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Click to search this book in our catalog What Girls Are Made Of
by Arnold, Elana

Book list *Starred Review* Publishers say that historical fiction is a hard sell, and books with religion at their core are few and far between. Kudos, then, to Berry (All the Truth That's in Me, 2013) for creating a sweeping saga that not only deeply entwines both but also dissects its characters' humanity as it looks at the often troubling beliefs that underlay their actions. The story-within-a-story begins in 1290. A friar is gathering papers and testimonies that will show how the inquisitions here on the border of France and Spain were God's holy work. But one tale troubles him, so much so that he begins to stitch the strands together, and that is where the main story begins. Botille is a sassy teenager who makes money in her seaside village of Bajas by matchmaking. A disruptive childhood and a drunken father has bound Botille and her sisters closely together, but their lives are good: Plazensa runs the tavern, Botille makes her matches, and Sazia tells fortunes with uncanny accuracy. To the north, in Tolosos, there is another girl, Dolssa. Aristocratic by birth and a mystic by the grace of God, she spends her days with her beloved, Jesus, who wraps her in his murmurs and consumes her with his love. That much love cannot be contained, and Dolssa begins telling others how much her beloved cherishes all people. The simplicity of her message is seen by the inquisitors as a threat to the church, a devil's deception, and there is only one place it can end: in a public burning. Miraculously, Dolssa escapes the pyre. She wanders until she meets Botille, who saves and shelters her. This beautifully crafted plot would be enough on its own, but Berry does so much more. First, she establishes a convincing setting, in part by peppering the dialogue with Old Provençal language. Using many voices, some of which, including Botille and Dolssa, relate their own stories, she picks beneath words and actions to expose the motives of the heart, revealing how lofty ideas can turn into terrorizing actions, and how fear and self-preservation can make friends and neighbors turn on one another. Yet despite the book's gravity, Berry also manages to infuse her story with laughter and light welcome surprises. The final surprise awaiting readers at the book's conclusion adds yet another layer to the storytelling. Also at the book's end, Berry has included a wealth of back matter, a glossary, a list of characters (possibly of more help if placed at the book's beginning), and an author's note explaining the roots of the religious discord, inquisitions, and wars, and touching on such female mystics as Hildegard of Bingen, who is referenced in the novel. The beauty of historical fiction is that it brings to life long-ago times and places even as it shows how hopes, fears, and dreams remain constant across the ages. The strength of religious-centric novels is their revelation of the myriad ways people grapple with their faith and spirituality. The Passion of Dolssa's rich brew will leave readers thinking about all of these things, even as it profoundly influences their own struggles and questions.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2016 Booklist

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

Horn Book A (fictional) Catholic mystic, Dolssa de Stigata, escapes being burned as a heretic in 1241 France; mostly, this is the story of Botille, an enterprising young matchmaker from a tiny fishing village who rescues Dolssa. Botille's spirited character, the heart-rending suspense of events, and the terrifying context of the Inquisition in medieval Europe all render the novel irresistibly compelling. Historical note appended. Bib., glos. (c) Copyright 2016. 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 7 Up-This magnificent tale is set in post-Crusades 13th-century France. A pious young noblewoman blessed with the gift of healing, Dolssa de Stigata is judged a heretic by the Roman Catholic Church and sentenced to burn at the stake. Forced to watch her beloved mother burn first, Dolssa is surprised when someone cuts the ropes binding her hands and feet and implores her to run. Driven into hiding from the churchmen dispatched to track her down, Dolssa is found nearly dead from starvation and exhaustion by a young tavern keeper and matchmaker, Botille, who vows to protect the young heretic despite the danger posed to herself and her family. Unlikely allies, the girls unwittingly put an entire village at risk in their effort to stand up for their beliefs. The account is told in alternating voices by Dolssa, Botille, and Arnaut d'Avinhonet, a Dominican friar. This lush and compelling book is enhanced by brilliant narration by Jayne Entwistle, Allen Corduner, and Fiona Hardingham. Lucky listeners will be haunted by their voices long after the book concludes. VERDICT Highly recommended for all junior high and high school audio collections. ["An expertly crafted piece of historical fiction, Berry's latest is a must for middle and high school libraries": SLJ 3/16 starred review of the Viking book.]-Lisa E. Hubler, Charles F. Brush High School, Lyndhurst, OH © Copyright 2016. 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.

