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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Midwinterblood
by Marcus Sedgwick

Book list *Starred Review* In the year 2073, a reporter named Eric is sent to Blessed Island to research a rare flower called the Dragon Orchid. There he finds an insular community of mysterious villagers, a delicious tea that has him losing days at a time, and a beguiling girl named Merle. In just 50 pages, we reach a shattering conclusion and then start anew in 2011. An archaeologist is digging on Blessed Island, where he meets a quiet boy named Eric and his mother, Merle. So begins this graceful, confounding, and stirring seven-part suite about two characters whose identities shift as they are reborn throughout the ages. Sedgwick tells the story in reverse, introducing us to a stranded WWII pilot, a painter trying to resurrect his career in 1901, two children being told a ghost story in 1848, and more, all the way back to a king and queen in a Time Unknown. It is a wildly chancy gambit with little in the way of a solid throughline, but Sedgwick handles each story with such stylistic control that interest is not just renewed each time but intensified. Part love story, part mystery, part horror, this is as much about the twisting hand of fate as it is about the mutability of folktales. Its strange spell will capture you.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Beginning in July 2073, Sedgwick's new novel makes its way backward through time, drawing readers into seven stories from different eras. Whether it is a 21st-century archaeologist, a World War II pilot, or a Viking king, there are subtle but tell-tale signs of the threads that bind them together over the centuries-the echoes of particular names and phrases, the persistence of a mysterious dragon orchid, and other seemingly innocuous moments that all hint at the dark mystery at the center of this lyrical yet horrifying tale. The plot is reminiscent of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas (Sceptre, 2004), with its themes of love and reincarnation, as well as of the cult-movie-turned-book Robin Hardy's Wicker Man (Crown, 1978), with its setting of remote and sinister island inhabitants. The many characters are vividly real and distinct from one another, despite making only brief appearances. Each of these vignettes seem rich enough to be worthy of a novel of its own, and readers might almost wish they could pause in each fascinating, detailed moment rather than be swept through time-and the novel-on the current of a cursed love. Although fans of the author's Revolver (Roaring Brook, 2010) will likely flock to this book to relish more of Sedgwick's stark, suspenseful writing, new readers might find that there are more questions left unanswered than are resolved.-Evelyn Khoo Schwartz, Georgetown Day School, Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2013. 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 "I always prefer a walk that goes in a circle.... Don't you?" a woman named Bridget says to her daughter, Merle, at one point in this heady mystery that joins the remote northern setting of Sedgwick's Revolver with the multigenerational scope of his White Crow. Sedgwick appears to share Bridget's sentiment: as he moves backward through time in seven interconnected stories-from the late 21st century to an unspecified ancient era-character names, spoken phrases, and references to hares, dragons, and sacrifice reverberate, mutate, and reappear. Set on a mysterious and isolated Nordic island, the stories all include characters with variations on the names of Eric and Merle. In a present-day story about an archeological dig, Eric is a oddly strong, brain-damaged teenager and Merle his mother; in the 10th century, when the island was inhabited by Vikings, Eirek and Melle are young twins, whose story answers questions raised by what the archeologists discover. Teenage characters are few and far between, but a story that's simultaneously romantic, tragic, horrifying, and transcendental is more than enough to hold readers' attention, no matter their age. Ages 12-up. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Hello Lighthouse
by Sophie Blackall

