seeking material on the subject should look to Peter Goodwin's Landslides, Slumps, & Creep (Watts, 1997). Mud Matters will find little use in libraries.ÄAnne Chapman Callaghan, Racine Public Library, WI

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 The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science
by Richard Holmes

Book list As a researcher of British science during the Romantic period of English literature, Holmes suitably emphasizes the individual facing nature, so characteristic of the Romantic sensibility. Alighting on astronomer William Herschel (1738-1822) and chemist Humphrey Davy (1778-1829), both of whom were artistic (music and poetry, respectively), Holmes connects them via botanist Joseph Banks. In a precursor to a modern pattern, Banks moved from his youthful success as a naturalist on James Cook's voyages into administration president of the Royal Society and promoted both Herschel and Davy. They came to Banks' notice seemingly from nowhere, and their determination to discover is well told in Holmes' biographical narratives. Elevated to societal notice, Herschel and especially Davy excited popular interest in ultimate questions their scientific findings seemed to open up, questions whose ripples into the literature of Byron and Mary and Percy Shelley Holmes elaborates. Readers interested in any of these figures, or in the lives of astronomer Caroline Herschel and explorer Mungo Park, have in Holmes a fine guide to the arts and sciences, Romantic style.--Taylor, Gilbert Copyright 2009 Booklist

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

Library Journal While Romanticism in Great Britain is known mostly as an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement, rapid and revolutionary scientific discoveries were an underlying catalyst to the era's vaunted sense of "wonder." It was also a period when remarkable individuals working alone could make major contributions to knowledge. Historian and biographer Holmes (Dr. Johnson & Mr. Savage) conveys the history of Romantic-era science through vivid biographies of a few such individuals. Notable among them are Joseph Banks, a botanist whose experiences in Tahiti were life-changing; William Herschel, the eccentric astronomer who (aided invaluably by his devoted sister, Caroline) discovered the planet Uranus; and Humphrey Davy, an intrepid chemist who conducted gas inhalation experiments on himself. These and others are depicted against the cultural tapestry of an age of idealism, which was both fueled and threatened by the advances of science. The subject makes this book most relevant for readers of general science and history of science, but its engaging narratives of the period could appeal to a broader readership. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 3/1/09.]-Gregg Sapp, Evergreen State Coll. Lib., Olympia, WA (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.

Choice Authored by well-known writer/biographer Holmes, this interesting description of the "second scientific revolution" or "Romantic science" is an excellent history of both the onset of the Romantic period and the account of scientific discoveries. The first scientific revolution, late in the 17th century, can be considered to have been "private," practiced and known primarily by insiders. As the era's writers and artists (Romantics) became aware of these scientific discoveries, this second revolution became public, with writings often authored by women and shared with children. The primary actors in this scientific drama are astronomers/siblings William and Caroline Herschel and polymath Humphrey Davy. The period described is delineated by the voyages of Joseph Banks, who sailed around the world with Captain Cook in the 1760s, and of Charles Darwin on the Beagle in the 1830s. In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley sowed the seeds of future unrest between science and literature, the arts, and religion, relationships that were initially quite favorable to all. A "Cast List" at the end of the book briefly describes additional influential individuals during this period. Of interest to readers in a number of disciplines as well as general readers for pleasure. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All libraries. R. E. Buntrock formerly, University of Maine

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

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Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Jacob Have I Loved
by Katherine Paterson