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"A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted. You   should live several lives while reading it." 
--William Styron
 
 
 
 
 
Featured Book Lists
Book JacketWritten in my own heart's blood
by Diana Gabaldon
Book JacketBreathing room
by Marsha Hayles
Book list From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780805089615 Tuberculosis still scourged the nation in 1940, and sanatoriums such as the fictional Loon Lake facility in Hayles' first novel were established to quarantine patients and treat the illness. Shortly after Evelyn arrives there, she tries to put on a brave face, holding back tears. My head hurt with questions. Really, all of me hurt, worse than ever before. I had to close my eyes. Trying to stay alive at Loon Lake felt like it was killing me already. Eventually, she grows more comfortable with the new routines and forges friendships. Hayles provides a fascinating glimpse into the medical technology of the day, such as the pneumothorax to blow air into the chest or surgical rib removal to ease pressure on the lungs. The unique setting provides a backdrop to a well-crafted, believable story complete with happy moments and camaraderie interspersed with a daily reality of anxiety and loss. Despite a well-founded fear of how the disease could cut short her future, Evie evokes a completely normal-sounding teen trying to make sense of the world. Photos and other illustrations enhance the narrative.--O'Malley, Anne Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780805089615 Set in 1940 at a sanitarium in Loon Lake, Minn., this first novel from picture-book author Hayles (Bunion Burt) is an evocative piece of historical fiction. Thirteen-year-old Evvy Hoffmeister has tuberculosis and feels abandoned by her family when she's sent to the sanitarium to be cured. The cold nurses, strict rules, mind-numbing routines, and endless bed rest are dispiriting for Evvy and her roommates: kind Beverly, glamorous Pearl, and defensive Dena. "Trying to stay alive at Loon Lake felt like it was killing me already," says Evvy. Nonetheless, the girls find strength in each other and discover creative ways to bring cheer. Evvy bonds with a new roommate and a warm nurse, but the beginning of war in Europe and the constant deaths in the institution keep the patients under a dark cloud. Evvy's strong, emphatic narration gives voice to her resentment, isolation, and determination. Hayles's sympathetic characters and detailed account is complemented by historical documents and photos throughout. Readers will feel plunged into the book's intimate-claustrophobic, even-setting and immersed in Evvy's daily struggles. Ages 10-14. Agent: Tracey Adams, Adams Literary. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780805089615 Gr 5-8-Evvy Hoffmeister, 13, arrives at Loon Lake Sanatorium in Minnesota in the early 1940s in hopes of being cured of tuberculosis. She is confined to bed rest in a ward with three other adolescent girls, Beverly, Pearl, and Dena. Evvy misses her family, especially her twin brother, but adjusts to life at Loon Lake, a complex of buildings almost as vividly depicted as the staff and patients it houses. Stony Nurse Marshall, dubbed Old Eagle Eye by Dena, assigns privileges when the girls cough up less bloody sputum and show signs of improving health. Yet death is always close at hand, and Pearl, who had the privilege of leaving the sanatorium for a day, returns happily with gifts of decorated paper fans for her friends, only to die in the hallway from "throwing a ruby," a hemorrhage. Many archaic medical treatments are used on the patients, including thoracoplasty, the removal of a rib to allow a lung to collapse and heal. Sarah, a new patient, becomes Evvy's friend and shares the secret that she is Jewish. With awareness of World War II being fought in Europe, a staff member insults Evvy because of her German surname. She is a resilient and perceptive character who will not be defined by her illness. This powerful novel, illustrated with contemporary objects and documents, portrays an illness that is unfortunately making a comeback. A moving and well-wrought story.-Susan W. Hunter, Riverside Middle School, Springfield, VT (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Book JacketNo Ordinary Day
by Deborah Ellis
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781554981342 Ellis (the Breadwinner trilogy) again brings an individual humanity to newspaper headlines. Giving voice to an orphan girl living on the streets of Calcutta unaware of her leprosy, Ellis turns a potentially unpalatable subject into a fresh and compelling story that focuses on Valli's spirited personality and sly cleverness. Valli runs away from her poverty-stricken home in the coal town of Jharia, India, when she learns that she is not a true member of the family she lives with. In Calcutta, she learns to survive by "borrowing" what she needs, be it blankets, money, or food. Quick, intelligent, and fearless, Valli is content living day to day until she meets a doctor who takes her for treatment to the hospital, where she finds herself among the "monsters" she feared most in Jharia-leprosy-stricken, disfigured people. Refusing to acknowledge she is one of them, she escapes back to the streets, until she finally understands she has the potential to lead a better life. Ellis's straightforward language and uncompromising depictions of Valli's unimaginably harsh and gritty world combine with believable character development to create a strong and accessible novel. Ages 9-12. