Synopses & Reviews
In West of the Moon
, award-winning and New York Times
bestselling author Margi Preus expertly weaves original fiction with myth and folktale to tell the story of Astri, a young Norwegian girl desperate to join her father in America.
After being separated from her sister and sold to a cruel goat farmer, Astri makes a daring escape. She quickly retrieves her little sister, and, armed with a troll treasure, a book of spells and curses, and a possibly magic hairbrush, they set off for America. With a mysterious companion in tow and the malevolent andldquo;goatmanandrdquo; in pursuit, the girls head over the Norwegian mountains, through field and forest, and in and out of folktales and dreams as they steadily make their way east of the sun and west of the moon.
Praise for West of the Moon
FIVE STARRED REVIEWS
andquot;Like dun silk shot thought with gold, Preus interweaves the mesmerizing tale of Astriandrsquo;s treacherous and harrowing mid-nineteenth-century emigration to America with bewitching tales of magic. A fascinating authorandrsquo;s note only adds to the wonder.andquot;
--Booklist, starred review
andquot;Norwegian history, fiction and folklore intertwine seamlessly in this lively, fantastical adventure and moving coming-of-age story.andquot;
--Kirkus Reviews, starred review
andquot;Enthralling and unflinching, this historical tale resonates with mythical undertones that will linger with readers after the final page is turned.andquot;
--School Library Journal, starred review
andquot;Astri is like a girl out of a fairy tale, and the native folktales that Preus weaves through the narrative serve as guides, lessons, and inspiration for her.andquot;
--Publishers Weekly, starred review
andquot;Several Norwegian folktales are seamlessly integrated into the fast-paced, lyrically narrated story, which features a protagonist as stalwart and fearless as any fairy-tale hero.andquot;
--The Horn Book Magazine, starred review
andquot;Itandrsquo;s Astriandrsquo;s voice, however, that is most appealing: her direct, no-nonsense narration has a sharp bite, yet it also reveals the vulnerable young girl whoandrsquo;s willing to continue to fight but is nonetheless exhausted by the weight of her struggle. The chapters have an episodic structure that makes this an ideal choice for readaloud or storytelling adaptations, while the mix of folklore, fact, and fantasy will please fans of Edith Patouandrsquo;s East.andquot;
--The Bulletin of The Center for Childrenandrsquo;s Books
"Set in 1936, this memorable coming-of-age story follows 12-year-old Abilene Tucker's unusual summer in her father's hometown of Manifest, Kans., while he's away on a railroad job. Having had an itinerant upbringing, Abilene is eager to connect to her father's childhood, a goal that proves difficult. The immigrant town has become rundown, but is populated with well-developed, idiosyncratic characters and has a dynamic past involving the KKK, an influenza scare, and a bootlegging operation. Manifest's history emerges in stories recounted by Miss Sadie (a Hungarian medium) and in news columns written in 1917 by Hattie Mae Harper, 'Reporter About Town.' With new friends Lettie and Ruthanne, Abilene pieces together the past, coming to understand, as Miss Sadie says, that 'maybe what you're looking for is not so much the mark your daddy made on this town, but the mark the town made on your daddy.' Witty, bold, and curious, Abilene is as unforgettable as the other residents of Manifest, and the variety of voices allows the town's small mysteries to bloom. Replete with historical details and surprises, Vanderpool's debut delights, while giving insight into family and community. Ages 9 12. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
Winner of the 2011 Newbery Award.
The movement of the train rocked me like a lullaby. I closed my eyes to the dusty countryside and imagined the sign I’d seen only in Gideon’s stories: Manifest—A Town with a rich past and a bright future.
Abilene Tucker feels abandoned. Her father has put her on a train, sending her off to live with an old friend for the summer while he works a railroad job. Armed only with a few possessions and her list of universals, Abilene jumps off the train in Manifest, Kansas, aiming to learn about the boy her father once was.
Having heard stories about Manifest, Abilene is disappointed to find that it’s just a dried-up, worn-out old town. But her disappointment quickly turns to excitement when she discovers a hidden cigar box full of mementos, including some old letters that mention a spy known as the Rattler. These mysterious letters send Abilene and her new friends, Lettie and Ruthanne, on an honest-to-goodness spy hunt, even though they are warned to “Leave Well Enough Alone.”
Abilene throws all caution aside when she heads down the mysterious Path to Perdition to pay a debt to the reclusive Miss Sadie, a diviner who only tells stories from the past. It seems that Manifest’s history is full of colorful and shadowy characters—and long-held secrets. The more Abilene hears, the more determined she is to learn just what role her father played in that history. And as Manifest’s secrets are laid bare one by one, Abilene begins to weave her own story into the fabric of the town.
Powerful in its simplicity and rich in historical detail, Clare Vanderpool’s debut is a gripping story of loss and redemption.
Determined to make some extra money, twelve-year-old Missy and her older brother Patrick get summer jobs picking blueberries at a local farm. For Missy, though, blueberry picking quickly becomes about more than just money it's the perfect distraction from the fact that her two best friends have gone off to summer camp without her and that her dad is getting remarried. Why can't everything go back to the way it used to be? Back to normal? But, Missy soon discovers that the summer is full of secrets: the secrets to making her family feel whole again; the secrets to keeping her two best friends from changing and leaving her behind; the secrets of a local farm's blood feud; and most importantly, the secrets of blueberries.
Author Sara Nickerson infuses warmth and emotion into this relatable story about finding something special within yourself and a place to call your own in even the most tumultuous of times.
