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ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Africa is my home : a child of the Amistad
by Monica Edinger ; illustrated by Robert Byrd.

Publishers Weekly In her first book for children, Edinger fuses fact and fiction, despair and hope in the story of a nine-year-old girl taken from her Sierra Leona homeland. After being sold to slave traders, Margru is banished to the "dark and airless" hold of a ship bound for Cuba, represented by a stark, all-black spread: "Seven weeks of chains and shackles. Seven weeks of sobs and cries." In Havana, a white man buys Margru and three other children, and they are forced onto the Amistad. Margru provides an immediate account of the infamous slave mutiny onboard and the perpetrators' imprisonment and trials in Connecticut; the Africans are eventually freed and sent home, where Margru later becomes a teacher. Margru's descriptions of the strangeness of life in America and her homesickness for Sierra Leona are incisive and heartbreaking. Meticulously incorporated throughout the book's design, along with reproductions of archival materials, Byrd's (Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!) folk art-style ink-and-watercolor illustrations vividly capture the landscapes and people of West Africa, Cuba, and the U.S. Ages 10-up. Author's agent: Stephen Barbara, Foundry Literary + Media. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list This fictionalized version of a true account gives readers a look into a neglected piece of history: the story of the Amistad told from a child's point of view. We are introduced to 9-year-old Magulu, who is sold into slavery and ends up a passenger on the slave ship Amistad. After a mutiny, Magulu finds herself in New England with three other child passengers, where their freedom is fought over all the way to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Magulu spends time going to school, learning English, and meeting supporters who fight for her right to return to Africa. Edinger fills her novel with facts, research, and rich historical details. The storybooklike narrative of a child torn between two worlds is captivating, and Byrd's finely lined color illustrations add to the story, as do reproductions of historical documents. An author's note gives readers additional information and the inspiration as to where Edinger found her source material.--Thompson, Sarah Bean Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

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New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Edge Of Eternity
by Ken Follett

Book list Those eagerly awaiting volume three of Follett's ambitious Century Trilogy will not be disappointed. Despite the long wait Winter of the World was published in 2012 both the history propelling the multiple plots and the third generation of the interrelated cast of characters are so familiar, readers should have no trouble picking up the threads of the story line left dangling at the end of the previous installment. Spanning the globe and the latter third of twentieth century, this saga continues to follow the lives and loves of the members of five global families, as they struggle against a backdrop of tumultuous international events. As the years roll by, the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Berlin Wall, the assassination of JFK, the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, and the crumbling of communism are intimately viewed through the eyes and emotions of a representative array of witnesses to history. Follett does an outstanding job of interweaving and personalizing complicated narratives set on a multicultural stage. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Follett needs no hard sell. The previous two installments of the ambitious Century Trilogy were best-sellers; expect no less from this superb concluding chapter.--Flanagan, Margaret Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Library Journal The final volume in Follett's latest trilogy (after Fall of Giants and Winter of the World) is worth the wait. The formula is the same as in previous books: the continuing history of five families, now conflated into four-British, American, German, Russian-traced against the background of dramatic public events. The second book ended in 1948 with the Rosenberg spy trial, and now Follett starts in 1961, when Rebecca Hoffman learns an unpleasant truth about her East German husband. George Jakes, the biracial son of a white senator from the previous volume, is hired by the White House as window dressing-the Kennedys mustn't look like bigots-but soon becomes a trusted aide to Bobby Kennedy. Thus he witnesses what goes on in the -Kennedy White House and in the civil rights campaign. German families are separated for decades by the Berlin Wall. Two grandchildren-German and English-form a successful rock band, our entree to the everything-goes 1960s. Follett covers all the bases in this sprawling, energetic novel. Bad things abound, but, the tone is upbeat. The book ends with the televising of Obama's 2008 election speech. Watching with his family, George has tears in his eyes for the fallen martyrs who made the event possible. VERDICT Once again, Follett has written pitch-perfect popular fiction that readers will devour. [See Prepub Alert, 3/24/14.]-David Keymer, Modesto, CA (c) Copyright 2014. 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 In the ambitious, commanding capstone to his multigenerational Century Trilogy (after Winter of the World), Follett expertly chronicles the pivotal events of the closing decades of the 20th century through the eyes of a vast array of deftly-drawn characters, all suffering the slings and arrows of a world marred by war and global unrest. Among them is Rebecca Hoffman, a good-natured school teacher in Communist Berlin, who discovers in 1961 that her secretive husband, Hans, is a clandestine Stasi agent and has been spying on her for years. When she eventually confronts him, he angrily vows to destroy her family. Elsewhere, mixed-race, civil-rights-minded George Jakes forsakes a lucrative law career to work for Bobby Kennedy and the Justice Department, then battles racial inequality as a congressman. Dmitri "Dimka" Dvorkin, an aide to Nikita Khrushchev, finds himself embroiled in heated U.S.-Soviet nuclear political power plays and his sister, Tanya, thrusts herself into the fray of governmental global turmoil. Cameron Dewar, a senator's grandson, also becomes politically active with espionage on his mind while Rebecca's brother, the musician Walli, must choose between a rising-star career in rock-and-roll and his pregnant lover, Karolin. Sweeping through the Johnson, Nixon, and Reagan administrations, Follett's smooth page-turner concludes in 2008 with an epilogue set on the night of President Obama's electoral victory. This mesmerizing final installment is an exhaustive but rewarding reading experience dense in thematic heft, yet flowing with spicy, expertly paced melodrama, character-rich exploits, familial histrionics, and international intrigue. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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Sample List One
Click to search this book in our catalog Crispin, The Cross of Lead
by Avi

