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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Heroine
by Mindy McGinnis

Book list Gr. 5-8. Igus' prose poems and Wood's evocative paintings combine to give a succinct overview of African American music. A useful time line sets the social context, and brief paragraphs describe the various types of music, from African origins and slave songs through ragtime; the blues; big band, bebop, and cool jazz; gospel; rhythm and blues; and the contemporary sounds of rock, hip-hop, and rap. Igus effectively uses snippets from song lyrics to communicate both a feel for the music itself and a sense of how the various styles played to the emotions of the musicians and their fans ("From the basements to the rooftops, / I see the cool tones of modern jazz / escape the city heat"). Wood's paintings are equally suggestive. Mixing modernist and primitive styles and using color nicely to communicate musical style and tone, her art not only complements the text but vivifies it. Audience may be a problem: the supportive text is too sophisticated for younger readers to grasp themselves, and the format may alienate some older readers. Perhaps best used in a junior-high classroom with audio accompaniment, this striking book, in the hands of a creative teacher or librarian, could give kids a feeling for the majesty, creativity, and continuity of African American music. (Reviewed February 15, 1998)0892391510Bill Ott

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

Kirkus The collaborators on Going Back Home (1997) return with a stunning history of African-American music. They begin 500 years ago, on the African continent, chronicle the slave trade, and document the work songs and spirituals of American slaves. The blues, ragtime, jazz, gospel, R&B, rock, funk, rap, and hip hop all come under scrutiny in free-verse poems that incorporate lyrics about and the rhythms of every style. In addition, Igus has added a brief description of each musical movement and a terrific timeline noting highlights of African-American history--both musical and more general information--which roots the whole book in a broader context. Wood's vibrant paintings are based in historical detail, and resonate with emotion. The color choices, postures of the figures, as well as the expressions on their faces, reflect various aspects of African-American music; the pictures broadcast joy, innovation, and exuberance in the face of systematic oppression. A child hidden in each scene adds a nice piece of personality for readers to interpret. Stylish and lively design pulls it all together into an absorbing, attractive package. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog The Book Hog
by Greg Pizzoli

Publishers Weekly The Japanese word tsundoku describes books that have piled up in a home without being read. Pizzoli's porcine protagonist certainly accumulates books-he's a relentless buyer and forager-and he adores each volume ("He loved the way they smelled, and the way the pages felt in his hooves. He especially liked the ones with pictures"). But reading procrastination is not his problem. Book Hog has a big secret: "He didn't know how to read. He had never learned." Then Book Hog discovers the library ("he smelled some books inside") and a whole community of book lovers, including a kind librarian whose attentiveness and story times inspire him-"over time, and with practice"-to become a reader. Pizzoli once again employs a candy-colored palette and an ebullient cast-the pink-and-green look, and even some of the characters, are reminiscent of his The Watermelon Seed. And, as always in a Pizzoli book, there are wonderful details: readers will note that the markings on spines of the books go from fuzzy lines to actual titles when the Book Hog learns to read, and that in one spread, he raptly stands right by the librarian's chair, clutching its arm as she reads aloud to the group. Who hasn't seen-or been-that kid? Ages 3-5. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book In this celebration of books and reading, the titular pig owns many books, which he loves for their smell, texture, and pictures. It's therefore surprising to learn that he's illiterate. His discovery of library storytimes and eventual acquisition of literacy, with help from the elephant librarian, resolve his dilemma. Pizzoli's concise sentences and humorous, ingeniously detailed cartoon illustrations have great read-aloud appeal. (c) Copyright 2019. 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.

