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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Lovely War
by Julie Berry

Kirkus Love's enduring power faces off against the horrors of war in this sumptuous Greek mythology-inspired romantic page-turner.In a Manhattan hotel on the eve of World War II, Hephaestus catches his wife, Aphrodite, in a compromising position with his brother Ares. To exonerate herself of the crime of adultery, she weaves an intricate tale of mortal love during wartime that demonstrates the endurance of the human spirit. Vacillating between the present and the past, the goddess's narrative centers on Aubrey, an African-American musician; Colette, a Belgian singer; Hazel, a wide-eyed British pianist; and her paramour, James, an aspiring architect (the latter three are white), who are all brought together by happenstance during the First World War. The resulting interweaving story is an epic of Shakespearean emotional depth and arresting visual imagery that nonetheless demonstrates the racism and sexism of the period. Scheherazade has nothing on Berry (The Emperor's Ostrich, 2017, etc.), whose acute eye for detail renders the glittering lights of Paris as dreamlike in their beauty as the soul-sucking trenches on the French front are nightmarishly real. The mortal characters are all vibrant, original, and authentic, but none is more captivating than the goddess of love herself, who teaches her husband that love is an art form worthy of respect and admiration.An unforgettable romance so Olympian in scope, human at its core, and lyrical in its prose that it must be divinely inspired. (Fiction. 13-adult) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-The Greek gods relate the tale of how four young people's fates collide in a love story for the ages. Caught by Hephaestus in an compromising position with Ares, the god of War, Aphrodite is put on trial by her husband in a Manhattan hotel. World War II is waging, but the goddess of Love hearkens back to the first World War to present the romantic epic tale of Brits Hazel (a shy pianist) and James (a reluctant soldier). Hazel follows James to the Western Front, where she meets Colette (a grieving Belgian) and Aubrey (an African American musician from Harlem). Readers will be swept away by Berry's lyrical prose, evenly paced alternating chapters, and unforgettable characters who will jump off the page and resonate with teens. Her acute attention to historical detail is supported by thorough back matter touching upon the racism and sexism of American armed forces at the time. While the conceit of meddling Greek gods sometimes borders on contrivance, the format is ultimately successful. This rumination on the costs of war, the healing power of love and music, and the inevitability of death will stay with readers and tug at their hearts. VERDICT A must where historical fiction and Berry's previous titles are popular.-Shelley M. Diaz, BookOps: The New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library © Copyright 2019. 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 Love and war. They've been inextricably intertwined in literature since Helen of Troy's face launched a thousand ships. And just as the Greek goddess Aphrodite had a hand in that mash-up of desire and havoc, so is she also on the front lines in Julie Berry's sweeping historical novel, which begins in 1942. A stylish couple can barely keep their hands off each other as they take an elevator up to their hotel room where the woman's husband awaits. But this is no ordinary trio. They are revealed to be Aphrodite, Ares, and Aphrodite's long-suffering (very long-suffering) husband, Hephaestus, god of forges and fire, who entraps the adulterers in a gold mesh net. Aphrodite tells Hephaestus he knows nothing of love, but she can show him what it looks like. Taking a page from yet another literary figure, Scheherazade, Aphrodite takes the whole night to spin a story that wraps her relationship with Ares, the god of war, around the story of four lovers who meet during WWI: James Alderidge, on his way to the front; Hazel Windicott, a pianist, who has a few days to fall in love with him; Colette Fournier, a young Belgian woman whose family has all been killed by the Germans; and Aubrey Edwards, a Black soldier, in France to both play jazz with an infantry band and fight for America. In hands less skilled than Berry's, this multifaceted novel might easily have spun out of control. Mixing Greek gods (Hades and Apollo also join their fellow Olympians as the story unspools), the brutally described horrors of war, the tenderness of love, and the evils of racism, in both its blatant and insidious forms, seems more than one book can handle. Yet Berry is her own Scheherazade, mesmerizing us with intertwined tales that describe the depths of suffering and the sweetness of love with remarkable intensity and naturalness. This is one of those books in which readers will feel that they are in it together with all the story's characters. In fact, it is one of Berry's real triumphs that she manages to give nearly equal weight to a large cast of very different characters. James' evolution from a lighthearted young man to a cruelly hardened soldier would seem to have much more depth to it than the story of Hazel, a shy musician. Similarly, Aubrey, spared death when white soldiers mistake his friend for being the Black soldier stepping out with Colette, and who endures both the hell of war and the injustice of having his accomplishments denigrated, is the kind of character who could easily dominate. And, yet, Berry's portrait of the friendship forged between Hazel and Colette, as they spend the war in France as volunteers, waiting to learn the fates of their loves, though a quieter part of the tale, emerges every bit as forcefully and meaningfully as the more dramatic stories.This is not particularly a young adult book. Every emotion, description, and literary sleight-of-hand could just as easily be in an adult novel. And that is one of Berry's greatest strengths. She just writes. All of her young adult novels have been different from one another, from fantasy to religious drama. This one is heavily researched, as Berry explains in her author's notes, which detail how much of the framework is based on facts, whether it be the stories of Black servicemen in WWI or the particulars of the weapons used in the war or the roles of women on the home front. But all that detail folds effortlessly into the story, so uncommon in frame but heartbreakingly familiar in emotion. Lovely War proves again that Berry is one of our most ambitious writers. Happily for us, that ambition so often results in great success.--Ilene Cooper Copyright 2019 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up—Greek gods tell a tale of love and war in this enjoyable historical novel. When Hephaestus traps his wife Aphrodite and her lover Ares in a Manhattan hotel during World War II, he seeks to put them on trial for their indiscretions. In her defense, Aphrodite tells the tale of four young lovers set during World War I. In her tale, readers meet young Brits Hazel, a pianist, and James, who recently entered ranks as a soldier. They fall in love and when James is sent to the Western front, Hazel decides to help the war effort by joining the YMCA at a camp in France. It is here she meets Colette, a young Belgian girl, and Aubrey, an African American soldier who is a member of a well-known American military band. Colette, Hazel, and Aubrey strike up a friendship that revolves around music. Hazel and James spend some time together when James is able to take leave. Then James finds himself thrown into the horrors of war while Aubrey goes missing. The four must navigate the chaotic world of war while struggling to reunite and attempt to find love and happiness in the war's destructive wake. Aphrodite spins this tale, with additions from Ares, Apollo, and Hades showing that love and war are drawn together. Jayne Entwistle, Allan Corduner, and other narrators voice the gods and humans. Berry's author's note discusses the historical figures and events that inspired the story. VERDICT This engaging tale is a recommended purchase where historical fiction is popular.—Megan Huenemann, Norris High School, Firth, NE