Publishers Weekly Painted with the featherlight touch that distinguishes Caldecott Medalist Blackall's work, this graceful account of a lighthouse keeper's life celebrates a lost era. While it was lonely and sometimes dangerous, watching the lighthouse was monastic in its simplicity: "He tends the light and writes in the logbook." The lighthouse keeper readies his home for the arrival of his wife, who nurses him when he falls ill; then he helps her as she gives birth to their first child. Soon the family receives word that the lighthouse is to be fitted with a mechanical light, and their idyll comes to a serene end. Many spreads, delicate as painted porcelain, depict the lighthouse amid the breaking waves and changing life of the ocean. Seals bask, whales pass, and the aurora borealis flickers overhead. Repeated images of circles echo the lighthouse's circular rooms, from vignettes framed with nautical rope to a breathtaking sequence of the lighthouse-keeper's wife walking through her labor, each moment like the hand on the face of a clock. It's a jewel of a creation and a gift to those who dream of retreat. Ages 4-8. Agent: Nancy Gallt, Gallt + Zacker Literary. (Apr.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 3-On the highest rock of a tiny island at the edge of the world stands a lighthouse. Every day and every night, the lighthouse guides the way for passing ships, as its keeper tends to the light and writes in his guidebook. Over time, the lighthouse becomes a constant fixture in the middle of the sea as endless waves, ships, winds, whales, fish, storms, and keepers come and go. Here, Blackall tells the story of a lighthouse and its keeper, and how they both serve the sea. In the end, a machine is able to tend the light and the keeper must move on. But he will be forever connected to his lighthouse. The keeper's own light across the bay shines back at the lighthouse, saying "hello!" Gorgeous and appealing illustrations done in Chinese ink and watercolor make readers feel as though they are inside the lighthouse along with the keeper, surrounded by the beauty and drama of the ever-changing sea. A spread full of information about lighthouses for those who seek further knowledge is appended. VERDICT A lovely picture book, recommended for all libraries. A delightful bedtime read perfect for one on one sharing.-Elizabeth Blake, Brooklyn Public Library Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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

Book list *Starred Review* When a new keeper arrives at a remote lighthouse, he sets out to make it a home, and in Blackall's rhythmic lines and gorgeous artwork, his adoration for the building, with its round rooms and windy ocean views, warmly comes through. Amid his responsibilities of lighting the beacon, clanging the bell in a fog, recording events in the logbooks, and helping ensure the safety of passing sailors, the lighthouse keeper makes a home with his wife, has a daughter, and feels remorse when he has to leave to make way for an automated light. All the while, Blackall's bright, crisp artwork depicts the changing skies and seas around the proud, solid lighthouse. Softly chopping waves give way to billowing white breakers that crash against the rocks. Clear blue skies transform into the black, inky clouds of a storm. It occasionally seems dangerous to live in a lighthouse, but the repeated refrain of Hello! . . . Hello! . . . Hello! is stalwart, friendly, and reassuring, just like a lighthouse should be, and the adoring expressions and gestures of the family living in it quietly demonstrate their affection for the building. Blackall's charmingly old-fashioned art style is beautifully matched to this nostalgia-rich story, which imbues an antiquated place with warmth and wonder.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2018 Booklist

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

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Journey
by Aaron Becker

Publishers Weekly Becker develops concepts for film studios, and his wordless picture book debut reads like a cinematic tribute to Harold and the Purple Crayon. Drab sepia drawings introduce a lonely girl whose afternoon is jolted into life (and full color) when she uses a piece of red chalk to draw a door on her wall, walking through it into a lantern-lit forest with a winding river. Drawing a red boat, she drifts toward a breathtaking castle city whose gleaming turrets and domes promise adventure and intrigue. Yet she does not linger-she draws a hot-air balloon, takes to the air, and encounters a squadron of magnificent, steampunk-style airships manned by soldiers who have trapped a phoenix-like bird. Her release of the bird earns the ire of the airmen, the bird in turn rescues her, and a clever resolution leads the girl to a friend with his own magic chalk. Wonder mixes with longing as the myriad possibilities offered by Becker's stunning settings dwarf what actually happens in the story. Readers will be both dazzled and spurred on imagined travels of their own. Ages 4-8. Agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Three Days At The Brink
by Bret Baier with Catherine Whitney

