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Click to search this book in our catalog Gift of the Magpie
by Donna Andrews

Kirkus Ornamental blacksmith/general do-gooder Meg Langslow’s Christmas activities entangle her with a fellow resident of Caerphilly, Virginia, whose domestic life is even more chaotic than hers. Unlike Meg, who’s surrounded by members of her own cheerfully argumentative family as well as the Shiffleys, Caerphilly’s somewhat more benign version of the Snopeses, Harvey Dunlop has chosen to surround himself with stuff—objects of dubious value he can’t bring himself to throw out. So Meg, her friend Caroline Willner, Meredith Flugleman of Adult Protective Services, and other concerned members of Helping Hands for the Holidays have banded together to strong-arm, er, help and encourage him to go through his house with a shovel and relocate his treasures to an empty building Randall Shiffley owns in the hope of deep-cleaning the house and then urging Harvey to move on without moving his prized junk back in. Except for the unwelcome appearance of Morris, Ernest, and Josephine Haverhill, the cousins who seem to be Harvey’s only living relatives, the preliminaries go well. But when Meg shows up at Harvey’s for the main event in the decluttering marathon, her host is unresponsive, brained with a spittoon in his garage. As Harvey hovers between life and death, Meg plunges into his family history to uncover a motive for the murderous attack. Readers patient enough to wait for any mystery, or for that matter any significant conflict, to develop will be rewarded when their own suspicions about whodunit are proved exactly right. Andrews lays on the good cheer with a trowel. Even the rabbi’s wife gets a cameo. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Kirkus Ornamental blacksmith/general do-gooder Meg Langslows Christmas activities entangle her with a fellow resident of Caerphilly, Virginia, whose domestic life is even more chaotic than hers.Unlike Meg, whos surrounded by members of her own cheerfully argumentative family as well as the Shiffleys, Caerphillys somewhat more benign version of the Snopeses, Harvey Dunlop has chosen to surround himself with stuffobjects of dubious value he cant bring himself to throw out. So Meg, her friend Caroline Willner, Meredith Flugleman of Adult Protective Services, and other concerned members of Helping Hands for the Holidays have banded together to strong-arm, er, help and encourage him to go through his house with a shovel and relocate his treasures to an empty building Randall Shiffley owns in the hope of deep-cleaning the house and then urging Harvey to move on without moving his prized junk back in. Except for the unwelcome appearance of Morris, Ernest, and Josephine Haverhill, the cousins who seem to be Harveys only living relatives, the preliminaries go well. But when Meg shows up at Harveys for the main event in the decluttering marathon, her host is unresponsive, brained with a spittoon in his garage. As Harvey hovers between life and death, Meg plunges into his family history to uncover a motive for the murderous attack. Readers patient enough to wait for any mystery, or for that matter any significant conflict, to develop will be rewarded when their own suspicions about whodunit are proved exactly right.Andrews lays on the good cheer with a trowel. Even the rabbis wife gets a cameo. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly The Christmas spirit suffuses bestseller Andrews’s atmospheric 28th Meg Langslow mystery (after The Falcon Always Rings Twice). During the holiday season, Meg is the project manager for Helping Hands, “a sort of Make-A-Wish program for grownups,” in Caerphilly, Va. Her volunteers step in to assist citizens with anything that needs doing, including sourcing organic manure and rounding up experienced quilters. The main task at the moment is helping Harvey Dunlop (aka Harvey the Hoarder). Harvey’s conniving cousins and rapacious neighbors have filed complaints with the town council about the unkempt appearance of his home. It falls to Meg and her crew to declutter and repair the property. After only one day of packing up debris and possible treasure, Meg arrives to find Harvey lying in a pool of blood on his garage floor. He’s rushed to the hospital, where he’s declared dead. Never mind the slight murder investigation that ensues. Caerphilly, with its endearing residents, is the kind of place every cozy fan would like to escape to during stressful times. Andrews consistently entertains. Agent: Ellen Geiger, Frances Goldin Literary. (Oct.)