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781554981342 *Starred Review* Valli, an orphan living in Jharia, India, spends her days picking up coal, fighting with cousins, and avoiding the monsters (lepers, actually) who live on the other side of the tracks. When she learns her family are not true blood relatives, she runs away to Kolkata, where she survives by borrowing what she needs, using it for a while, and then passing it on to someone else. Finally, she meets Dr. Indra, who recognizes that Valli, too, suffers from leprosy and helps the child to secure treatment and hope for a better future. What keeps this story from becoming maudlin is Valli's positive outlook. Quick, intelligent, and fearless, she isn't above begging to ensure her survival, but rarely does she play the victim card. Details about leprosy (causes, symptoms, treatment, prognosis) are carefully woven into the story and never feel forced or didactic. While Valli's situation will seem alien to most young North Americans, this compelling and accessible novel will enlighten, spark discussion, and prompt readers to try other Ellis titles, in particular, the Breadwinner trilogy.--Weisman, Kay Copyright 2010 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781554981342 Gr 3-6-Valli, about 10, lives in the poverty-stricken town of Jharia, India, where she is a coal picker. When she makes a shocking discovery about her family, she runs away and, after a series of harrowing events, reaches the bustling city of Kolkata. Valli survives on the street by stealing and begging. With no plan, no support system, and failing health, she begins to lose hope. While begging for change one day, she is befriended by a kind doctor who recognizes Valli's symptoms of leprosy. The child is terrified with this diagnosis as back home the village children had thrown stones at people with this disease, calling them "monsters." With the help of the doctor and other leprosy patients, Valli gets treatment and education, learns tolerance for people different from herself, and simultaneously realizes her own self-worth. Although many important lessons are presented in this even-paced, clearly written story, it is never heavy-handed or didactic. Valli is a well-developed, realistic, and engaging narrator. While American readers may not all relate to her ordeals, they will recognize common emotions for people their age. The story highlights not only the overcoming of adversity, but also the importance of education and literacy. It also brings to light the issue of leprosy, which is misunderstood. An important, inspiring tale.-Rita Meade, Brooklyn Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Book JacketFlotsam
by David Wiesner
School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780618194575 PreS Up-Photos developed from a "Melville underwater camera" washed ashore astound the boy who discovers the device. Fantastic scenes of undersea life and images of children from years before encourage him to add his own photo to the series. Wiesner wordlessly stretches readers' imaginations about the timeless ocean circling the globe. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780618194575 Two-time Caldecott winner Wiesner (Tuesday; The Three Pigs) crafts another wordless mystery, this one set on an ordinary beach and under an enchanted sea. A saucerlike fish's eye stares from the exact center of the dust jacket, and the fish's scarlet skin provides a knockout background color. First-timers might not notice what's reflected in its eye, but return visitors will: it's a boxy camera, drifting underwater with a school of slim green fish. In the opening panels, Wiesner pictures another close-up eye, this one belonging to a blond boy viewing a crab through a magnifying glass. Visual devices binoculars and a microscope in a plastic bag rest on a nearby beach towel, suggesting the boy's optical curiosity. After being tossed by a wave, the studious boy finds a barnacle-covered apparatus on the sand (evocatively labeled the "Melville Underwater Camera"). He removes its roll of film and, when he gets the results, readers see another close-up of his wide-open, astonished eye: the photos depict bizarre undersea scenes (nautilus shells with cutout windows, walking starfish-islands, octopi in their living room ? la Tuesday's frogs). A lesser fantasist would end the story here, but Wiesner provides a further surprise that connects the curious boy with others like him. Masterfully altering the pace with panel sequences and full-bleed spreads, he fills every inch of the pages with intricate, imaginative watercolor details. New details swim into focus with every rereading of this immensely satisfying excursion. Ages 5-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Book list From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780618194575 PreS-Gr. 2. As in his Caldecott Medal Book Tuesday 0 (1991), Wiesner offers another exceptional, wordless picture book that finds wild magic in quiet, everyday settings. At the seaside, a boy holds a magnifying glass up to a flailing hermit crab; binoculars and a microscope lay nearby. The array of lenses signals the shifting viewpoints to come, and in the following panels, the boy discovers an old-fashioned camera, film intact. A trip to the photo store produces astonishing pictures: an octopus in an armchair holding story hour in a deep-sea parlor; tiny, green alien tourists peering at sea horses. There are portraits of children around the world and through the ages, each child holding another child's photo. After snapping his own image, the boy returns the camera to the sea, where it's carried on a journey to another