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

Publishers Weekly Berry (The Passion of Dolssa) brings to life wartime horrors and passions with commentary from Olympian gods in this love story filled with vivid historical detail. To show her husband, Hephaestus, the real meaning of love and its connection to war and art, Aphrodite (with the help of Apollo, Hades, and Ares) tells the emotionpacked WWI saga of two besotted couples drawn together by music and war: British pianist Hazel and soldier James; AfricanAmerican jazz musician Aubrey and Colette, a Belgian war orphan with a remarkable singing voice. After James reports to duty, Hazel follows, taking a wartime volunteer position in France. There, she meets Colette, who is still reeling from her wartime losses, and introduces her to Aubrey, who quickly steals Colette’s heart. James and Aubrey witness horrors on and off the battlefield, and Hazel and Colette cling to each other during the best of times, such as when Hazel has the opportunity for a brief reunion with James, and the worst, as when Aubrey goes missing. Berry’s evocative novel starts slow but gains steam as the stories flesh out. Along the way, it suggests that while war and its devastation cycles through history, the forces of art and love remain steady, eternal, and lifesustaining. Ages 12–up. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book After the Greek god Hephaestus catches his wife Aphrodite, goddess of love, in a passionate affair during WWII, Aphrodite defends her actions by relating--with pathos and wit--two intertwined love stories involving four mortals swept up in WWI. Masterful storyteller Berry's tight, short, descriptive chapters span years, continents, and multiple perspectives. This poignant saga will make readers by turns laugh, cry, and swoon. Extensive historical notes on WWI appended. Bib. (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.