Publishers Weekly This highly readable but historically muddled work from conservative journalist Baier combines a serviceable biography of Franklin Delano Roosevelt with a crisply paced but superficial diplomatic history of WWII. The key point, Baier asserts, was in late 1943, when an uneasy coalition of Allied leaders met in the Iranian capital of Tehran. Roosevelt, British prime minister Winston Churchill, and the U.S.S.R.’s Marshal Josef Stalin agreed the Western Allies would launch a direct invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe in late 1944, opening the “second front” that Stalin insisted would ease pressure on the Red Army and defeat Hitler. The author tries to have it both ways: he contends initially that Roosevelt was the principal architect of a united Allied policy who willed the eventual invasion of Nazi-occupied France into action and served as “the lead strategist for the future” because of his strength of personality, but in the conclusion claims that, “faced with his moment of truth, FDR blinked.” The theatrical depiction of Roosevelt’s courtship, flattery, and “apparent seduction” of Stalin during the three-day meeting, coupled with his apparent abrupt coolness toward Churchill, overstates the president’s impact and underestimates the Soviet leader’s resolve to prevent any future invasion of his country. The dramatic tone of this history is compelling, but shaky scholarship won’t impress readers of history. (Oct.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Something of a specialist in reading history through three-day turning points (Three Days in January, 2017; Three Days in Moscow, 2018), Baier, aided by coauthor Whitney, here focuses on the 1943 Tehran Conference, which finalized the plans for D-Day. In doing so, he is able to recount the larger story of WWII and the three world leaders (FDR, Churchill, Stalin) who met in Tehran to determine the war's endgame. It's a fascinating story, dramatically written, albeit one that's been told many times before. Still, Baier capably scans the backstory the New Deal, the early days of the war, the biographies of the three principals and, if his premise (like so many similar constructs that set out to identify heretofore unrecognized turning points) seems a bit contrived, the Tehran Conference was admittedly a significant event in the war, and Baier re-creates it vividly. He is especially strong in detailing what he calls FDR's delicate gamble at Tehran, seeming to favor Stalin over the sensitive Churchill so as to serve the larger aim of defeating Hitler.--Mark Levine Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life
by Asheley Bryan

School Library Journal Gr 4-6-Using real documents from an estate appraisal dated July 5, 1828, Bryan has created beautiful portrait paintings for 11 people who were named and priced as property on the Fairchildses' estate (the documents are reproduced fully in the endpapers and in segments throughout the work). Relying on narrative poetry to explore each figure's inner and outer life, Bryan gives voice to their history, their longing for freedom, and their skills as artisans, cooks, musicians, carpenters, etc. Each person has two visual portraits, with each accompanied by a poem (on the opposite page). Collaged historical documents of slave auctions fill the negative space of the first portrait frame. The second portrait depicts that person in a private dream, often a dream for safety, family, community, or the freedom to create. Peggy, a self-taught expert herbalist and cook for the Fairchildses, knows that although she works hard, everything goes to the estate. She dreams of her Naming Day ceremony and her parents calling to her, "Mariama! Mariama!" Each portrait reflects the role of song, call-and-response, ceremony, spirituality, community, and griots in living a double life-doing what was demanded while keeping close in their hearts the "precious secret," the constant yearning for freedom. Expertly crafted, these entries will deeply resonate with readers. Referenced in the poems are slave independence in Haiti, the drinking gourd, the North Star, and songs such as "Oh, by and By," "This Little Light," and "Oh Freedom." VERDICT A significant contribution to U.S. and African American history that will elicit compassion and understanding while instilling tremendous pride. A must-purchase for all collections.-Teresa Pfeifer, The Springfield Renaissance School, MA Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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

Publishers Weekly Using a document from 1828 that lists the value of a U.S. landowner's 11 slaves, Bryan (Sail Away) creates distinct personalities and voices for each, painting their portraits and imagining their dreams. He starts with the wife of the slave owner, who felt her husband was good to their slaves ("He never hired an overseer"). But it's quickly clear that "good" slave ownership is an oxymoron: "I work hard-all profit to the estate," their cook Peggy observes. Bryan shows that the enslaved had secret lives of their own: "Years ago blacksmith Bacus and I/ 'jumped the broom'-/ the slave custom for marriage. No legal form for slaves." They cherish their traditions, call each other by their African names ("I am Bisa, 'Greatly Loved'?"), dream of escape, and long for freedom. His portraits show the men, women, and children gazing out at readers, the contours of their faces traced as if carved from wood, while strong rhythmic outlines mimic stained glass, echoing the sense of sacred memory. There are few first-person accounts of slaves, and these imagined words will strike a chord with even the youngest readers. Ages 6-10. (Sept.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 4-6-Documents related to an 1828 estate sale that included, along with hogs and cows, the names and prices of 11 individuals, were the genesis of this tribute to the lives, talents, and community of generations of those who were treated as property and whose humanity was disregarded. Bryan's expressive portrait art allows readers to peer into the faces of these men and women, while his poems unmask their hopes and aspirations. Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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