Debut novelist Lisa Lewis Tyre vibrantly brings a small town and its outspoken characters to life, as she explores race and other community issues from both the Civil War and the present day.
Lou might be only twelve, but shes never been one to take things sitting down. So when her Civil War-era house is about to be condemned, shes determined to save iteither by getting it deemed a historic landmark or by finding the stash of gold rumored to be hidden nearby during the war. As Lou digs into the past, her eyes are opened when she finds that her ancestors ran the gamut of slave owners, renegades, thieves and abolitionists. Meanwhile, some incidents in her town show her that many Civil War era prejudices still survive and that the past can keep repeating itself if we let it. Digging into her past shows Lou that its never too late to fight injustice, and she starts to see the real value of understanding and exploring her roots.
An authentic coming-of-age story about finding magic in the every dayperfect for fans of Rebecca Stead, Joan Bauer, and Wendy Mass.
Olivia and her mom have just moved in with her grandmother, and Olivia has exactly zero friends at her new school. But after a strange message on the bathroom wall of a café catches her eye, Olivia decides that Birmingham, Alabama, may be a little more interesting than it seems. So begins a search for answers that takes her all over the city. Luckily, her mission isnt solitary for long, thanks to her newfound friendship with Amelia, a girl just odd enough to be intriguing.
What the girls discover isnt the earth-shattering revelation they were hoping for, but it may be just as compelling. After all, sometimes the journey really is more important than the destination. Especially when it leads you back home.
Historical fiction at its best, this novel by bestselling author Marissa Moss tells the story of Sarah Emma Edmonds, who masqueraded as a man named Frank Thompson during the Civil War. Her adventures include serving as a nurse on the battlefield and spying for the Union Army, and being captured by (and escaping from) the Confederates. The novel is narrated by Sarah, offering readers an in-depth look not only at the Civil War but also at her journey to self-discovery as she grapples with living a lie and falling in love with one of her fellow soldiers.
Using historical materials to build the foundation of the story, Moss has crafted a captivating novel for the YA audience. The book includes a Civil War timeline, archival photos, a glossary of names, a detailed note on sources, and a new readers guide.
and#160; In this action-packed adventure and coming-of-age story that finely weaves fact and fiction, thirteen-year-old Ming lives in a small village in Maoist China in the 1970s. His father is convinced that Emperor Qinand#8217;s tomband#151;and the life-size terra-cottaand#160;army created to serve and protect the emperor in the afterlifeand#151;lies hidden in the hills around them. But if Mingand#8217;s father doesnand#8217;t prove it soon, the townand#8217;s Political Officer willand#160;condemn him to the brutal labor camps. From the stories of a terra-cotta soldier who has survived through the centuries, Ming learns the history of Emperor Qin, known for building the Great Wall of China, and how and why the terra-cotta soldiers came to be. As their unlikely friendship develops, Ming experiences the mysterious tomb firsthand, braving deadly traps and witnessing the terra-cotta army in action. Most importantly, he comes to see how he can save both the terra-cotta soldiers and his father from the corrupt Political Officer and his Communist cronies.
The book is illustrated with photographs of Communist Chinese village life in the 1970s, the Great Wall, and, of course, the excavated tomb with its many terra-cotta soldiers.and#160;It also features a special recipe from the story.
Praise for Secrets of the Terra-Cotta Soldier
"Historical photos and Indiana Jonesand#150;style adventure enrich this tale of an unusual meeting between the Qin Dynasty and the 20th century."
"Despite the hardships, both courageous characters work to uphold their respective duties: Shi to protect the tomb and Ming to protect the cultural legacy of Chinaand#8217;s people. With archival art, recipes, and end notes, this title is sure to be a hit in the classroom."
“Some people won’t believe any of this story. You might be one of them. But every single word is true. Tony DiMarco does catch a murderer, solve a mystery, and find a treasure—all in the first few days after he moves, unexpectedly, to 13 Hangmen’s Court in Boston. The fact that he also turns thirteen at the same time is not a coincidence.”
So begins the story of Tony and his friends—five 13-year-old boys, all of whom are living in the same house in the same attic bedroom but at different times in history! None are ghosts, all are flesh and blood, and somehow all have come together in the attic room, visible only to one another. And all are somehow linked to a murder, a mystery, and a treasure.
Praise for 13 Hangmen"Fascinating tale. Ghostly fun in old Boston."--Kirkus Reviews
"The book’s design nicely differentiates Tony’s story, set in 2009, from the past narratives. Recommend this engaging historical mystery to readers who devoured Dan Gutman’s Baseball Card Adventures series and are ready for a longer, more complex adventure."
"Corriveau merrily ransacks historical episodes and figures (e.g., the Great Molasses Flood, the Underground Railroad, Boston mayor John F. “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald) and spins, twists, and manipulates their stories to advance the DiMarco family mystery. The result is a novel that agilely balances humor and tension."
--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"This is an exceptionally good story, with a wry, humorous tone that has particular boy appeal. It covers baseball, history, sibling rivalry, girls, and mystery, and folds in the space-time continuum."
--School Library Journal
About the Author
Moon Over Manifest, Clare Vanderpool’s first novel, is set in the fictional small town of Manifest, Kansas, which is based on the real southeastern Kansas town of Frontenac, home of both of her maternal grandparents. Drawing on stories she heard as a child, along with research in town newspapers, yearbooks, and graveyards, Clare found a rich and colorful history for her story. Clare lives in Wichita, Kansas, with her husband and their four children.