Book list Gr. 5^-9. In his fiftieth book, (see interview on p.1609) Avi sets his story in fourteenth-century England and introduces some of his most unforgettable characters--a 13-year-old orphan, seemingly without a name, and a huge, odd juggler named Bear. At first, the boy is known as Asta's Son, but when his mother dies, he learns from a priest that his name is really Crispin. He also quickly comes to realize that he is in grave trouble. John Acliffe, the steward of the manor, reveals himself to be Crispin's mortal enemy and declares the boy a "wolf's-head," which means he is anyone's prey. Clutching his only possession, a lead cross, Crispin flees his village into a vast new world of opportunity--and terror. At his lowest ebb, Crispin meets Bear and reluctantly swears an oath to be his servant. Yet Bear becomes much more than a master--he's Crispin's teacher, protector, and liberator. Avi builds an impressive backdrop for his arresting characters: a tense medieval world in which hostility against the landowners and their cruelties is increasing. There's also other nail-biting tension in the story that builds to a gripping, somewhat confusing ending, which finds Crispin, once weak, now strong. Readers may not understand every nuance of the political machinations that propel the story, but they will feel the shifting winds of change beginning to blow through a feudal society. --Ilene Cooper

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

School Library Journal Gr 6-9-As with Karen Cushman's The Midwife's Apprentice (Clarion, 1995), the power of a name is apparent in this novel set in 14th-century England. "Asta's son" is all the destitute, illiterate hero has ever been called, but after his mother dies, he learns that his given name is Crispin, and that he is in mortal danger. The local priest is murdered before he can tell him more about his background, and Aycliffe, the evil village steward for Lord Furnival, declares that the boy is a "wolf's head," less than human, and that he should be killed on sight. On the run, with nothing to sustain him but his faith in God, Crispin meets "Bear," a roving entertainer who has ties to an underground movement to improve living conditions for the common people. They make their way to Great Wexley, where Bear has clandestine meetings and Crispin hopes to escape from Aycliffe and his soldiers, who stalk him at every turn. Suspense heightens when the boy learns that the recently deceased Lord Furnival was his father and that Aycliffe is dead set on preventing him from claiming his title. To trap his prey, the villain captures Bear, and Crispin risks his life to save him. Avi has done an excellent job of integrating background and historical information, of pacing the plot so that the book is a page-turner from beginning to end, and of creating characters for whom readers will have great empathy. The result is a meticulously crafted story, full of adventure, mystery, and action.-Cheri Estes, Detroit Country Day Middle School, Beverly Hills, MI Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Book list Gr. 5^-9. In his fiftieth book, (see interview on p.1609) Avi sets his story in fourteenth-century England and introduces some of his most unforgettable characters--a 13-year-old orphan, seemingly without a name, and a huge, odd juggler named Bear. At first, the boy is known as Asta's Son, but when his mother dies, he learns from a priest that his name is really Crispin. He also quickly comes to realize that he is in grave trouble. John Acliffe, the steward of the manor, reveals himself to be Crispin's mortal enemy and declares the boy a "wolf's-head," which means he is anyone's prey. Clutching his only possession, a lead cross, Crispin flees his village into a vast new world of opportunity--and terror. At his lowest ebb, Crispin meets Bear and reluctantly swears an oath to be his servant. Yet Bear becomes much more than a master--he's Crispin's teacher, protector, and liberator. Avi builds an impressive backdrop for his arresting characters: a tense medieval world in which hostility against the landowners and their cruelties is increasing. There's also other nail-biting tension in the story that builds to a gripping, somewhat confusing ending, which finds Crispin, once weak, now strong. Readers may not understand every nuance of the political machinations that propel the story, but they will feel the shifting winds of change beginning to blow through a feudal society. --Ilene Cooper

