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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

Mon, February 4th, 2013
Unspoken by Henry Cole
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy: I feel as if I shouldn’t really say anything about this wordless picture book, Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad (Scholastic 2012), other than to urge you to set your eyes on a copy and “read” it with a child. The story opens with a quilt draped over a farm rail fence and […]

Fri, August 17th, 2012
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  As veteran Bookends readers know, we are never short of opinions!  So let me say straight out that Elizabeth Wein’s earlier Arthurian/Ethiopian series  is as innovative as it is beautifully written and, in my opinion anyway, never received the attention it deserved.  Her new book, Code Name Verity (Hyperion 2012) again displays this extraordinary […]

Fri, July 27th, 2012
The Day I Died by Candace Fleming
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy: What a deliciously creepy collection of ghost stories. On the Day I Died: Stories from the Grave (Random House/Schwartz & Wade 2012) begins with a variation of the popular Vanishing Hitchhiker story that sets up the structure for the collection. Mike picks up a girl, she disappears before he gets her home, but leaves […]

Wed, June 13th, 2012
The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy: Talk about a timely historical fiction novel. Tough economic times, fathers who have to relocate to find work, and children who are caught in the middle. The Mighty Miss Malone (Random/Wendy Lamb 2012) could be describing many families today instead of in Great Depression era Gary, Indiana. As the cover proclaims, “Deza Malone from […]

Wed, May 2nd, 2012
The Case of the Deadly Desperados by Caroline Lawrence
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn: Hang onto your slouch hat and seven-shot derringer! Caroline Lawrence trades togas for buckskins as her new Western Mysteries series gets off to a rip-snorting start in The Case of the Deadly Desperados (Penguin/Putnam, 2012). The story opens as P. K. Pinkerton inscribes the events that have brought him to be in the deepest mine […]

Mon, March 19th, 2012
Born and Bred in the Great Depression by Jonah Winter
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn: As a child, I was fascinated by my parents’ stories about growing up during the Depression.  Neither of them, like the children in this story, ever went hungry but the scarcities and tough times shaped them for their entire lives.  My mother, at 91, still cannot bear to let anything go to waste and […]

Wed, January 4th, 2012
Life: An Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn: I’m reading for Newbery this year so I’ve gifted myself with only an occasional upper YA book and most of them have been on audio.  Few have shaken me as much as Mal Peet’s newest, Life:  An Exploded Diagram (Candlewick 2011).  When brilliant narrator Simon Vance (Brilliance 2011) read the last sentence, all I […]

Thu, December 22nd, 2011
Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy: When you read as many books as we do, strange moments of serendipity are bound to arise, but they still often surprise–like reading two books back to back in which an undertaker’s process of sewing shut the jaw of a corpse is described in great detail! The Titanic’s undertaker did so in The Watch That Ends […]

Sat, December 10th, 2011
The Watch That Ends the Night by Allan Wolf
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn: Long-time readers of Bookends will remember that I am not a big fan of verse novels or of sad books.  So you are probably surprised to see me leading off a review of this door-stopper of a verse novel about an immensely famous disaster.  I’m pretty surprised myself but every so often a book […]

Wed, October 12th, 2011
Queen of Hearts by Martha Brooks
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn: I really shouldn’t reveal how clay-like my reviewer’s feet are but I seem to confess my failings in this blog all the time.   This clearly has to stop but before I talk about Martha Brook’s new book, Queen of Hearts (Farrar 2011), I need to say that I usually dislike books about people […]

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