Saturday, April 21, 2007

Magnifico by Victoria Miles

Could life get more embarrassing?Mariangela longs to play the piano; but when her Italian immigrant family arranges for accordion lessons instead, she can’t contain her disappointment. Who wants to be strapped to such a heavy, ugly old thing? But before she knows it, a mortified Mariangela is dragging the old accordion in a red wagon through the streets of Vancouver to her lessons. Try as she might, Mariangela can’t get the accordion to sing for her. Even her accordion teacher, whose two missing fingers and handsome looks fascinate her, cannot find a way to inspire his pupil. But he can tell stories, and through his own sometimes harrowing experiences, Mariangela gradually comes to understand both her family’s determination to start life in a new country and her own capacity to persevere.Author Victoria Miles drew from her mother’s own misadventures with the accordion to create a rich tapestry of Italian immigrant life in Vancouver during the thirties. Funny, sad, and ultimately inspiring, Magnifico is a coming of age story that will stay with the reader for a very long time.

Messenger by Virginia Frances Schwartz

Born only a week after the tragic death of her father, Frances Chopp grows up believing that she was sent to earth as her father's messenger to pull her mother out of her grief. And in the years that follow, Frances tries to make sense of the hard times that have struck her immigrant family, even as she struggles to understand the puzzle of her family's past.Set in the mining and steel towns of Southern Ontario in the years between the wars. Messenger is a moving story of familial love and the determination to survive.Reviews: "Messenger is a wonderful story well told. Aimed at readers aged 12 and up, this is the very best kind of book for children: a real novel with a real story beautifully told." -- January MagazineVirginia Frances Schwartz is the author of three historical novels, including Messenger and Send One Angel Down, an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults and winner of a Parent's Choice Gold Award. Born in Ontario, Canada, Virginia now lives in New York City, where she teaches writing to elementary school children.

Send One Angel Down by Virginia Frances Schwartz

An American Library Association Best Book for Young AdultsWinner of a Parent's Choice Gold AwardAbram know only slavery, but from the moment he holds his baby cousin in his arms, he is determined to protect her from the harsh realities of life on the plantation. As she grows, however, Eliza cannot escape notice. Her fair skin and blue eyes invite the hatred of the master's daughters, and the young slave's fate seems all but assured. Abram knows that freedom appears impossible, but somewhere - through the scorching heat and the overseer's whip - lies hope.Reviews: ". . . profoundly moving. . . " -- BooklistVirginia Frances Schwartz is the author of three historical novels, as well as The Sower of Tales, a 2006 Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award and winner of a 2005 Jane Addams Children's Book Award. Born in Ontario, Canada, Virginia now lives in New York City, where she teaches writing to elementary school children.

Wings of Evil by Cora Taylor

On wings of evil, a dark power hovers...In this sequel to On Wings of a Dragon, a chill wind is blowing through the skies of the flying ones, and once again the dragon Api’Naga and his companion Kour’el are on a mission: to find the source of the evil that is disturbing their land. Their search will take them back to the island home of Maighdlin - once a simple village girl, now a queen - and to places where they experienced their greatest suffering.And they are not the only ones with unfinished business. Princess Paloma, one of the dead queen Mariah’s banished daughters, has been seen in the Dargon Courtyard, and when Maighdlin and her loyal guardsmen, Brede and Talon, follow her trail, it takes them through the tunnel to the Tower, that brooding edifice that has held so many secret prisoners. There, they are launched into fresh horrors. Queen Mariah - or something like her - has returned; and behind her hovers a force greater and more evil than any of them - dragon or human - has ever seen.

Blue Highway by Diane Tulson

Truth and Skye are just like all their high-school friends. They love to drive cars, they love to party, and they booze it up whenever they can. And when the two girls find summer jobs at the local pizza shop, they see no reason to change their habits. They befriend Vale, a co-worker who is grateful for their attention. But the two really only have eyes for Vale's car, which she will get as soon as she passes her driving exam. Cars mean freedom - freedom to go where they want and do what they please.Truth doesn't know why, but she can't seem to get what she really wants. And she wants Ryan, the seriously handsome guy who works at the pizza oven. Truth's reckless behavior does catch his attention, but not in a good way. And as the summer progresses, Truth watches herself gradually lose control in a series of self-destructive acts. One day she'll be able to stop but will that day come too late?