Kirkus A porcine hoarder of books learns to readand to share.The Book Hog's obsession is clear from the start. Short declarative sentences describe his enthusiasm ("The Book Hog loved books"), catalog the things he likes about the printed page, and eventually reveal his embarrassing secret ("He didn't know how to read"). While the text is straightforward, plenty of amusing visual details will entertain young listeners. A picture of the Book Hog thumbing through a book while seated on the toilet should induce some giggles. The allusive name of a local bookshop ("Wilbur's") as well as the covers of a variety of familiar and much-loved books (including some of the author's own) offer plenty to pore over. And the fact that the titles become legible only after our hero learns to read is a particularly nice touch. A combination of vignettes, single-page illustrations and double-page spreads that feature Pizzoli's characteristic styleheavy black outlines, a limited palette of mostly salmon and mint green, and simple shapesmove the plot along briskly. Librarians will appreciate the positive portrayal of Miss Olive, an elephant who welcomes the Book Hog warmly to storytime, though it's unlikely most will be able to match her superlative level of service.There's nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow bibliophiles, and the author's fans will enjoy making another anthropomorphic animal friend. (Picture book. 4-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list A beret-sporting pig adores books so much that he acquires them anywhere at yard sales and indie bookstores and savors them everywhere in a tent and on the toilet. Yet as much as he's drawn to their look, feel, and smell, he harbors a secret shame: he can't decode the words inside them. Or he can't, at least, until he catches a whiff of the public library and meets Miss Olive, a spectacle-sporting elephant-slash-librarian who offers him kindness and patience. With lots of practice, he becomes not just a book lover but also a book reader. The pro-library artwork is bold, with happily Pizzolian graphic lines and shapes; bright, with wonderfully audacious pinks and greens; and bookish, sneakily integrating a few familiar book covers (and even a maker space to boot). The characters' expressions are amusing, the straightforward sentences are well structured, and it all works together to truly create a book that readers will be eager to hog.--Andrew Medlar Copyright 2019 Booklist

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

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Flotsam
by David Wiesner

Publishers Weekly : Starred Review. Two-time Caldecott winner Wiesner (Tuesday; The Three Pigs) crafts another wordless mystery, this one set on an ordinary beach and under an enchanted sea. A saucerlike fish's eye stares from the exact center of the dust jacket, and the fish's scarlet skin provides a knockout background color. First-timers might not notice what's reflected in its eye, but return visitors will: it's a boxy camera, drifting underwater with a school of slim green fish. In the opening panels, Wiesner pictures another close-up eye, this one belonging to a blond boy viewing a crab through a magnifying glass. Visual devices—binoculars and a microscope in a plastic bag—rest on a nearby beach towel, suggesting the boy's optical curiosity. After being tossed by a wave, the studious boy finds a barnacle-covered apparatus on the sand (evocatively labeled the "Melville Underwater Camera"). He removes its roll of film and, when he gets the results, readers see another close-up of his wide-open, astonished eye: the photos depict bizarre undersea scenes (nautilus shells with cutout windows, walking starfish-islands, octopi in their living room à la Tuesday's frogs). A lesser fantasist would end the story here, but Wiesner provides a further surprise that connects the curious boy with others like him. Masterfully altering the pace with panel sequences and full-bleed spreads, he fills every inch of the pages with intricate, imaginative watercolor details. New details swim into focus with every rereading of this immensely satisfying excursion. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : Starred Review. K-Gr 4–A wave deposits an old-fashioned contraption at the feet of an inquisitive young beachcomber. Itâ??s a â??Melville underwater camera,â?? and the excited boy quickly develops the film he finds inside. The photos are amazing: a windup fish, with intricate gears and screwed-on panels, appears in a school with its living counterparts; a fully inflated puffer, outfitted as a hot-air balloon, sails above the water; miniature green aliens kowtow to dour-faced sea horses; and more. The last print depicts a girl, holding a photo of a boy, and so on. As the images become smaller, the protagonist views them through his magnifying glass and then his microscope. The chain of children continues back through time, ending with a sepia image of a turn-of-the-20th-century boy waving from a beach. After photographing himself holding the print, the youngster tosses the camera back into the ocean, where it makes its way to its next recipient. This wordless bookâ??s vivid watercolor paintings have a crisp realism that anchors the elements of fantasy. Shifting perspectives, from close-ups to landscape views, and a layout incorporating broad spreads and boxed sequences, add drama and motion to the storytelling and echo the photographic theme. Filled with inventive details and delightful twists, each snapshot is a tale waiting to be told. Pair this visual adventure with Wiesnerâ??s other works, Chris Van Allsburgâ??s titles, or Barbara Lehmanâ??s The Red Book (Houghton, 2004) for a mind-bending journey of imagination.–Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog 22 Seconds
by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Library Journal In a series starter from the ever-popular Armstrong, homicide detective Mallory is in 2019 Edinburgh when she experiences A Rip Through Time and winds up in one of the city's alleyways in 1869, inhabiting the body of strangled-if-not-quite-dead housemaid Catriona Thomson and soon hunting for a killer (50,000-copy first printing). In Atherton's Aunt Dimity and the Enchanted Cottage, the redoubtable sleuth and her English-village neighbors fail in their attempt to befriend standoffish newcomer Crispin Windle until they discover the ruins of a Victorian woolen mill—and the graves of children who worked there, whom they seek to identify (30,000-copy first printing; originally scheduled for July 2021). In Nonna Maria and the Case of the Missing Bride, crusty but beloved widow Nonna Maria—who lives on the isle of Ischia in the Gulf of Naples and was inspired by the No. 1 New York Times best-selling Carcaterra's grandmother—intervenes when a young bride-to-be declares that she's afraid of her fiancé. In Haines's Lady of Bones, Mississippi-based Sarah Booth Delaney of the Delaney Detective Agency is attending a party alit with jack-o-lanterns when she's approached by a woman seeking her vanished daughter, who has been investigating the disappearance of young women in New Orleans every Halloween for the last five years (40,000-copy first printing). The internationally best-selling author of the "Dark Iceland" and "Hulda" series, Jónasson sets his new standalone during an Icelandic blizzard, with four frantic friends sheltering in an abandoned hunting lodge and facing a reignited tragedy that likely makes them wish they were all Outside (50,000-copy first printing). In Klingborg's Wild Prey, Inspector Lu Fei of the Chinese Police travels to a remote region of Myanmar to find a missing 15-year-old girl in a case involving the illegal trafficking of exotic animals (50,000-copy first printing). In Robert B. Parker's Revenge Tour, Lupica assigns PI Sunny Randall the thankless task of investigating actress friend Melanie Joan Hall when Melanie's manager turns up dead, her bank account looks to be wiped out, and details of her past suddenly seem more imagined than real. In Paretsky's Overboard, a seriously injured teenage girl discovered by V.I. Warshawski on Lake Michigan's rocky shore subsequently vanishes from the hospital, and the iconic detective must chase down a monstrous conspiracy with pandemic-ridden Chicago as backdrop (100,000-copy first printing). Pursuing a massive drugs-and-weapons shipment being shepherded across the U.S.-Mexican border by former cops with the warning "You talk, you die" written on their bodies, Patterson/Paetro stalwart Sgt. Lindsay Boxer suddenly has 22 Seconds to decide what her fate will be. Second in the new series from librarian Weaver, who launched her writing career with the delightful Amory Ames mysteries, The Key to Deceit has breaker-and-enterer Ellie McDonnell again approached by stuffed-shirt good-guy Major Ramsey in World War II London: he wants her to discover which side the female spy found bobbing in the Thames was on (40,000-copy first printing).