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Book list With Christmas fast approaching, Meg Langslow’s house is full of visiting relatives, and she is in charge of Caerphilly’s Helping Hands for the Holidays, where neighbors volunteer to help those who need assistance with projects, from building a handicapped ramp to finishing a quilt. Their biggest challenge to date is to declutter hoarder Harvey Dunlop’s home before the authorities move in in response to the complaints from his neighbors and the feigned concern of his cousins. The project is progressing well when Meg finds Harvey in his garage, badly injured. Meg and the other volunteers are saddened when Harvey dies, convinced he was in the process of turning his life around. Suspects include Harvey’s neighbors, his cousins, and a woman who claims to be Harvey’s girlfriend. Meg assists Chief Burke with his investigation, and, with the support of friends and family, she uncovers the killer. Framed by the warmth of the holiday season, this satisfying entry in the long-running cozy series delights with humor, familiar quirky characters, and a Christmas miracle.

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

Book list With Christmas fast approaching, Meg Langslow’s house is full of visiting relatives, and she is in charge of Caerphilly’s Helping Hands for the Holidays, where neighbors volunteer to help those who need assistance with projects, from building a handicapped ramp to finishing a quilt. Their biggest challenge to date is to declutter hoarder Harvey Dunlop’s home before the authorities move in in response to the complaints from his neighbors and the feigned concern of his cousins. The project is progressing well when Meg finds Harvey in his garage, badly injured. Meg and the other volunteers are saddened when Harvey dies, convinced he was in the process of turning his life around. Suspects include Harvey’s neighbors, his cousins, and a woman who claims to be Harvey’s girlfriend. Meg assists Chief Burke with his investigation, and, with the support of friends and family, she uncovers the killer. Framed by the warmth of the holiday season, this satisfying entry in the long-running cozy series delights with humor, familiar quirky characters, and a Christmas miracle.

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

ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Long Way Down
by Reynolds, Jason

Book list *Starred Review* Publishers say that historical fiction is a hard sell, and books with religion at their core are few and far between. Kudos, then, to Berry (All the Truth That's in Me, 2013) for creating a sweeping saga that not only deeply entwines both but also dissects its characters' humanity as it looks at the often troubling beliefs that underlay their actions. The story-within-a-story begins in 1290. A friar is gathering papers and testimonies that will show how the inquisitions here on the border of France and Spain were God's holy work. But one tale troubles him, so much so that he begins to stitch the strands together, and that is where the main story begins. Botille is a sassy teenager who makes money in her seaside village of Bajas by matchmaking. A disruptive childhood and a drunken father has bound Botille and her sisters closely together, but their lives are good: Plazensa runs the tavern, Botille makes her matches, and Sazia tells fortunes with uncanny accuracy. To the north, in Tolosos, there is another girl, Dolssa. Aristocratic by birth and a mystic by the grace of God, she spends her days with her beloved, Jesus, who wraps her in his murmurs and consumes her with his love. That much love cannot be contained, and Dolssa begins telling others how much her beloved cherishes all people. The simplicity of her message is seen by the inquisitors as a threat to the church, a devil's deception, and there is only one place it can end: in a public burning. Miraculously, Dolssa escapes the pyre. She wanders until she meets Botille, who saves and shelters her. This beautifully crafted plot would be enough on its own, but Berry does so much more. First, she establishes a convincing setting, in part by peppering the dialogue with Old Provençal language. Using many voices, some of which, including Botille and Dolssa, relate their own stories, she picks beneath words and actions to expose the motives of the heart, revealing how lofty ideas can turn into terrorizing actions, and how fear and self-preservation can make friends and neighbors turn on one another. Yet despite the book's gravity, Berry also manages to infuse her story with laughter and light welcome surprises. The final surprise awaiting readers at the book's conclusion adds yet another layer to the storytelling. Also at the book's end, Berry has included a wealth of back matter, a glossary, a list of characters (possibly of more help if placed at the book's beginning), and an author's note explaining the roots of the religious discord, inquisitions, and wars, and touching on such female mystics as Hildegard of Bingen, who is referenced in the novel. The beauty of historical fiction is that it brings to life long-ago times and places even as it shows how hopes, fears, and dreams remain constant across the ages. The strength of religious-centric novels is their revelation of the myriad ways people grapple with their faith and spirituality. The Passion of Dolssa's rich brew will leave readers thinking about all of these things, even as it profoundly influences their own struggles and questions.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2016 Booklist

