No Pretty Pictures: A Child of War

Anita Lobel was barely five years old when World War II began and the Nazis burst into her home in Kraków, Poland. Her life changed forever. She spent her childhood in hiding with her brother and their nanny, moving from countryside to ghetto to convent—where the Nazis finally caught up with them.

Since coming to the United States as a teenager, Anita has spent her life making pictures. She has never gone back. She has never looked back. Until now.

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key

“They say I’m wired bad, or wired sad, but there’s no doubt about it—I’m wired.”

Joey Pigza’s got heart, he’s got a mom who loves him, and he’s got “dud meds,” which is what he calls the Ritalin pills that are supposed to even out his wild mood swings. Sometimes Joey makes bad choices. He learns the hard way that he shouldn’t stick his finger in the pencil sharpener, or swallow his house key, or run with scissors. Joey ends up bouncing around a lot – and eventually he bounces himself all the way downtown, into the district special-ed program, which could be the end of the line. As Joey knows, if he keeps making bad choices, he could just fall between the cracks for good. But he is determined not to let that happen.

In this antic yet poignant new novel, Jack Gantos has perfect pitch in capturing the humor, the off-the-wall intensity, and the serious challenges that life presents to a kid dealing with hyper-activity and related disorders.

The Secret Life of Amanda K. Woods

Amanda Woods is discovering that there are some things in life you just can’t change, like who your parents are or how your older sister treats you, but she is determined to change what she can. To begin with, she’s not going to be just plain Amanda Woods (the girl her mother seems to think is just average). She’s going to be Amanda K. Woods-someone who is proud and strong and sure of herself, someone who can have a French pen pal and a best friend of her own choosing, someone who finds four-leaf clovers and can get perfect scores on her math homework. There is more to Amanda than anyone else can see, things about her that Amanda herself doesn’t even know yet, but she’s finding out. In The Secret Life of Amanda K. Woods, her first novel for older children, Ann Cameron presents a heroine who is philosophical and honest as only a twelve-year-old can be.

Holes

This winner of the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award features Stanley Yelnats, a kid who is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnats. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the warden makes the boys “build character” by spending all day, every day, digging holes five feet wide and five feet deep. It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake: the warden is looking for something. Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption.

 

From the Devotions

With From the Devotions, Carl Phillips takes us even further into that dangerous space he has already made his own, where body and soul–ever restless–come explosively together. Speaking to a balance between decorum and pain, he offers here a devotional poetry that argues for faith, even without the comforting gods or the organized structures of revealed truth. Neither sage nor saint nor prophet, the poet is the listener, the mourner, the one who has some access to the maddening quarters of human consciousness, the wry Sibyl. From the Devotions is deeply felt, highly intelligent, and unsentimental, and cements Phillips’s reputation as a poet of enormous talent and depth.

Carnival Evening: New and Selected Poems 1968-1998

This volume brings together new work along with poems gathered from nine previous collections. When Linda Pastan’s first book was published in 1971, theJerusalem Post wrote, she “in large measure fulfilled Emerson’s dream — the revelation of ‘the miraculous in the common.’ ” Since then Pastan has continued to explore the complexities, passion, and dangers under the surfaces of ordinary life. “Some critics point to Emily Dickinson when citing Pastan’s lapidary style and metaphysical wit, a comparison that does justice to either poet when Pastan is at her best.” — Gettysburg Review  “Pastan’s unfailing mastery of her medium holds the darkness firmly in check.” — New York Times Book ReviewNational Book Award finalist  Linda Pastan was Poet Laureate of Maryland from 1991 to 1993.

The Little Space: Poems Selected and New, 1968-1998

In this selection of poems from thirty years of a distinguished writing career, we see the growth of a poet’s mind, heart, and spirit as Ostriker struggles to love “this wounded / World that we cannot heal, that is our bride.” Whether she probes the meaning of childhood, family, marriage, and motherhood, or art, history, politics, and God; whether she is celebrating sexuality or confronting mortality, the poet includes “whatever I can grasp of human experience within my art—the good and beautiful, the evil and chaotic. I tell my students that they must write what they are afraid to write; and I attempt to do so myself.”

The Art of the Lathe

B.H. Fairchild’s The Art of the Lathe is a collection of poems centering on the working-class world of the Midwest, the isolations of small-town life, and the possibilities and occasions of beauty and grace among the machine shops and oil fields of rural Kansa