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Botille is a matchmaker in the small seaside town of Bajas in medieval France. She struggles to run the family's tavern and keep her sisters and herself afloat. Dolssa is a young woman with a secret that she can't help but share-her lover is God, and she speaks to him regularly. When the two young women cross paths, both deep friendship and mortal peril await them. A beautifully rendered portrait of a little-known portion of history, this work is a meticulously researched piece of fiction. Yet it is not just in the accurate details that the novel shines. The strength and humanity of the almost entirely female set of characters are inspiring and well drawn. The panic and suspicion of post-Inquisition France is omnipresent, giving the story of a supposed heretic a constant edge of danger. As the novel slips in and out of magical realism, readers will be transported into Dolssa and Botille's world. VERDICT An expertly crafted piece of historical fiction, Berry's latest is a must for middle and high school libraries.-Erinn Black Salge, Saint Peter's Prep, Jersey City, NJ © Copyright 2016. 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.

Kirkus A girl matchmaker in 13th-century southern France meets a mystic on the run from the Inquisition. A generation after the horrors of the Albigensian Crusade, the elders are still broken by memories of entire towns put to the sword, but the younger folk, such as Botille and her sisters, focus on the present. After a childhood on the run, the sisters seek stability in poverty-stricken Bajas: brewing ale, telling fortunes, and helping their neighbors. Bajas is depicted through a scattering of third- and first-person viewpoints (but primarily Botille's) as a town where all look out for one other as a matter of course, where goodness is found in prostitutes, fishermen, hustlers, and drunks. Bajas' generosity is challenged when Botille discovers Dolssa, an injured, spirit-shattered girl on the run. Dolssa's a convicted heretic for speaking publicly of her intimate relationship with "her beloved...Senhor Jhesus." She trails miracles like bread crumbs, from a never-emptying ale jug to repeated uncanny cures. The villagers venerate her, but the arrival of the Inquisitionin a world where branding and burnings are mild punishments compared to recent historyputs their goodness to the test. The slow build reveals Botille as a compelling, admirable young woman in a gorgeously built world that accepts miracles without question. The medieval Languedoc countryside is so believably drawn there's no need for the too-frequent italicized interjections in Old Provenal that pepper the narrative. Immersive and mesmerizing. (character list, historical note, glossary, bibliography) (Historical fantasy. 14-17) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Two young women-Botille, a tavern wench, and Dolssa, a noblewoman possibly in communion with God-form a deep bond in a world that seeks to destroy them. Berry has reimagined 13th-century France with vigor, from the small intricacies of daily village life to the brutal ruthlessness of the Inquisition. Readers looking for a work steeped in female friendship, mysticism, and blood, with extensive back matter to boot, will be well rewarded. © Copyright 2016. 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 When Botille Flasucra finds Dolssa de Stigata lying on a riverside close to death, she takes the stranger to her family's tavern. Botille, a young matchmaker, and her sisters nurse Dolssa back to health in secret-a Dominican friar obsessively hunts Dolssa, whom he condemned as a heretic to be burned at the stake. The year is 1241 in Provensa (now Provence), where the aftereffects of the Albigensian Crusade have led to an inquisition meant to rid the Christian world of heretics. Dolssa, however, feels called to heal the sick in the name of her beloved Jhesus, and her miracles eventually bring danger to the small town of Bajas. Berry (All the Truth That's in Me) again delivers an utterly original and instantly engrossing story. Drawing from meticulous historical research (highlighted in extensive back matter), she weaves a tense, moving portrait of these two teenage girls and their struggle to survive against insurmountable odds. Love, faith, violence, and power intertwine in Berry's lyrical writing, but Botille's and Dolssa's indomitable spirits are the heart of her story. Ages 12-up. Agent: Alyssa Eisner Henkin, Trident Media Group. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Across the Bay
by Carlos Aponte

