In the Stacks

Posted: Sunday, April 28, 2002

This week's column features books for kids!

"Walk Across the Sea," by Susan Fletcher. This new novel from last year's visiting author is set in the 1880s, a time when Chinese immigrants in California are facing increased prejudice and violence from whites. Thirteen year-old Eliza has a Chinese friend who she must keep secret from her father, who blames the Chinese for everything from lost jobs to his baby's death. His harsh stance causes Eliza to question her faith in God and her loyalty to her family as the town prepares to kick the Chinese out.

"What my Mother Doesn't Know," by Sonya Sones. This buoyant story of 14-year-old Sophie's first (and second, and third) love is told in blank verse, but don't let that put you off. Reading Sophie's poems is like talking with your best friend, all fragments of thoughts and answers to questions you asked yesterday thrown in together, and before you know it, you've found out all about Dylan, Lou, Murphy, and what her mother knows after all.

"One Tiny Turtle," by Nicola Davies. Science picture books are hitting their stride: This outstanding example about the life cycle of a loggerhead turtle is both poetic and scientific. Lovely watercolors enhance the text (two sizes, one for reading aloud, one for more information) and bring readers face-to-face with a turtle.

"The Orphan Singer," by Emily Arnold McCully. Years ago in Venice, Italy, a musical little girl was born to a very poor family. Though they knew they might never see her again, her parents wanted her to have the best music education possible and so they took Nina to an orphanage that specialized in training singers. Nina became one of the best singers in the school, and, through her parents' dedication (and a little subterfuge), even got to have a family.

"Pirates," by C. Drew Lamm. This deliciously creepy picture book is for pirate fans who don't mind being scared. Max and his big sister Ellery settle down for an evening of reading together on a dark, rainy night. Ellery has picked the story of Gaspar the pirate; Max is trying hard to make it less scary by adding his own asides, but as thunder crashes and lightning flashes, the flashlight goes out and there is a pirate in the room!

"Race Cars," by Darlene R. Stills. Do you know the difference between a sports car and a stock car? How about a kart and a soap box racer? This short book is full of photographs and answers for kids beginning to be interested in one of the speediest of sports.

"To Sleep, Perchance to Dream," by William Shakespeare. All of the quotes in this beautifully illustrated book are from Shakespeare; taken out of context, they provide the backdrop for a family's day. This is a lovely introduction to the beauty of Shakespeare's language for young children, and may even awaken new interest in the parent doing the reading!

"The Thumb in the Box," by Ken Roberts. In the small fishing village of New Auckland where Leon lives there are no fire hydrants, roads, or even cars. What the town needs is a water pump, and maybe a playground for the kids, but what they get is a new fire truck. When Little Charlie comes to town, he and Leon cook up a plan that gets the town exactly what it needs!

Next week: non-fiction!

If you'd like to place a hold on any of these titles, call the Juneau Public Library at 586-5249. If you have Internet access, your library card and a PIN, you may place your own holds by going to our Web site ( and looking at our catalogue. The "In the Stacks" column is now archived! Go to the Juneau Public Libraries' Web site and look for "In the Stacks."

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