Mean Margaret

Unconditional kindness is the key in this National Book Award Finalist from the author of The Wainscott Weasel about nontraditional families, adoption, love—and a little peace and quiet.

Margaret is a mean, cranky human toddler from a family of nine. She is such a pain that her beleaguered parents chuck her out, and she’s on her own, grousing and grumping until two caring woodchucks, Phoebe and Fred, take Margaret in as their own. But despite their love, Margaret continues to wreak havoc with her loud, destructive ways, ruining the burrow and shrieking nonstop. Soon the woodchucks are as beleaguered as Margaret’s human parents were, but because love is more powerful than temper tantrums, they are determined to make it work. So they enlist a little unconventional help, and with the guidance of a snake, bats, and a skunk, their feral little human just might realize there’s more to life than being mean.

Where You Belong

It’s October 11, 1963, in the Bronx, New York. Thirteen-year-old Fiona, her mother, and three siblings have just been evicted from their apartment. Now the family must move in with Aunt Maggie and her six kids. Better to go to Daddy’s place, Fiona’s brother tells her. Better to risk getting beaten than to go someplace you don’t belong.

The beating does come, and Fiona runs away in terror. Alone, hungry, with no choices left, she wanders into the black neighborhood—a place her Irish-American parents talk about with scorn.

Coming here, though, reunites Fiona with an old classmate, Yolanda. They were never able to be real friends at school—a friendship between a black girl and a white girl was rare in the Bronx. But today is going to be different. Two girls who don’t feel they belong anywhere will find a special place to belong—with each other. Can their friendship survive? Together they learn that beyond the bigotry and chaos that adults leave behind lie reasons for hope, and the streets of the Bronx offer a path for a powerful journey of self-discovery.

Sons of Liberty

It’s two a.m., it’s snowing, and the Kindle boys are working on the roof. This is just another in a long string of interrupted nights—early morning wake-up calls that their father uses to teach endurance, discipline, and a respect for authority. He is a tough man, unforgiving and quick to anger, and the boys express their fear of him in different ways. Cliff is rebellious, while Rock escapes into Revolutionary War history, and struggles to understand where his loyalties lie.
When the boys’ friend Liza decides to run away from her abusive stepfather, Rock and Cliff help her escape. As life in the Kindle house becomes unbearable, Rock wonders if he should run away as well. But would leaving be an act of treason?

The Facts Speak for Themselves

”The subject is a white female, age thirteen. Her score on the standard Stanford-Binet puts her in the low-average quarter of her age group. She appears to be in good physical health. She is small for her age, but sturdily built. She reports that her first onset of menses occurred seven months ago. Her periods are scanty and irregular. A long history of sexual abuse …”

Offended by her social worker’s report, above, Linda decides to tell her own version of her life and circumstances. The Facts Speak for Themselves is Linda’s story, an uncompromising look at a sexually-active adolescent adrift in a world where she is more responsible than the adults around her.

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Dancing on the Edge

Miracle McCloy has always known that there is something different about her: She was pulled from the womb of a dead woman–a “miracle” birth–and Gigi, her clairvoyant grandmother, expects Miracle to be a prodigy, much like Dane, the girl’s brooding novelist father. Having been raised according to a set of mystical rules and beliefs, Miracle is unable to cope in the real world. Lost in a desperate dance among lit candles, Miracle sets herself afire and is hospitalized. There Dr. DeAngelis, a young psychiatrist, helps her through her painful struggle to take charge of her life.

The Fields of Praise: New and Selected Poems

In The Fields of Praise, Marilyn Nelson claims as subjects the life of the spirit, the vicissitudes of love, and the African American experience since slavery and arranges them as pebbles marking our common journey toward a “monstrous love that wants to make the world right.”

Nelson is a poet of stunning power, able to bring alive the most rarified and subtle of experiences. A slave destined to become a minister preaches sermons of heartrending eloquence and wisdom to a mule. An old woman scrubbing over a washtub receives a personal revelation of what Emancipation means: “So this is freedom: the peace of hours like these.” Memories of the heroism of the Tuskegee Airmen in the face of aerial combat abroad and virulent racism at home bring a speaker to the sudden awareness of herself as the daughter “of a thousand proud fathers.”

Whether evoking spiritual longing or a return to the wedding at Cana, Nelson renders the interior landscape of all her speakers with absolute precision. This is a beautiful collection indeed, and readers will come away from The Fields of Praise with a reawakened appreciation for life’s minor miracles, one of them being the power of the word.

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Primate Behavior

Once in a generation a young poet arrives with such an unexpected and compelling vision that readers take notice right from the start. With Primate Behavior Sarah Lindsay makes just such a debut. Her exuberant, witty, and outrageous poems have already stunned and delighted the readers of some of America’s best magazines and journals. Primate Behavior is the product of a wild and exhilarating imagination, ranging wide across an abundant imaginary landscape. Sarah Lindsay writes of space migration and the cave paintings of 35,000 B.C. Her poems speak from the perspective of an embalmed mummy and detail the adventures of nineteenth century explorers. Lindsay investigates the world as no one has yet had the daring and inspiration to do, reanimating history and folk legend and setting in motion curious new worlds that speak eccentrically, but unmistakably, to their own. Primate Behavior is a remarkably sustained and self-assured performance. The Grove Press Poetry Series, which has brought the public both powerful retrospectives and the work of authors in mid-career, now introduces an exciting new poet, Sarah Lindsay. “Sarah Lindsay’s molten imagination burns new channels for poetry. No lie.” – Kay Ryan; “As a poet, Sarah Lindsay is fearless. Subjects others would find unpromising or intimidating she forms into poems of eerie, spectral beauty. Antarctic exploration, astronomical theory, the lungfish, the manatee, and the rotting orange-even Superman’s puberty!-all are transmuted from strange Idea into graceful Song. Primate Behavior is a must read.” – Fred Chappell.


In Frank Bidart’s collection of poems, the encounter with desire is the encounter with destiny. The first half contains some of Bidart’s most luminous and intimate work-poems about the art of writing, Eros, and the desolations and mirror of history (in a spectacular narrative based on Tacitus). The second half of the book exts the overt lyricism of the opening section into even more ambitious territory-“The Second Hour of the Night” may be Bidart’s most profound and complex meditation on the illusion of will, his most seductive dramatic poem to date.

Locusts at the Edge of Summer: New and Selected Poems

Interweaving more than two dozen new poems with original poems from four previous volumes, this collection presents the first full assessment of one of the most original and moving voices in contemporary poetry. Balaban’s poems reflect a courageous and eloquent search for a moral stance, requiring resolution not merely with the ambiguities of history, but with a deep sense of personal responsibility. The moral imperatives of his earliest poems (and translations from the Vietnamese) inform and clarify the poetry he has written in maturity – as husband, father, and citizen. As Melville and Whitman did in the nineteenth century for survivors of the Civil War, Balaban brings a distinctively elegiac, personal voice to speak for an age.