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog The Bluest of Blues: Anna Atkins and the First Book of Photographs.
by Fiona Robinson

Book list Cyanotypes, or sun prints, are blue-toned photographic prints created by placing an object on chemically treated paper and exposing it to sunlight. The result is a detailed, ghostly image surrounded by deep blue. Robinson embraces this aesthetic in her beautifully illustrated biography of Anna Atkins, a nineteenth-century botanist, artist, and early adopter of this photographic technique. The narrative text walks readers through Anna's childhood in England, exhibiting her close relationship with her scientist father, who fostered her interest in plants a rare opportunity granted to women in those days. As an adult, she created cyanotypes of her impressive plant collection, resulting in the first-known books of photographs. Robinson's cyan blue illustrations pop with occasional red or yellow accents, and blend pencil drawings with watercolor paintings, vintage prints, and photographs, including some of Anna's cyanotypes. Fascinating back matter includes instructions for making sun prints, institutions where Anna's cyanotypes can be seen, and notes on how Robinson created the book's unique illustrations. Pair with Margarita Engle's Summer Birds (2010) for a glimpse of another pioneering female scientist and illustrator.--Julia Smith Copyright 2018 Booklist

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

Kirkus Robinson examines the life of Anna Atkins, whose childhood love of the natural world propelled a unique career.Born in England in 1799, Anna was raised by her scientist father after her mother's death. Father abets Anna's fascination with nature, fostering her scientific education. She becomes a botanist, collecting, cataloging, and illustrating British flora. The pair moves to London, where Father works at the British Museum. Anna marries John Pelly Atkins and continues work on her pressed-plant herbarium. Father's retirement occasions the family's return to the Kent countryside, where father and daughter explore their mutual zeal for a new technology: photography. Introduced to the cyanotype, whose chemical reaction produces permanent images, Anna harnesses the technique to share her botanical collections, producing several books under the demure nom de plume "A.A." As little is known of Anna's early life, Robinson's present-tense narrative imagines childhood scenes. Historical context highlights the British mania for worldwide plant collection (but does not connect it to imperialism) and the sexist constraints on women and girls pursuing career paths. Illustrations utilize the cyanotype's distinctive blue and white, with touches of red and yellow. A note details Robinson's process, including digital manipulation of Atkins' cyanotypes. (Other backmatter includes an author's note, cyanotype instructions, bibliography, resources for Atkins' works, and illustration credits.) The effete, white-skinned figural depictions, which infantilize the adult Atkins, detract from the otherwise handsomely designed package.An inventive look at a pioneering woman whose intellectual passions culminated in published works of beauty and scientific verisimilitude. (Picture book/biography. 6-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly British botanist Anna Atkins used cyanotypes-photographic paper that turns blue in the sun-to publish the world's first book of photographs in 1843, a compendium of her extensive dried seaweed collection. Appropriately, the layered artwork in this picture book biography by Robinson (Ada's Ideas) is worked almost entirely in shades of blue, with the occasional red or yellow accent (a poppy, a ladybug, the sun's rays). Robinson's doll-like, romantic figures-Atkins has large eyes and round, rougelike spots on her cheeks-could skew sentimental, but the biography is detailed and informative. Atkins was lovingly reared and educated by her widowed father, and the two share a rich, loving partnership of teaching, plant collecting, and mutual encouragement as Anna grows into adulthood. A scientist friend introduces the pair to cyanotypes, and Anna sees that the medium will allow her to share her collection widely. "To my dearest father," reads her dedication (and Robinson's as well), "this attempt is affectionately inscribed." A valuable biography of an early female scientist-and a rare portrait of a father-daughter collaboration. Ages 6-9. Agent: Paul Rodeen, Rodeen Literary Management. (Feb.) c Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 2-5-Raised by her scientist father, young Anna Atkins was introduced to a number of scientific ideas and methods and was encouraged to pursue her passions and education. Atkins became an avid collector of specimens from the natural world, shells and ferns and flowers among them, and learned to illustrate them with remarkable accuracy. When she was introduced to the new science of photography and cyanotypes (aka sun prints), Atkins's inspiration reached a peak and she began to catalog and photograph her enormous collection. Robinson's picture book biography is a loving tribute to this remarkable woman whose impressive contributions were recognized long after her passing. Openly acknowledging in the author's note that Atkins's childhood was lost to history, the author fills in the gaps with imagined scenes of her youth-somewhat of a misstep in an otherwise winsome work. Robinson's writing has an ethereal quality to it. The beautiful blues of the pencil drawings, watercolor washes, and original cyanotypes from Atkins's collection come together on each page as an immersive experience, creating an array of blue that limns Atkins's world. VERDICT A pleasing addition to most collections. Have readers enjoy independently or perhaps with sun print paper so that they can try their hand at cyanotype making.-Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA © 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.

