Tuesday, December 28, 2010

This Librarian's Quick Picks: High School Edition

Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography
by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon
Genre: Graphic Novel


An account of Anne Frank's life and her diary, as well as the Frank family's history before and after their time in the secret annex.

Why you'll love it:
  • The detailed and sympathetic portrayal of the Frank family puts Anne’s diary in a broader context.
  • Provides a history of the rise of the Nazi party and the implementation of its policies, alongside descriptions of how this affected the Franks.
  • Anne and Margot are depicted as normal, thoughtful children. Readers will easily relate to the girls’ reactions to their family’s travails.
  • The illustrations clearly express the characters’ emotions. Maps and diagrams, integrated into the artwork, help readers to understand the progress of the war and to envision the annex.
  • Carefully researched: the book was written with the help of the Anne Frank House, which also provided Frank family photographs that are reproduced in the back matter’s detailed chronology. Drawings of the annex are partially based on information from the Anne Frank House’s virtual museum.

The Miracle Stealer
by Neil Connelly


Andi wishes people would leave her brother, a so-called "miracle child," alone. But if they won't, she'll find a way to make them.

Why you'll love it:
  • A gripping opening scene sets up both sides of the conflict. Is Andi’s brother, Daniel, a miracle child, or a child being exploited?
  • Daniel’s backstory borrows from the amazing but true 1987 news event of ’Baby Jessica.‘ “The men around Daniel’s hole were on their knees, and one of them began to cry. The miners’ efforts had caused the hole to cave in. My three-year-old brother was now buried alive.”
  • Neil Connelly doesn’t shy away from complicated and uncomfortable topics. As Andi’s protectiveness of her brother turns into something more desperate and flailing, The Miracle Stealer blurs the lines between anger, certainty, and devotion.
  • A shocking climax offers Andi a chance at peace, but sidesteps any definitive answers about Daniel’s nature or the possibility of miracles.

    Prisoners in the Palace
    by Michaela MacColl
    Genre: Historical Fiction


    Little does Liza suspect that her new job as Princess Victoria's maid will entail spying and protecting Victoria from her own mother.

    Why you'll love it:
    • A fast-paced book filled with romance and intrigue and populated with convincing characters, from servants to royals to street people.
    • By using Liza—a maid—as the narrator, Michaela MacColl highlights the inequities of classism, and shows that everyone, whether they're famous or not, has historical significance.
    • It's interesting to see Princess Victoria, who became a famously cold, rigid queen, depicted as a seventeen-year-old trying to find her way in the world. She's a believable combination of bratty teenager, tender-hearted benefactress, and frightened young woman.

      I Will Save You
      by Matt de la Pena


      Kidd, unhappy with his life in a group home and job at the beach, learns lessons about identity, love, and friendship through his relationships with Olivia, a rich girl from Cardiff, and Devon, a mysterious teen driven by a death wish. 

      Why you'll love it:
      • A haunting and mysterious prologue sets just the right tone for this novel of startling revelations, striking imagery, and profound emotion.
      • Devon is a vulnerable, endearing narrator with a pitch-perfect, contemporary teenage voice.
      • I Will Save You touches on weighty themes—including post-traumatic stress disorder, alcoholism, and family violence—but does so sensitively and without melodrama.
      • The shocking conclusion will inspire much thought and discussion.


      Mystica said...

      Like your list and Prisoners in the Palace is a new one for me. I find that storyline interesting.

      Veens said...

      I haven't heard of any of the books in this list, thank you :)

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