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

Horn Book A (fictional) Catholic mystic, Dolssa de Stigata, escapes being burned as a heretic in 1241 France; mostly, this is the story of Botille, an enterprising young matchmaker from a tiny fishing village who rescues Dolssa. Botille's spirited character, the heart-rending suspense of events, and the terrifying context of the Inquisition in medieval Europe all render the novel irresistibly compelling. Historical note appended. Bib., glos. (c) Copyright 2016. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-This magnificent tale is set in post-Crusades 13th-century France. A pious young noblewoman blessed with the gift of healing, Dolssa de Stigata is judged a heretic by the Roman Catholic Church and sentenced to burn at the stake. Forced to watch her beloved mother burn first, Dolssa is surprised when someone cuts the ropes binding her hands and feet and implores her to run. Driven into hiding from the churchmen dispatched to track her down, Dolssa is found nearly dead from starvation and exhaustion by a young tavern keeper and matchmaker, Botille, who vows to protect the young heretic despite the danger posed to herself and her family. Unlikely allies, the girls unwittingly put an entire village at risk in their effort to stand up for their beliefs. The account is told in alternating voices by Dolssa, Botille, and Arnaut d'Avinhonet, a Dominican friar. This lush and compelling book is enhanced by brilliant narration by Jayne Entwistle, Allen Corduner, and Fiona Hardingham. Lucky listeners will be haunted by their voices long after the book concludes. VERDICT Highly recommended for all junior high and high school audio collections. ["An expertly crafted piece of historical fiction, Berry's latest is a must for middle and high school libraries": SLJ 3/16 starred review of the Viking book.]-Lisa E. Hubler, Charles F. Brush High School, Lyndhurst, OH © 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.

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Botille is a matchmaker in the small seaside town of Bajas in medieval France. She struggles to run the family's tavern and keep her sisters and herself afloat. Dolssa is a young woman with a secret that she can't help but share-her lover is God, and she speaks to him regularly. When the two young women cross paths, both deep friendship and mortal peril await them. A beautifully rendered portrait of a little-known portion of history, this work is a meticulously researched piece of fiction. Yet it is not just in the accurate details that the novel shines. The strength and humanity of the almost entirely female set of characters are inspiring and well drawn. The panic and suspicion of post-Inquisition France is omnipresent, giving the story of a supposed heretic a constant edge of danger. As the novel slips in and out of magical realism, readers will be transported into Dolssa and Botille's world. VERDICT An expertly crafted piece of historical fiction, Berry's latest is a must for middle and high school libraries.-Erinn Black Salge, Saint Peter's Prep, Jersey City, NJ © 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.