Horn Book Robinson's poetic biography of pioneering nineteenth-century botanist and photographer Anna Atkins unfortunately fictionalizes historical gaps--mainly regarding Atkins's childhood relationship with her father--with sentimental informed guesses. But the blue-hued illustrations sit alongside reproductions of Atkins's sketches and cyanotypes, resulting in blueprint-like illustrations that evoke nineteenth-century aesthetics while providing a clear picture of Atkins's work. An author's note and cyanotype instructions are included. Bib. (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.

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog The noisy paint box : the colors and sounds of Kandinsky's abstract art
by by Barb Rosenstock ; illustrated by Mary GrandPre

Publishers Weekly "Is it a house?" "Is it a flower?" "What's it supposed to be?" When an aunt gives Moscow schoolboy Vasily Kandinsky a paint box, no one knows what to make of the wild shapes he creates. He doesn't just see the colors. He hears them: "blaring crimson... burbling green, clanging orange, and tinkling violet." Even after he gives up his career teaching law years later and decides to study art, his teachers steer him toward traditional subjects. He resists, and his works become the art world's first abstract paintings. Rosenstock (Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library) focuses on passages of Kandinsky's writing that seem to indicate he experienced synesthesia, the neurological phenomenon that blurs the boundaries between the senses, and her prose strikes a balance between lightheartedness and lyricism. GrandPre's (The Wee Hours) paintings, meanwhile, conjure up an entire epoch, lingering over the candelabras and tasseled drapes of the Kandinskys' apartment, breathing life into all the characters, and conveying the energy and vitality of the colors Kandinsky hears. Contains an afterword and reproductions of some of Kandinsky's works. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* Richly colored, large acrylic paint and paper collage pictures illustrate the life of Vasily Kandinsky, one of the first painters of abstract art. As a young boy, Vasya was given a paint box, and when he first mixed colors, he was amazed to find he could hear the colors he created. Throughout his early life, Kandinsky struggled to live as others expected but couldn't forget his exhilarating experiences with painting. Even after giving in and taking lessons, he was unable to suppress the need to create his own style of art. He would see colors and hear music, hear music and see colors. Art should make you feel. Like music. Narrow white frames surround the wonderfully dense illustrations that reveal the sounds the colors make to the artist. The rich word choice is a delight: pistachio, cobalt, and saffron introduce readers to colors while hissing, blaring, and whispering reveal the sounds of the colors. This not a full biography, but rather a revelation of a real and talented person striving to express himself and succeeding. The author's note and source list impart more information. This is a beautiful blend of colors, music, and life.--Owen, Maryann Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 1-4-A stirring tribute to a prominent pioneer of abstract art, Paintbox follows the life of Russian-born artist Vasya Kandinsky from his childhood to adulthood, conveying the astounding imagery conjured in the painter's (probably genetic) condition, synesthesia, which caused sensory fields to collide in explosions that enabled him, for example, to hear colors. In this delightful homage, Rosenstock's crisp visual language unites with GrandPre's deeply expressive and whimsical paintings to re-create the intriguing world of art as seen through Kandinsky's distinct lens. The book offers diverse potential for different types of study, whether one is reading for information or for pleasure. Outstanding.-Kathryn Diman, Bass Harbor Memorial Library, Bernard, ME (c) Copyright 2014. 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.

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog The Judge's List
by John Grisham

Library Journal In The Whistler, Lacy Stoltz, an investigator for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct, challenged a crime syndicate paying off a crooked judge. Now she's back, facing the possibility that a judge is committing a crime far worse—murder.

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

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures
by Kate DiCamillo

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.

Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog Sula
by Toni Morrison

Library Journal Hearing an author read her own work creates a special ambiance. To hear Morrison read a short, unabridged novel published 24 years ago, to hear in her voice how much she still values the writing, well, who could ask for more? The only drawback is that Morrison, while very much in tune with her characters, often lets her voice drop to a whisper, making these tapes difficult to listen to while driving and almost impossible on a highway with the window open. On the page, Sula is one of her more clearly defined novels?the friendship and later hatred that envelopes the lives of two black women from "the bottom"?but the imagistic nature of the writing means listeners may have to replay passages if they want to follow the action. A small price to pay for a masterpiece.?Rochelle Ratner, formerly with "Soho Weekly News," New York (c) Copyright 2010. 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.

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