Book list *Starred Review* Inspired by a document appraising the value of 11 enslaved people (along with livestock and cotton) in an estate for sale in the antebellum South, this exceptional book presents the imagined faces and voices of individuals whose society, against all reason, regarded them as less than human. Each person appears in a four-page section, opening with a page of free-verse text opposite a riveting head-and-shoulders portrait with a grim collage background of slavery-related documents. A banner reveals the person's appraised value, master-imposed slave name, and age. In the text, these individuals introduce themselves, their roles on the estate, and the skills (cooking, blacksmithing, sewing) they take pride in. On the second double-page spread, a verse text offers more personal reflections on their African roots, their love of family, and their dreams, while a more detailed, colorful painting expresses their heritage, their strength, and their rich inner lives. Their humanity shines through, showing the tragedy of their status and the gross absurdity of assigning prices to people. Longing for freedom is a constant theme, made all the more poignant by the appraisal document's date: 1828, decades before emancipation. Clean and spare, the verse brings the characters to life, while in the radiant artwork, their spirits soar. Rooted in history, this powerful, imaginative book honors those who endured slavery in America.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2016 Booklist

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

Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog Pillars of the Earth
by Ken Follett

Library Journal : A radical departure from Follett's novels of international suspense and intrigue, this chronicles the vicissitudes of a prior, his master builder, and their community as they struggle to build a cathedral and protect themselves during the tumultuous 12th century, when the empress Maud and Stephen are fighting for the crown of England after the death of Henry I. The plot is less tightly controlled than those in Follett's contemporary works, and despite the wealth of historical detail, especially concerning architecture and construction, much of the language as well as the psychology of the characters and their relationships remains firmly rooted in the 20th century. This will appeal more to lovers of exciting adventure stories than true devotees of historical fiction. Literary Guild dual main selection.

Cynthia Johnson Whealler, Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, Mass. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly : With this book, Follett risks all and comes out a clear winner, escaping the narrow genre of suspense thrillers to take credit for a historical novel of gripping readability, authentic atmosphere and detail and memorable characterization. Set in 12th-century England, the narrative concerns the building of a cathedral in the fictional town of Kingsbridge. The ambitions of three men merge, conflict and collide through four decades during which social and political upheaval and the internal politics of the church affect the progress of the cathedral and the fortunes of the protagonists. The insightful portrayals of an idealistic master builder, a pious, dogmatic but compassionate prior and an unscrupulous, ruthless bishop are balanced by those of a trio of independent, resourceful women (one of them quite loathesome) who can stand on their own as memorable characters in any genre. Beginning with a mystery that casts its shadow on ensuing events, the narrative is a seesaw of tension in which circumstances change with shocking but true-to-life unpredictability. Follett's impeccable pacing builds suspense in a balanced narrative that offers action, intrigue, violence and passion as well as the step-by-step description of an edifice rising in slow stages, its progress tied to the vicissitudes of fortune and the permutations of evolving architectural style. Follett's depiction of the precarious balance of power between monarchy and religion in the Middle Ages, and of the effects of social upheavals and the forces of nature (storms, famines) on political events; his ability to convey the fine points of architecture so that the cathedral becomes clearly visualized in the reader's mind; and above all, his portrayals of the enduring human emotions of ambition, greed, bravery, dedication, revenge and love, result in a highly engrossing narrative. Manipulating a complex plot in which the characters interact against a broad canvas of medieval life, Follett has written a novel that entertains, instructs and satisfies on a grand scale. 400,000 first printing; $400,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild main dual selection; author tour.

Copyright 1989 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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