Kirkus A girl matchmaker in 13th-century southern France meets a mystic on the run from the Inquisition. A generation after the horrors of the Albigensian Crusade, the elders are still broken by memories of entire towns put to the sword, but the younger folk, such as Botille and her sisters, focus on the present. After a childhood on the run, the sisters seek stability in poverty-stricken Bajas: brewing ale, telling fortunes, and helping their neighbors. Bajas is depicted through a scattering of third- and first-person viewpoints (but primarily Botille's) as a town where all look out for one other as a matter of course, where goodness is found in prostitutes, fishermen, hustlers, and drunks. Bajas' generosity is challenged when Botille discovers Dolssa, an injured, spirit-shattered girl on the run. Dolssa's a convicted heretic for speaking publicly of her intimate relationship with "her beloved...Senhor Jhesus." She trails miracles like bread crumbs, from a never-emptying ale jug to repeated uncanny cures. The villagers venerate her, but the arrival of the Inquisitionin a world where branding and burnings are mild punishments compared to recent historyputs their goodness to the test. The slow build reveals Botille as a compelling, admirable young woman in a gorgeously built world that accepts miracles without question. The medieval Languedoc countryside is so believably drawn there's no need for the too-frequent italicized interjections in Old Provenal that pepper the narrative. Immersive and mesmerizing. (character list, historical note, glossary, bibliography) (Historical fantasy. 14-17) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Two young women-Botille, a tavern wench, and Dolssa, a noblewoman possibly in communion with God-form a deep bond in a world that seeks to destroy them. Berry has reimagined 13th-century France with vigor, from the small intricacies of daily village life to the brutal ruthlessness of the Inquisition. Readers looking for a work steeped in female friendship, mysticism, and blood, with extensive back matter to boot, will be well rewarded. © 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 When Botille Flasucra finds Dolssa de Stigata lying on a riverside close to death, she takes the stranger to her family's tavern. Botille, a young matchmaker, and her sisters nurse Dolssa back to health in secret-a Dominican friar obsessively hunts Dolssa, whom he condemned as a heretic to be burned at the stake. The year is 1241 in Provensa (now Provence), where the aftereffects of the Albigensian Crusade have led to an inquisition meant to rid the Christian world of heretics. Dolssa, however, feels called to heal the sick in the name of her beloved Jhesus, and her miracles eventually bring danger to the small town of Bajas. Berry (All the Truth That's in Me) again delivers an utterly original and instantly engrossing story. Drawing from meticulous historical research (highlighted in extensive back matter), she weaves a tense, moving portrait of these two teenage girls and their struggle to survive against insurmountable odds. Love, faith, violence, and power intertwine in Berry's lyrical writing, but Botille's and Dolssa's indomitable spirits are the heart of her story. Ages 12-up. Agent: Alyssa Eisner Henkin, Trident Media Group. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Todos Iguales All Equal: Un Corrido De Lemon Grove A Ballad of Lemon Grove
by Christy Hale

School Library Journal Gr 3–6—It is 1930, and young student Roberto Álvarez loves school in Lemon Grove, where Mexican and Anglo children learn and play together. When Roberto's family and neighbors discover the school board is planning to create a separate school for the children of Mexican families, they create the Lemon Grove Neighbors Committee, meet with the Mexican consul, and file a lawsuit against the school board. Roberto is chosen to show that the claims the school board is making—that the students were being sent to the second school to receive special attention because they needed additional help—are untrue. Roberto's concise and educated answers (shown to be spoken in complete English) help to convince the judge that separating the children is unjust. Beautiful, stylized illustrations depict the events and individuals' personalities clearly. Text in both English and Spanish accompanies the illustrations, making this a nonfiction book that will be widely accessible to readers of one or both languages. The book includes a corrido, or ballad, of the events of Lemon Grove, as well as pages with more information about the case and the participants, what happened after the case, and additional details about corridos. A source page brings these elements together to create a deeply knowledgeable text about an important time in our history. VERDICT Bilingual text and eye-catching illustrations join a treasure of additional resources to create this significant text. Highly recommended for nonfiction collections for young readers, and perfect for use alongside titles such as Separate Is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh.—Selenia Paz, Harris County Public Library, Houston

