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The Sound of Life and Everythingby Krista Van Dolzer
Synopses & Reviews
A fascinating speculative historical fiction debut set in 1950s California—perfect for fans of When You Reach Me.
Twelve-year-old Ella Mae Higbee is a sensible girl. She eats her vegetables and wants to be just like Sergeant Friday, her favorite character on Dragnet. So when her auntie Mildred starts spouting nonsense about a scientist who can bring her cousin back to life from blood on his dog tags, Ella Mae is skeptical—until he steps out of a bio-pod right before her eyes.
But the boy is not her cousin—hes Japanese. And in California in the wake of World War II, the Japanese are still feared and despised. When her aunt refuses to take responsibility, Ella Mae and her Mama take him home instead. Determined to do whats right by her new friend, Ella Mae teaches Takuma English and defends him from the reverends talk of H-E-double-toothpicks. But when his memories start to resurface, Ella Mae learns some shocking truths about her own family and more importantly, what it means to love.
"In a moving examination of racism in post-WWII California, a scientist promising to resurrect an American solider instead conjures a Japanese clone. Shunned by his creator and the desperate woman who thought she was getting back her son, Takuma Sato is taken in by 12-year-old Ella Mae Higbee and her mother, who recognize the man's innocence. As Takuma's self-proclaimed best friend, Ella Mae is a scrapper in the tradition of Harper Lee's Scout, a tomboy unafraid of using her fists on a bully with an equally fierce compassion that looks beyond a man's skin. Debut author Van Dolzer's attentions are less on the story's science fiction aspect than on the racial tensions at play, dividing family and pitting God against science, with the devout Mrs. Higbee standing up against religious leaders who turn Takuma away for his unnatural genesis. In revealing how Takuma's DNA got mixed up with that of Ella Mae's cousin, Van Dolzer creates a thoughtful study in forgiveness and hope blossoming in a climate of ignorance and fear. Ages 10 — up. Agent: Kate Schafer Testerman, KT Literary." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Two girls separated by race form an unbreakable bond during the tumultuous integration of Little Rock schools in 1958
Twelve-year-old Marlee doesn't have many friends until she meets Liz, the new girl at school. Liz is bold and brave, and always knows the right thing to say, especially to Sally, the resident mean girl. Liz even helps Marlee overcome her greatest fear - speaking, which Marlee never does outside her family.
But then Liz is gone, replaced by the rumor that she was a Negro girl passing as white. But Marlee decides that doesn't matter. Liz is her best friend. And to stay friends, Marlee and Liz are willing to take on integration and the dangers their friendship could bring to both their families.
About the Author
Krista Van Dolzer (motherwrite.blogspot.com) is a stay-at-home mom by day and a children's author by naptime. She holds degrees in Mathematics Education and Economics from Brigham Young University. She enjoys watching college football and researching her ancestors. This is her first book. Krista lives with her husband and three kids in Mesquite, Nevada. Follow her on Twitter: @kristavandolzer
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