child. Children may initially puzzle, along with the boy, over the mechanics of the camera and the connections between the photographed portraits. When closely observed, however, the masterful watercolors and ingeniously layered perspectives create a clear narrative, and viewers will eagerly fill in the story's wordless spaces with their own imagined story lines. Like Chris Van Allsburg's books and Wiesner's previous works, this visual wonder invites us to rethink how and what we see, out in the world and in our mind's eye. --Gillian Engberg Copyright 2006 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780618194575 PreS-Gr 4-The properties and attendant framing shapes of the magnifying glass, camera, and microscope focus on photographs from a camera found on the beach. The watercolor sequence moves around the world and back in time, revealing a child holding a picture of the subsequent child (and an underwater fantasy) in this Caldecott winner. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780618194575 K-Gr 4-A wave deposits an old-fashioned contraption at the feet of an inquisitive young beachcomber. It's a "Melville underwater camera," and the excited boy quickly develops the film he finds inside. The photos are amazing: a windup fish, with intricate gears and screwed-on panels, appears in a school with its living counterparts; a fully inflated puffer, outfitted as a hot-air balloon, sails above the water; miniature green aliens kowtow to dour-faced sea horses; and more. The last print depicts a girl, holding a photo of a boy, and so on. As the images become smaller, the protagonist views them through his magnifying glass and then his microscope. The chain of children continues back through time, ending with a sepia image of a turn-of-the-20th-century boy waving from a beach. After photographing himself holding the print, the youngster tosses the camera back into the ocean, where it makes its way to its next recipient. This wordless book's vivid watercolor paintings have a crisp realism that anchors the elements of fantasy. Shifting perspectives, from close-ups to landscape views, and a layout incorporating broad spreads and boxed sequences, add drama and motion to the storytelling and echo the photographic theme. Filled with inventive details and delightful twists, each snapshot is a tale waiting to be told. Pair this visual adventure with Wiesner's other works, Chris Van Allsburg's titles, or Barbara Lehman's The Red Book (Houghton, 2004) for a mind-bending journey of imagination.-Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Book JacketExtra Yarn
by Mac Barnett
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780061953385 Understated illustrations and prose seamlessly construct an enchanting and mysterious tale about a girl named Annabelle, who lives in a world "where everywhere you looked was either the white of snow or the black of soot from chimneys." After Annabelle finds a box filled with yarn of every color, she immediately sets out to knit sweaters for everyone she knows. Barnett's (Mustache!) story is both fairy tale lean and slyly witty. No matter how many sweaters Annabelle knits, the box always has "extra yarn" for another project, until the entire town is covered with angled stitches in muted, variegated colors-people, animals, and buildings alike. (Fans of Klassen's I Want My Hat Back may suspect that a few of the animals from that story have wandered into this one.) A villainous archduke offers to buy the box, but Annabelle refuses. He steals it, but finds it contains no yarn at all, and with the help of just a bit more magic, it finds its way back to Annabelle. Barnett wisely leaves the box's magic a mystery, keeping the focus on Annabelle's creativity, generosity, and determination. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780061953385 *Starred Review* This understated picture book is certain to spark the imagination of every child who comes upon it, and what could be better than that? Annabelle lives in a black-and-white world, where everything is drab, drab, drab. So imagine her surprise when she finds a box filled with yarn of every color. Armed with the yarn and knitting needles, she makes herself a sweater, but after she finishes, she finds that she has extra yarn left over. After knitting a sweater for her dog, her classmates, and various (hilariously unsurprised) bunnies and bears, she still has extra yarn. So, Annabelle turns her attention to things that don't usually wear wool cozies: houses and cars and mailboxes. Soon an evil archduke with a sinister mustache who was very fond of clothes hears about the magic box of never-ending yarn, and he wants it for his own. Reading like a droll fairy tale, this Barnett-Klassen collaboration is both seamless and magical. The spare, elegant text and art are also infused with plenty of deadpan humor. Klassen (I Want My Hat Back, 2011) uses ink, gouache, and digital illustration to fashion Annabelle's world out of geometric shapes, set against dark, saturated pages, and against white as the town comes to colorful, stitched life. Quirky and wonderful, this story quietly celebrates a child's ingenuity and her ability to change the world around her.