The following books are available at the Portales Public Library:
Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix. Children’s author Margaret Peterson Haddix is best known for her science fiction stories of dystopian societies, such as the Among the Hidden series. In her latest book, Haddix looks back at the grueling lives of American sweatshop workers in the early part of the 20th century. In March 1911, a horrific fire broke out in the Triangle Shirtwaist factory in New York City. One hundred forty-six people, most of them women, died in the fire because the owners had locked them in. “Uprising” tells the story of three fictional young women: Yetta, a Russian Jewish immigrant; Bella, an Italian immigrant; and Jane, a wealthy young American who discovers that she has few choices or options in a day when women are considered property and don’t even have the right to vote. All three girls are present at the factory the day of the fire, but only one survives.
Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate. Ten-year-old Kek is a young Kenyan, transported to snowy Minnesota after the brutal murder of his father and brother in tribal clashes. With his mother still missing, Kek is sent to live with his aunt and older cousin. Slowly adjusting to his new surroundings — including his first experience with snow — Kek is pleased to see a cow, although this worn-out creature can hardly compare to his father’s majestic animals. Written in free verse, this mesmerizing story lyrically illustrates the struggle of immigrants to adapt to a new country. The spare, clean text shines with hope and optimism. Though written for children, this is a story that will touch hearts of all ages.
Sunrise over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers. The army is a different place from when Robin “Birdie” Perry’s Uncle Richie (Fallen Angels) fought in Vietnam. Birdie may eat MREs and fight alongside female soldiers, but like his uncle, he is still a young soldier willing to fight for his country, yet uncertain who he is fighting and even why. Myers skillfully displays the ugly realities of the battlefield, while honoring the heroics of those in the trenches. Interspersed within the first person narrative are letters from Birdie to his parents and his uncle. Birdie shields his parents from the daily hazards of war but writes to his uncle as a fellow soldier. These letters highlight an important theme in the book — the conflict between what the media portrays and what the soldiers actually experience. Myers creates suspense in the tension between monotony and adrenaline-producing battle scenes. Birdie and his companions are rich and complex characters. Each struggles with his or her own fears and worries. Their reasons for being in Iraq are diverse as are their reactions to the war around them.