Book list Carlitos lives with his mother and his abuela in Cataño, Puerto Rico. Though he's happy in his cozy house, his family is different because his father is gone, living somewhere across the bay in San Juan. An idea forms: he'll bring a photo of his father and take the ferry to the capital. He shows the picture to strangers, and some offer suggestions. He wanders until the only place left to look is the El Morro castle. But there's no Papi, and his photo is lost. The kind words of a park ranger offer solace: no matter the dark clouds, the sun will eventually return. Aponte does a fine job of taking on a poignant problem without overwhelming the story with sadness. Much of the heavy lifting is done by the effusive art, done in the style of mid-century artwork, with thick lines around fancifully shaped characters, including hidden gems like the cats that follow Carlitos. The lushly colored art is suffused with an animation that reminds readers that life is always moving, a good lesson for any age group.--Ilene Cooper Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Aponte (A Season to Bee) unmistakably writes from the heart in this story rooted in his childhood in Puerto Rico. Located across the bay from Old San Juan, Carlitos’s hometown of Cataño, where he lives with his loving mother and abuela, is ablaze with flowers and fruit trees—vibrantly portrayed in fluid, expressive cartoons that capture the tranquility of his village and the vitality of the city beyond. The observation that Carlitos’s family “didn’t look like the others” is confirmed when he and his mother enter a barbershop where other boys wait their turn alongside their fathers, prompting Carlitos to ask, “Mami, where is Papi?” Her response—that he is “across the bay” and that “sometimes things don’t work out”—incites Carlitos to sneak out of the house and ride a ferry to the city, a photo of Papi in his pocket. After no one he asks recognizes the man in the picture, the comforting words of a park ranger and Carlitos’s longing to see his family “calling from across the bay” impel him to return home—contentedly. A reflective, poignant portrait of loss, resilience, and the protean nature of family. Ages 3–7. (Sept.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2—Missing a father in his life, a young boy goes searching for him. Carlitos lives in the town of Cataño in Puerto Rico, a town just across the bay from the capital city of San Juan. Carlitos leads a happy life with his mother, abuela, and cat, Coco. But he doesn't like going to the barbershop, where he feels left out when he sees all of the other boys accompanied by their dads. Knowing his father lives in San Juan, the boy finds an old photo of him, grabs some money, and tiptoes out of the house and to the ferry terminal. Predictably, he doesn't find his father but instead realizes how important the family he does have is to him. Aponte's color-filled illustrations capture the vibrancy and warmth of Carlitos's environment. As the boy walks the streets of San Juan, readers familiar with the city will easily recognize it. The text, however, is inconsistent. For example, the absence of a father is explained as, "most families in Carlitos's town looked the same. His family didn't look like the others." It is also somewhat jarring when the barber greets Carlitos's mother as "Doña Carmen" but she responds with a simple "Francisco." Is she asserting social privilege? VERDICT Though not without flaws, this book with a Puerto Rican setting may be considered as a secondary purchase.—Lucia Acosta, Children's Literature Specialist, Princeton, NJ

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

Kirkus Carlitos' yearning for his father takes him on a clandestine solo trip to Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, to find him. In the town of Catao, across the titular bay from the capital, Carlitos lives with his mother, his abuela, and their cat, Coco. Carlitos' "family didn't look like the others." The neighborhood children play basketball, learn to ride a bike, or do housework with their fathers while Carlitos goes to the barbershop with only his mother. When Carlitos asks about Papi's whereabouts, his mother reassures him that his father is across the baythat "sometimes things don't work out." Even though he is happy with his family, a desire for more sets Carlitos on a ferry with Papi's photo in hand. Vibrant illustrations with an inviting tropical palette draw readers in as Carlitos searches high and low for Papi. A refreshingly varied spectrum of brown shades of skin abounds in colorful city scenes. Wide-angle perspectives effectively emphasize emotional scale: the vastness of San Juan Bay, Carlitos' sense of his own smallness as he searches for his father in the "maze" of the old capital, and his despair at his journey's end. Aponte's decision to leave Carlitos' quest unresolved is an honest one, and readers will respond to this beautiful depiction of a young boy's physical and emotional journey within a deeply cultural setting.Shining with palpable pride for family and home. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Horn Book Aponte explores a young child's physical and emotional journey coping with his father's absence from his life and learning to love all that is around him. Carlitos lives with his mother, grandmother, and cat in Catano, a town just across the bay from Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. Now and then, in the streets or at the barbershop, Carlitos notices that there's something "different" about his family. From his mother, the young boy learns that his father lives "across the bay." ("Sometimes things don't work out.") Carlitos decides to hop onto the ferry and travel to Old San Juan with a photo of his dad and the hope of finding him. Through strikingly colorful and vibrant illustrations, Aponte captures the essence of Old San Juan: while Carlitos asks around for his father, readers can see such typical local images as a shaved-ice vendor, a group of cats, old men playing dominoes, the traditional San Sebastian street festival, and people flying kites at El Morro fort. This tale, in which a young boy walks around by himself without anyone knowing, asking, or wondering where his supervising adults are, is based on Aponte's childhood memories of a particular time and place. A lively and honest story about filling voids and exploring what defines a family--as well as a love letter to a childhood home. (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.

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Joseph Had a Little Overcoat
by Simms Taback

Publishers Weekly : As in his Caldecott Honor book, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, Taback's inventive use of die-cut pages shows off his signature artwork, here newly created for his 1977 adaptation of a Yiddish folk song. This diverting, sequential story unravels as swiftly as the threads of Joseph's well-loved, patch-covered plaid coat. A flip of the page allows children to peek through to subsequent spreads as Joseph's tailoring produces items of decreasing size. The author puts a droll spin on his narrative when Joseph loses the last remnant of the coat--a button--and decides to make a book about it. "Which shows... you can always make something out of nothing," writes Taback, who wryly slips himself into his story by depicting Joseph creating a dummy for the book that readers are holding. Still, it's the bustling mixed-media artwork, highlighted by the strategically placed die-cuts, that steals the show. Taback works into his folk art a menagerie of wide-eyed animals witnessing the overcoat's transformation, miniature photographs superimposed on paintings and some clever asides reproduced in small print (a wall hanging declares, "Better to have an ugly patch than a beautiful hole"; a newspaper headline announces, "Fiddler on Roof Falls off Roof"). With its effective repetition and an abundance of visual humor, this is tailor-made for reading aloud. All ages. (Oct.)

Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : Pre-Gr 3-A book bursting at the seams with ingenuity and creative spirit. When Joseph's overcoat becomes "old and worn," he snips off the patches and turns it into a jacket. When his jacket is beyond repair, he makes a vest. Joseph recycles his garments until he has nothing left. But by trading in his scissors for a pen and paintbrush he creates a story, showing "you can always make something out of nothing." Clever die-cut holes provide clues as to what Joseph will make next: windowpanes in one scene become a scarf upon turning the page. Striking gouache, watercolor, and collage illustrations are chock-full of witty details-letters to read, proverbs on the walls, even a fiddler on the roof. Taback adapted this tale from a Yiddish folk song and the music and English lyrics are appended. The rhythm and repetition make it a perfect storytime read-aloud.-Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada

Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog The Myth Of Normal
by Gabor Maté with Daniel Maté

Publishers Weekly Physician Maté (In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts) delivers a sweeping analysis of the relationship between illness, trauma, and capitalism. “Our social and economic culture generates chronic stressors that undermine well-being,” contends Maté, suggesting that medical treatment should better attend to the mind-body connection and the impact of one’s environment on one’s health. Though Maté tells of surviving hunger and disease as an infant in Hungary during WWII, he mostly focuses on the traumas of day-to-day life, including how pregnant mothers’ stress about employment or healthcare may lead to behavioral problems in their children, and how the effects of racism and poverty lead to lower life expectancies. The author details the role that emotions might play in somatic illness, citing studies that found, among patients admitted for biopsy, those with suppressed anger were more likely to have malignant tumors. Maté brings compassion to his examination of societal failures and elucidates how addiction is often an attempt to quell the pain of having been abused. Maté marshals an impressive amount of research to outline an original and persuasive vision of health focused on environmental influences and the interplay between the mind and body, though the extensive studies mentioned sometimes verge on redundancy. Nevertheless, this bold reappraisal has the power to change how readers think about health. (Sept.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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 While I Was Gone
by Sue Miller

Library Journal: Thirty years ago, Joey Becker's carefree bohemian life was shattered by the brutal, unsolved murder of her best friend, Dana. Joey coped with her loss while building a career, marrying, and raising a family. She thinks she is happy, but ever since her children have left home Joey has felt a vague sense of disappointment. She cannot share the depth of her feelings for Dana with anyone, even her husband. Then Eli, Joey and Dana's former housemate, arrives in town. Joey and Eli are first drawn to each other because they both loved Dana and still mourn her, but their mutual attraction grows until it threatens Joey's marriage and her relationship with her daughter. Miller (The Good Mother, LJ 5/15/86) presents a suspenseful, penetrating look at the tenuous bonds of love, the ease with which even a good marriage can be destroyed, and the need to forgive ourselves for the mistakes of the past. Highly recommended for all public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/98.]--Karen Anderson, Superior Court Law Lib., Phoenix

Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly: The shadowy and inexorable nemesis of past secrets to a reclaimed life, and the inability even of those who are intimates to really know one another, are poignant themes in Miller's resonant fifth novel. Narrator Jo Becker, now a veterinarian married to a minister in a small Massachusetts town, was once a runaway bride who assumed a false name and lived with other dissaffected '60s bohemians in a group house in Cambridge. Her special friend in the house was sweet-spirited and generous Dana Jablonski, whose shocking--and unsolved--murder broke up the group and left Jo with unresolved questions about her own identity. She manages to ignore the memories of that time until, almost three decades later, one of the former housemates, Eli Mayhew, moves to her town. Eli, now a distinguished research scientist, provides a revelation that acts as the catalyst provoking Jo to face her guilt about her past behavior--and to act impulsively once again. Her moral conundrum occasions a heartrending change in her heretofore strong marriage and undermines her relationship with her three grown daughters. As usual, Miller (The Good Mother; Family Pictures) renders the details of quotidian domesticity with bedrock veracity and a sensitivity to minute calibrations of family dynamics, especially the nuances of sibling rivalry. But while the pacing, tone and measured exposition are handled with masterly skill, the way in which Jo's decision to make amends for her past rebounds on her present life seems staged and convoluted, since her husband and children seem to think that retribution for a murder should take second place to their own emotional needs. That cavil aside, Miller's narrative is a beautifully textured picture of the psychological tug of war between finding integrity as an individual and satisfying the demands of spouse, children and community. 150,000 first printing; Random House audio; BOMC selection; author tour.

Copyright 1998 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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