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

Kirkus Lindsay Boxer faces a ton of trouble in the latest entry in Patterson and Paetro’s Women’s Murder Club series. Senior crime reporter Cindy Thomas is writing a biography of Evan Burke, a notorious serial killer who sits in solitary confinement in San Quentin. She’s kidnapped by thugs wanting her to talk about her best friend, Lindsay Boxer, who’s an SFPD homicide detective and the story’s main character. San Francisco has a restrictive new gun law, and gun-totin’ folks everywhere have their boxer shorts in a twist. A national resistance movement has formed—Defenders of the Second—whose motto is “We will not comply.” They find it outrageous that the new law makes it illegal to own a gun that can kill 50 people with a single clip. Meanwhile, lots of bodies show up: A young girl disappears and is later found dead in a ditch, and ex-cops are found dead with their lips stapled shut and “You talk, you die” written on their foreheads. An inmate is found hanged in prison. And “a massive but unspecified load of military-style weaponry was en route from Mexico to the City by the Bay.” In a “frustrating, multipronged case,” there’s a harrowing shootout memorialized in a video showing “twenty-two of the scariest seconds” of Boxer’s life. She’s an appealing series hero with loving family and friends, but she may arrive at a crossroads where she has “to choose between my work and [my] baby girl.” The formulaic story has unmemorable writing, but it’s entertaining and well told. You probably won’t have to worry about the main characters, who have thus far survived 21 adventures. Except for the little girl, you can expect people to get what they deserve. It's relatively mild as crime novels go, but the women characters are serious, strong, and admirable. Enjoyable storytelling by two masters of the craft. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog When You Trap a Tiger
by Tae Keller