--Kelley, Ann Copyright 2010 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780061953385 K-Gr 3-In a snow- and soot-covered town, Annabelle discovers a small black box filled with colorful yarn. She knits a sweater for herself, but there's still yarn left over. From the seemingly inexhaustible supply, she knits sweaters for her dog, a boy and his dog, her classmates, her mean teacher, her parents, and people in town. In an astounding feat of urban knitting, she covers the buildings in sweatery goodness, but the yarn does not run out. Disaster strikes when a mustachioed, piratical archduke arrives, demanding that the child sell him the magic box. When she declines, he steals it but does not benefit from his crime, as he finds it empty. In a fit of rage, the archduke curses Annabelle and flings the box into the sea. Happily, it finds its way back to her full of yarn again. Klassen's deadpan, stylized illustrations impeccably complement Barnett's quirky droll writing. Small details like a dog's sneer or sweater-covered mailboxes add to the subtle humor. The cheerful colors of the yarn contrast with the somber grays and blacks of the town. Give this one to fans of offbeat stories like Florence Heide's Princess Hyacinth: (The Surprising Story of a Girl Who Floated) (Random, 2009) or to young knitting enthusiasts.-Yelena Alekseyeva-Popova, Chappaqua Library, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Book JacketSomething Like Hope
by Goodman, Shawn
Book list From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780385739399 *Starred Review* Smart, angry, and desperate, Shavonne, 17, is in juvenile detention again, and in her present-tense, first-person narrative, she describes the heartbreaking brutality that she suffered before she was locked up, as well as the harsh treatment, and sometimes the kindness, she encounters in juvie. With a mother who is a crack-addicted prostitute, and a father she never knew who died in prison, she was sent into the foster-care system as a young child. One foster mother needed money for drugs, so she forced Shavonne, 11 at the time, to go with a man who raped her. While she was locked up, Shavonne gave birth, and she is glad that her daughter is now in a kind foster home. As the title suggests, the story leaves room for something like hope; with all the pain and sorrow Shavonne endures, she is never broken. Not only does the African American teen survive, but she also nurtures needy fellow inmates, and she bonds with her counselor even as she tries to escape a vicious, racist supervisor. More than a situation, the story builds to a tense climax: What is the secret Shavonne cannot even think about? Shavonne's voice witty, tender, explicit, and tough will grab readers. In the tradition of Walter Dean Myers' and Jacqueline Woodson's novels, this winner of Delacorte's 2009 prize for best YA debut gets behind the statistics to tell it like it is.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780385739399 Goodman (winner of the Delacorte Press Prize, awarded to first-time novelists) debuts with the wrenching portrayal of a girl who has had to shut down her emotions to survive a childhood of profound physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Shavonne's mother was a drug addict, and Shavonne was placed in foster care when she was six years old, where she faced a myriad of abusive situations. Now 17 and living in a juvenile facility, Shavonne's primary emotion is a burning anger that erupts in violence and will secure her a place in prison when she turns 18, a fact she is unable to care about, despite her desire to regain custody of her two-year-old daughter. But her new therapist, whose vulnerability touches Shavonne despite herself, begins to earn her trust and lead her to a place where she is emotionally strong enough to confront the secret that has haunted her. The story and its trajectory are familiar, but Goodman's delicate prose avoids sentimentality, instead painting a searing picture of a girl who slowly begins to claim the life long stolen from her. Ages 14-up. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780385739399 Gr 8 Up-Shavonne, who has gone from one juvenile detention center to another since junior high, will be moving out of the system on her 18th birthday. Fury and frustration are huge obstacles she must conquer by coming to grips with a drug-addicted prostitute mother; abusive foster parents who allowed her to be raped; a father who died in jail; giving up her own baby to the foster-care system; and forgiving herself for an accident that injured her beloved baby brother. Her personal challenges are compounded by troubled and desperate fellow inmates; several cruel, manipulative, corrupt guards who beat and taunt them; and youth counselors without a clue, who hurt more than help. Luckily, the last embers of hope deep within Shavonne's soul are flamed by one kind guard and an empathetic and straightforward counselor who successfully reaches through to her at the 11th hour. Shavonne's first-person narrative captures readers' attention and never lets go. Short, compelling chapters keep up the tempo as her shocking and sad past and present are revealed and her desire for a better future takes center stage. Readers will forgive the slightly pat ending, reassured that Shavonne is finally on the right track. Language and situations are appropriately coarse and startling for the setting, and those teens who applauded the urban survivors in Sapphire's Push (Vintage, 1998) and Coe Booth's Tyrell (Scholastic, 2006) will do the same for Shavonne.-Diane P. Tuccillo, Poudre River Public Library District, Fort Collins, CO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Book JacketThe Whipping Boy
by Sid Fleischman
Book JacketKilling Patton
by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
Book JacketFirst Woman and the Strawberry: A Cherokee Legend
by Gloria Dominic
Book JacketThe Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832
by Alan Taylor
Book JacketThe Elected Member
by Bernice Rubens