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

Horn Book In the 1930s, the Mexican American community in Lemon Grove, California, organized to bring a lawsuit against the school board--’the first successful school desegregation case’--after the board secretly commissioned building an inferior school to segregate Mexican American children. The third-person text, in both Spanish and English, is told from the perspective of twelve-year-old Roberto. Hale skillfully uses such visual techniques as large halo shapes and split panels to depict the unfolding events while also highlighting aspects of everyday life in this small agricultural town. Bib. (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list In 1931, the Mexican American students of Lemon Grove School in California were told they could no longer attend and instead must move to an inferior, ill-equipped building. The community, including Anglo and Mexican American families, rallied and boycotted both schools, which led to a lawsuit: Roberto Álvarez v. the Board of Trustees of the Lemon Grove School District. This engaging, bilingual informational text puts Roberto's fight for equality front and center. A corrido, or Spanish ballad, precedes the narrative, giving the book an epic feel. The captivating illustrations are rendered in gouache and relief printing inks in verdant and warm colors. This work sensitively and accurately depicts the racist repercussions of segregation and also shines a light on the power of unity and community in action. Extensive back matter, including photos, reproductions, source notes, and quotations, will encourage further study. This court case should be celebrated alongside Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. A must-have, illuminating gem.--Shelley M. Diaz Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly In the summer of 1930, the school board of Lemon Grove, Calif., made a radical decision: to build a separate school for the community’s Mexican-American students. The “two-room, barnlike building,” filled with “castoff school supplies,” galvanized Lemon Grove’s Mexican American community. Their organizing resulted in 12-year-old Roberto Álvarez becoming the plaintiff in the “first successful school desegregation case in United States history.” Opening with a corrido, a traditional Mexican story-song, the bilingual text in Spanish and English presents a lesser-known chapter of U.S. civil rights history in clear, compelling prose, centering the story in immigrant community action. Vivid illustrations, created with gouache and relief-printing inks, combine crisp edges and soft textures, conjuring the feeling of looking back into time. Concluding spreads delve further into the history and impact of the case, the major players involved in the action, and the structure of corridos. Essential and enlightening. Ages 8–12. (Aug.)

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Kirkus Twenty-three years before Brown v. Board of Education, the first successful desegregation case in the United States, Roberto lvarez v. the Board of Trustees of the Lemon Grove School District, was decided in California in 1931.In 1930, Lemon Grove school board members secretly decided to provide a segregated education to U.S. citizens of Mexican descent who had, up to that time, enjoyed equal education with the "Anglo" children. Hale's bilingual text, Spanish printed above English, accompanies her illustrations and describes how the school's white principal disobeyed the board's orders and alerted the families. The Latino community boycotted the inferior school and sought legal recourse with the help of the Mexican consul. The board members argued that a separate education was necessary in order "to give special attention to students who spoke poor English and had other deficiencies.' " The plaintiff, 12-year-old Roberto lvarez, responded to the white judge's questions in perfect Englishand the judge ruled in favor of the 75 Mexican American students. Hale bases much of her account of this important but little-known case on primary sources and interviews with many of the principal participants. However, the backmatter regarding the history of Mexican immigration and the mass deportations of the 1930s is both inaccurate and oversimplified, so educators should seek out additional information when using this text. (A revision to this backmatter will appear in the book's second printing.)An essential springboard for further meaningful discussion of this relevant and divisive topic. (Informational picture book. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog The Invention of Hugo Cabret
by Brian Selznick

School Library Journal : Gr 3–6—Brian Selznick's atmospheric story (Scholastic, 2007) is set in Paris in 1931. Hugo Cabret is an orphan; his father, a clockmaker, has recently died in a fire and the boy lives with his alcoholic Uncle Claude, working as his apprentice clock keeper in a bustling train station. When Hugo's uncle fails to return after a three-day absence, the boy decides it's his chance to escape the man's harsh treatment. But Hugo has nowhere to go and, after wandering the city, returns to his uncle's rooms determined to fix a mechanical figure—an automaton—that his father was restoring when he died. Hugo is convinced it will "save his life"—the figure holds a pen, and the boy believes that if he can get it working again, it will deliver a message from his father. This is just the bare outline of this multilayered story, inspired by and with references to early (French) cinema and filmmaker George Méliès, magic and magicians, and mechanical objects. Jeff Woodman's reading of the descriptive passages effectively sets the story's suspenseful tone. The book's many pages of pictorial narrative translate in the audio version into sound sequences that successfully employ the techniques of old radio plays (train whistles, footsteps reverberating through station passages, etc.). The accompanying DVD, hosted by Selznick and packed with information and images from the book, will enrich the listening experience.—Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal

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