School Library Journal Gr 4–7—Lily has always loved her halmoni's stories; Korean folktales that begin, "long, long ago, when tiger walked like a man." But Lily never expected to encounter the fierce magical tiger in her sick grandmother's basement, or to strike a deal to heal Halmoni by releasing the powerful stories she stole as a young woman. Keller illuminates Lily's desperation to heal Halmoni and bring her family together through the tiger stories interspersed throughout the book; stories of heroism and self-sacrifice, of sisterhood and bravery. Yet the book's greatest strength is in its complex human characters, from Halmoni whose traumatic immigration story spurs her to unite her community through kindness and herbal remedies, to Lily's prickly older sister Sam, whose grief and fear stirred up by Halmoni's illness exists alongside a budding romance with a new girlfriend. Lily worries about her invisibility and living up to the "quiet Asian girl" stereotype she hates, but she doesn't know how else to cope with her volatile teenage sister or her mother's need to pretend that everything is okay, despite the weight of family trauma past and present. Keller weaves ancient folklore with Korean history through contemporary magical realism. She calls on the power of stories to bring families and communities together and the ability to heal by speaking to their pasts. VERDICT This deeply moving book is a must-purchase for all collections, showcasing vulnerable and mythic storytelling in the vein of Erin Entrada Kelly and Kacen Callender.—Molly Saunders, Manatee County Public Libraries, Bradenton, FL

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

Book list If stories were written in the stars and guarded by tigers, this wondrous tale would be one of the brightest. Lily is happy when she; her mom; and sister, Sam, move, because it means they will spend more time with their grandmother, their halmoni, whose life is full of magic. Halmoni has always told beautiful stories about clever sisters and equally clever tigers not to be trusted but Lily soon finds that life is not how she expected it to be. Sam isn't so happy about the move, and worse, Halmoni is very sick, so when a tiger appears to Lily, offering her a deal, she thinks it could be what saves her grandmother. Lily's magic-realist world, rooted in Korean folklore, will envelop readers as she deals with growing up (and, at times, apart from her sister), finding new friends, and coping with her grandmother's illness. Keller's characters from Halmoni, who dresses up to go grocery shopping, to Sam, who hides her own heartbreaks will have readers wishing they were real. Every chapter is filled with a richness and magic that demands every word be treasured, a heartfelt reminder of the wonder and beauty in our everyday lives. Readers young and old will want to trap this story in a jar forever.--Selenia Paz Copyright 2019 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Making deals with talking tigers was the one thing that biracial Lily’s glamorous Korean grandmother, Halmoni, warned her never to do. Yet when Halmoni falls ill, a magical tiger offers Lily an ultimatum: recover the stories that Halmoni stole years ago, or lose her forever. Keller weaves Korean folk tradition with warm scenes of Korean-American domesticity—preparing food for ancestral spirits, late night snacking on kimchi. The result is a story that seamlessly transitions from the mundane to the magical, never jarring when Lily’s contemporary America is sporadically replaced with a mythical land of sky gods and tiger girls. Beyond the magical elements, a diverse cast of characters populate Lily’s world—her sullen older sister, Sam; her widowed mother; the kind library staff; and Ricky, a new friend with more than one family secret. While the pacing is slow, the characters’ development feels authentic and well drawn. Keller’s (The Science of Breakable Things) #OwnVoices journey through Korean mythology begins with a fantastical quest and slowly transforms into a tale about letting go and the immortality that story can allow. Ages 8–12. (Jan.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Kirkus A young girl bargaining for the health of her grandmother discovers both her family's past and the strength of her own voice.For many years, Lily's Korean grandmother, Halmoni, has shared her Asian wisdom and healing powers with her predominantly white community. When Lily, her sister, Samboth biracial, Korean and whiteand their widowed mom move in with Halmoni to be close with her as she ages, Lily begins to see a magical tiger. What were previously bedtime stories become dangerously prophetic, as Lily begins to piece together fact from fiction. There is no need for prior knowledge of Korean folktales, although a traditional Korean myth propels the story forward. From the tiger, Lily learns that Halmoni has bottled up the hard stories of her past to keep sadness at bay. Lily makes a deal with the tiger to heal her grandmother by releasing those stories. What she comes to realize is that healing doesn't mean health and that Halmoni is not the only one in need of the power of storytelling. Interesting supporting characters are fully developed but used sparingly to keep the focus on the simple yet suspenseful plot. Keller infuses this tale, which explores both the end of life and coming-of-age, with a sensitive examination of immigration issues and the complexity of home. It is at one and the same time completely American and thoroughly informed by Korean culture.Longingfor connection, for family, for a voiceroars to life with just a touch of magic. (Fiction. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 4–7—Lily has always loved her halmoni's stories; Korean folktales that begin, "long, long ago, when tiger walked like a man." But Lily never expected to encounter the fierce magical tiger in her sick grandmother's basement, or to strike a deal to heal Halmoni by releasing the powerful stories she stole as a young woman. Keller illuminates Lily's desperation to heal Halmoni and bring her family together through the tiger stories interspersed throughout the book; stories of heroism and self-sacrifice, of sisterhood and bravery. Yet the book's greatest strength is in its complex human characters, from Halmoni whose traumatic immigration story spurs her to unite her community through kindness and herbal remedies, to Lily's prickly older sister Sam, whose grief and fear stirred up by Halmoni's illness exists alongside a budding romance with a new girlfriend. Lily worries about her invisibility and living up to the "quiet Asian girl" stereotype she hates, but she doesn't know how else to cope with her volatile teenage sister or her mother's need to pretend that everything is okay, despite the weight of family trauma past and present. Keller weaves ancient folklore with Korean history through contemporary magical realism. She calls on the power of stories to bring families and communities together and the ability to heal by speaking to their pasts. VERDICT This deeply moving book is a must-purchase for all collections, showcasing vulnerable and mythic storytelling in the vein of Erin Entrada Kelly and Kacen Callender.—Molly Saunders, Manatee County Public Libraries, Bradenton, FL

