Readers will cheer for Nadia as she responds to prejudice and affirms her identity.

THE MAGICAL REALITY OF NADIA

Nadia Youssef is starting sixth grade, trying to navigate friendships, and tackling tough issues like racism and bullying.

Nadia is an Egyptian American immigrant, living in California with her physician parents; Baba’s a cardiologist, and Mama’s a pulmonologist. Based loosely on co-author Youssef’s real daughter, Nadia loves facts, collects bobbleheads, spends her summers in Egypt, and is very close to her best friends, Adam, who’s White, Sarah, who’s Korean American, Chloe, who's Black, and Vikram, who’s Indian American; together they’re the Nerd Patrol. The quintet is excited to learn that the Museum of American History is inviting students to team up and present ideas for an exhibit. Struggling with what it means to be a team leader, Nadia must also cope with a bullying new White student. Jason demands, “Where exactly are you from, anyway?” and sneers at her “desert people food.” Mystifyingly, Adam seems to want to be friends with Jason even though he hears the mean things Jason says. With a little help from a magical amulet, advice from her parents, and the help of her friends, Nadia makes a plan. Youssef and Daly draw a strong character who is proud of her heritage and culture and is not afraid to show her Egyptian roots. Holgate’s black-and-white cartoon vignettes pair well with the text, especially bringing out certain personality quirks and moments of humor. Nadia and Vikram make connections about similarities between their cultures, such as the “practice of snake charming” and some foodstuffs. 

Readers will cheer for Nadia as she responds to prejudice and affirms her identity. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-57228-5

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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THE ONE AND ONLY BOB

Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit...

NUMBER THE STARS

The author of the Anastasia books as well as more serious fiction (Rabble Starkey, 1987) offers her first historical fiction—a story about the escape of the Jews from Denmark in 1943.

Five years younger than Lisa in Carol Matas' Lisa's War (1989), Annemarie Johansen has, at 10, known three years of Nazi occupation. Though ever cautious and fearful of the ubiquitous soldiers, she is largely unaware of the extent of the danger around her; the Resistance kept even its participants safer by telling them as little as possible, and Annemarie has never been told that her older sister Lise died in its service. When the Germans plan to round up the Jews, the Johansens take in Annemarie's friend, Ellen Rosen, and pretend she is their daughter; later, they travel to Uncle Hendrik's house on the coast, where the Rosens and other Jews are transported by fishing boat to Sweden. Apart from Lise's offstage death, there is little violence here; like Annemarie, the reader is protected from the full implications of events—but will be caught up in the suspense and menace of several encounters with soldiers and in Annemarie's courageous run as courier on the night of the escape. The book concludes with the Jews' return, after the war, to homes well kept for them by their neighbors.

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit of riding alone in Copenhagen, but for their Jews. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1989

ISBN: 0547577095

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1989

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