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Middle-school librarians Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan prove that two heads are better than one when it comes to discussing YA and children's books

Archive for the 'Historical fiction' Category

Tue, July 15th, 2014
Boundless by Kenneth Oppel
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy: There are times when Lynn’s and my literary tastes don’t match up, but usually when she begs me to read a book I should listen to her and respond immediately. She has been raving about The Boundless (Simon & Schuster 2014) for months, as have many other readers (it published in April so you […]


Tue, May 20th, 2014
Brother Hugo and the Bear by Katy Beebe
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy: The tired excuse of, “The dog ate my homework” is tame compared with “The bear ate my library book.” Especially considering that Brother Hugo and the Bear (Eerdmans 2014) is apparently based on fact! This funny, charming, and gorgeous picture book is also informative. Beebe bases her story on a note found in a […]


Fri, December 13th, 2013
P. S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy: The Gaither sisters won our hearts in the Newbery Honor Book One Crazy Summer and now they are back in a sequel, P.S. Be Eleven (Amistad 2013). The year ahead for Delphine and her sisters looks to be just as crazy as they reenter their Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn neighborhood fresh off an eye-opening summer in […]


Fri, November 29th, 2013
Muckers by Sandra Neil Wallace
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  There’s nothing I love more than an underdog story and Sandra Neil Wallace has given us a terrific one in Muckers (Random/Knopf 2013).  While researching another story about Jerome, Arizona, Wallace came across a box containing, among other things, letters from past students to Lewis McDonald, the much-loved principal of the Jerome high school.  […]


Thu, October 3rd, 2013
Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy: I can’t think of a better set of books for our Bookends Blog than Boxers & Saints (First Second 2013) since it is literally a bookend set! From the covers to the spines that form a bookend set of faces, to the dual narration of the Boxer Rebellion from opposing viewpoints, this set is an […]


Mon, July 22nd, 2013
Bluffton by Matt Phelan
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy: I was excited when the galley of Matt Phelan’s new graphic novel, Bluffton (Candlewick, July 23, 2013), showed up on my porch but when I flipped it over I was even more excited. The jacket copy promised the book was set in Muskegon, Michigan. What? That’s minutes from my house. Buster Keaton? Buster and […]


Sat, July 6th, 2013
Paperboy by Vince Vawter
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  Muggy summer southern heat, a young person becoming aware of the wider world and its inequalities, memorable original voice.  No, I’m not talking about To Kill a Mockingbird.  I am talking about a terrific new book for young readers that shares those elements, Paperboy (Random/Delacorte 2013). The eleven-year-old narrator reveals that he is called […]


Fri, May 31st, 2013
The Caged Graves by Dianne K. Salerni
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  How’s this for, ahem, a killer premise?  A young woman returns home after years away to discover that her mother lies buried within a wrought-iron cage.  Try resisting that, I dare you!  Salerni’s creepy premise is just the beginning of a terrifically compelling mystery and The Caged Graves (Clarion 2013) is the perfect book […]


Wed, May 22nd, 2013
One Came Home by Amy Timberlake
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy: If Annie Oakley had to solve her sister’s mysterious disappearance…you’d have One Came Home (Random/Knopf 2013) and one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. 13-year-old Georgia is a whiz with a rifle and is helpful in her family’s general store in Placid, Wisconsin. The book opens with this intriguing passage: […]


Wed, March 13th, 2013
Shadow on the Mountain by Margi Preus
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  It’s March and we bloggers have mostly leaped into the new publishing year.   I’m still playing catch-up though and I’m so glad I didn’t miss Shadow on the Mountain (Abrams/Amulet 2012).  Preus writes about a part of WWII history that most of us know little about and bases her book on the “true […]





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