Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Year the Swallows Came Early

The Year the Swallows Came Early by Kathryn Fitzmaurice (Harper, 2009)
Some years can be noted by a special occurrence. for eleven-year-old Groovy Robinson this year was the time her father took all of the savings left by her grandmother and lost them at gambling. Now she would not be able to attend culinary school. It was also the time her friend Luis' mother came back into his life and he wasn't ready for that! These two friends are well-crafted in a story that will remind young readers how important families and acquaintances are to our growth and progress. This is the author's first novel for 'tween readers.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation: Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves.

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothinig, Traitor to the Nation: Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves. M.T. Anderson. (Candlewick, 2008)
This concludes the 2-volume account of Octavian Nothing, a Black youth set at the time of the American Revolution. In Volume I: The Pox Party, Octavian is the subject of a radical scientific study to determine if the intellectual acumen of " Africans was equal to those of the European."
In Volume II, Octavian joins the royal Ethiopian Regiment, runaway slaves, hoping to win his freedom. But "we were discarded when we were no longer of use." The ending portrays great patriotism and the urgency for one's freedom.
Some characters are fabricated, but all events and settings are real regarding the Revolutionary War. The 18th century language is supreme and the author admits to speaking and writing in this vernacular all the time he was writing these books. Volume I won the National Book Award and a Printz Honor. Volume II won a Printz Honor.
Both volumes are 900-plus pages. With the technical language and intense story, this is recommended for mature readers.