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

Horn Book Korean American middle schooler Lily thinks she has to take on a magical tiger in order to save her beloved Halmoni (grandmother), but the truth is much more complicated. An ambitious number of themes--coming of age, family relationships (particularly between sisters and between generations), belonging, friendship, grief, and end-of-life--intertwine in a heartfelt novel. Debut author Keller incorporates Korean folktales throughout, adding richness and depth. (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.

School Library Journal Gr 3–7—Keller's narrative can't be faulted—the story is achingly gorgeous. A widowed Korean American mother and her two mixed-race daughters move from California to Washington to live with their glamorous, unconventional Halmoni—grandmother" in Korean. Older sister Sam—living in sullen teenagerhood—is resistant, but younger Lily can't get enough of Halmoni's magical tales. When Lily learns of Halmoni's illness, she negotiates a deal with a mythic tiger to save Halmoni's life. While Keller, whose own grandmother is Korean, has written an affirming book, the audio adaptation, narrated by Korean American Greta Jung, amplifies Keller's easily correctable cultural stumbles. Keller's use of "Unya" for "older sister" is particularly jarring; "unnee" is older sister, the suffix '-ya' akin to adding 'hey' or 'yo' when calling to someone—"This is it, Unya cried," translates to "hey, unnee cried." Perhaps Jung could only read exactly what's on the page, but as her Korean is uneven (the pronunciation of "Halmoni," for example, is inconsistent), writer, reader, and certainly the producers missed an obvious opportunity for improvement or correction. VERDICT Alas, this audio interpretation misses the mark.—Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC

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

Book list If stories were written in the stars and guarded by tigers, this wondrous tale would be one of the brightest. Lily is happy when she; her mom; and sister, Sam, move, because it means they will spend more time with their grandmother, their halmoni, whose life is full of magic. Halmoni has always told beautiful stories about clever sisters and equally clever tigers not to be trusted but Lily soon finds that life is not how she expected it to be. Sam isn't so happy about the move, and worse, Halmoni is very sick, so when a tiger appears to Lily, offering her a deal, she thinks it could be what saves her grandmother. Lily's magic-realist world, rooted in Korean folklore, will envelop readers as she deals with growing up (and, at times, apart from her sister), finding new friends, and coping with her grandmother's illness. Keller's characters from Halmoni, who dresses up to go grocery shopping, to Sam, who hides her own heartbreaks will have readers wishing they were real. Every chapter is filled with a richness and magic that demands every word be treasured, a heartfelt reminder of the wonder and beauty in our everyday lives. Readers young and old will want to trap this story in a jar forever.--Selenia Paz Copyright 2019 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Making deals with talking tigers was the one thing that biracial Lily’s glamorous Korean grandmother, Halmoni, warned her never to do. Yet when Halmoni falls ill, a magical tiger offers Lily an ultimatum: recover the stories that Halmoni stole years ago, or lose her forever. Keller weaves Korean folk tradition with warm scenes of Korean-American domesticity—preparing food for ancestral spirits, late night snacking on kimchi. The result is a story that seamlessly transitions from the mundane to the magical, never jarring when Lily’s contemporary America is sporadically replaced with a mythical land of sky gods and tiger girls. Beyond the magical elements, a diverse cast of characters populate Lily’s world—her sullen older sister, Sam; her widowed mother; the kind library staff; and Ricky, a new friend with more than one family secret. While the pacing is slow, the characters’ development feels authentic and well drawn. Keller’s (The Science of Breakable Things) #OwnVoices journey through Korean mythology begins with a fantastical quest and slowly transforms into a tale about letting go and the immortality that story can allow. Ages 8–12. (Jan.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Kirkus A young girl bargaining for the health of her grandmother discovers both her family's past and the strength of her own voice.For many years, Lily's Korean grandmother, Halmoni, has shared her Asian wisdom and healing powers with her predominantly white community. When Lily, her sister, Samboth biracial, Korean and whiteand their widowed mom move in with Halmoni to be close with her as she ages, Lily begins to see a magical tiger. What were previously bedtime stories become dangerously prophetic, as Lily begins to piece together fact from fiction. There is no need for prior knowledge of Korean folktales, although a traditional Korean myth propels the story forward. From the tiger, Lily learns that Halmoni has bottled up the hard stories of her past to keep sadness at bay. Lily makes a deal with the tiger to heal her grandmother by releasing those stories. What she comes to realize is that healing doesn't mean health and that Halmoni is not the only one in need of the power of storytelling. Interesting supporting characters are fully developed but used sparingly to keep the focus on the simple yet suspenseful plot. Keller infuses this tale, which explores both the end of life and coming-of-age, with a sensitive examination of immigration issues and the complexity of home. It is at one and the same time completely American and thoroughly informed by Korean culture.Longingfor connection, for family, for a voiceroars to life with just a touch of magic. (Fiction. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog A Million Little Pieces
by James Frey

Publishers Weekly : Frey is pretender to the throne of the aggressive, digressive, cocky Kings David: Eggers and Foster Wallace. Pre-pub comparisons to those writers spring not from Frey's writing but from his attitude: as a recent advance profile put it, the 33-year-old former drug dealer and screenwriter "wants to be the greatest literary writer of his generation." While the Davids have their faults, their work is unquestionably literary. Frey's work is more mirrored surface than depth, but this superficiality has its attractions. With a combination of upper-middle-class entitlement, street credibility garnered by astronomical drug intake and PowerPoint-like sentence fragments and clipped dialogue, Frey proffers a book that is deeply flawed, too long, a trial of even the most na?ve reader's credulousness-yet its posturings hit a nerve. This is not a new story: boy from a nice, if a little chilly, family gets into trouble early with alcohol and drugs and stays there. Pieces begins as Frey arrives at Hazelden, which claims to be the most successful treatment center in the world, though its success rate is a mere 17%. There are flashbacks to the binges that led to rehab and digressions into the history of other patients: a mobster, a boxer, a former college administrator, and Lilly, his forbidden love interest, a classic fallen princess, former prostitute and crack addict. What sets Pieces apart from other memoirs about 12-stepping is Frey's resistance to the concept of a higher power. The book is sure to draw criticism from the recovery community, which is, in a sense, Frey's great gimmick. He is someone whose problems seem to stem from being uncomfortable with authority, and who resists it to the end, surviving despite the odds against him. The prose is repetitive to the point of being exasperating, but the story, with its forays into the consciousness of an addict, is correspondingly difficult to put down.

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : Adult/High School-Frey's high school and college years are a blur of alcohol and drugs, culminating in a full-fledged crack addiction at age 23. As the book begins, his fed-up friends have convinced an airline to let him on the plane and shipped him off to his parents, who promptly put him in Hazelden, the rehabilitation clinic with the greatest success rate, 20 percent. Frey doesn't shy away from the gory details of addiction and recovery; all of the bodily fluids make major appearances here. What really separates this title from other rehab memoirs, apart from the author's young age, is his literary prowess. He doesn't rely on traditional indentation, punctuation, or capitalization, which adds to the nearly poetic, impressionistic detail of parts of the story. Readers cannot help but feel his sickness, pain, and anger, which is evident through his language. Ken Kesey's One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest (Viking, 1962) seems an apt comparison for this work-Frey maintains his principles and does not respect authority at all if it doesn't follow his beliefs. And fellow addicts are as much, if not more, help to him than the clinicians who are trying to preach the 12 steps, which he does not intend to follow in his path to sobriety. This book is highly recommended for teens interested in the darker side of human existence.-Jamie Watson, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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