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

School Library Journal Gr 6-9-As with Karen Cushman's The Midwife's Apprentice (Clarion, 1995), the power of a name is apparent in this novel set in 14th-century England. "Asta's son" is all the destitute, illiterate hero has ever been called, but after his mother dies, he learns that his given name is Crispin, and that he is in mortal danger. The local priest is murdered before he can tell him more about his background, and Aycliffe, the evil village steward for Lord Furnival, declares that the boy is a "wolf's head," less than human, and that he should be killed on sight. On the run, with nothing to sustain him but his faith in God, Crispin meets "Bear," a roving entertainer who has ties to an underground movement to improve living conditions for the common people. They make their way to Great Wexley, where Bear has clandestine meetings and Crispin hopes to escape from Aycliffe and his soldiers, who stalk him at every turn. Suspense heightens when the boy learns that the recently deceased Lord Furnival was his father and that Aycliffe is dead set on preventing him from claiming his title. To trap his prey, the villain captures Bear, and Crispin risks his life to save him. Avi has done an excellent job of integrating background and historical information, of pacing the plot so that the book is a page-turner from beginning to end, and of creating characters for whom readers will have great empathy. The result is a meticulously crafted story, full of adventure, mystery, and action.-Cheri Estes, Detroit Country Day Middle School, Beverly Hills, MI Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Sample List Two
Click to search this book in our catalog How I Live Now
by Meg Rosoff

Publishers Weekly This riveting first novel paints a frighteningly realistic picture of a world war breaking out in the 21st century. Told from the point of view of 15-year-old Manhattan native Daisy, the novel follows her arrival and her stay with cousins on a remote farm in England. Soon after Daisy settles into their farmhouse, her Aunt Penn becomes stranded in Oslo and terrorists invade and occupy England. Daisy's candid, intelligent narrative draws readers into her very private world, which appears almost utopian at first with no adult supervision (especially by contrast with her home life with her widowed father and his new wife). The heroine finds herself falling in love with cousin Edmond, and the author credibly creates a world in which social taboos are temporarily erased. When soldiers usurp the farm, they send the girls off separately from the boys, and Daisy becomes determined to keep herself and her youngest cousin, Piper, alive. Like the ripple effects of paranoia and panic in society, the changes within Daisy do not occur all at once, but they have dramatic effects. In the span of a few months, she goes from a self-centered, disgruntled teen to a courageous survivor motivated by love and compassion. How she comes to understand the effects the war has had on others provides the greatest evidence of her growth, as well as her motivation to get through to those who seem lost to war's consequences. Teens may feel that they have experienced a war themselves as they vicariously witness Daisy's worst nightmares. Like the heroine, readers will emerge from the rubble much shaken, a little wiser and with perhaps a greater sense of humanity. Ages 12-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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