Home Alone Together

Home Alone Together

In Owl At Home, Arnold Lobel’s 1975 illustrated early reader, solitary Owl scolds winter for coming into his house. He is frightened by a creature under his covers, which turns out to be his feet. He makes himself cry in order to enjoy a pot of tear-water tea. He runs...
Secret Heroine

Secret Heroine

In E. L. Konigsburg’s From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, twelve-year-old Claudia Kincaid hatches a plan to run away from her home in Connecticut to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, taking along her money-grubbing younger brother,...
Real Girl

Real Girl

At the beginning of Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, eleven-year-old Margaret Simon and her family move from New York to New Jersey just before Labor Day. The story takes place over the school year. We see Margaret adjusting to a new classes and new...
Two-World Problem

Two-World Problem

At the beginning of Robin McKinley’s 1982 young adult fantasy novel The Blue Sword, Harry Crewes has been living in a colonial desert outpost after the death of her parents. The Homeland, where Harry is from, is a thinly disguised Victorian England. The lone Homeland...
Detective Stories

Detective Stories

I read Sad Cypress, one of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot novels, several times while I was in junior high. It was probably my favorite book featuring the dapper, egotistical, foreign (to the English) sleuth. In Agatha Christie’s 1940 murder mystery, young and...
Problematic Fave

Problematic Fave

Central to Anne Stuart’s 1991 contemporary Southern Gothic romance, The Night of the Phantom are kidnappings, violence, fanaticism, revenge. There’s also attempted suicide, ableism and perhaps appropriative and exploitative depictions of race. Frankly, I lost count of...

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