This arresting work doesn’t answer the question of whether Lizzie Borden killed her father and stepmother in Fall River, Massachusetts, in 1892, because there isn’t enough factual information to support a definitive response. Instead, it lays out the evidence and arguments used by both Lizzie’s prosecutors and her defense team.
Four wordless page spreads showing a mother and child making their way home in the winter dark start this cozy offering. Once they arrive, it’s time for the mom to get ready for her job as a pilot. The thought of her leaving, it is clear, leaves the child bereft. “In the deep, woolen dark, / ” begins the narrative, “as we slumber unknowing, / let the sky fill with flurry and flight.” Snow has started falling.
“…one day the war took my father.” A young child describes a family’s journey to escape their homeland, which has become a war zone. The potent, matter-of-fact narrative becomes even more powerful set against striking illustrations that are stylized, beautiful, and harrowing. The mother does everything possible to reassure and protect her children as they travel, much of this conveyed through small yet critical details in the art.
Born in 1815, Ada Lovelace was the daughter of a poet father (Lord Byron) and a mother (Lady Byron) who nurtured her curiosity in math, science and technology. Ada loved both the arts and sciences. When her friend Charles Babbage asked for Ada’s help in explaining what the “Analytical Engine” he designed could do if it were built, Ada “had the vision to see, better even than Babbage himself, how much more a computer could do besides just processing numbers.”
Jane Gray’s short time as Queen of England (9 days in 1553) is reimagined as lighthearted blend of alternate history and fantasy. In 16th-century England, Edians, humans with the ability to transform into animals, are held in contempt by non-magical Verities, who want to purge England of magic. The resulting suspicion, animosity, and intrigue stands in for Protestant/Catholic religious hostilities of the time.
A small girl wakes up in the night to the soft sound of falling snow. “Pit, pit pit against the window. Glistening, floating in the night.” She puts on warm clothes, walks outside, and begins rolling the snow into a ball. With her puppy following, she rolls the snowball out the yard, into the street, and through the darkened town.
Elwyn Brooks (E. B.) White, known to family and friends from early adulthood on as Andy, was shy and often anxious throughout his life. But with a pen in his hand, or a typewriter in front of him, he was entertaining and eloquent. Readers who know him as the author of Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web, and The Trumpet of the Swan will relish the stories here about those books.
As young adults in Nazi Germany in the 1930s, Hans Scholl joined the Hitler Youth, his sister Sophie the League of German Girls. They quickly became disillusioned. The White Rose Movement grew out of gatherings of Hans and a few friends in Munich in the early 1940s. As soon as Sophie knew Hans was behind the first White Rose flyer in 1942, encouraging Germans to resist fascism “before it’s too late,” she demanded to be part of the work. The Movement’s weapons were words: flyers written and printed in secret, distributed with great planning and care.
“Tina was a very curious cow. She had a thirst for discovery.” But forging a nontraditional path has its naysayers. Tina’s three sisters meet her dreams with a constant refrain: “IMPOSSIBLE! RIDICULOUS! NONSENSE!” They say it when she imagines flying in a rocket ship, and they certainly say it when Tina tells her sisters about the friendly, flying dragon she’s met. Still, when Tina isn’t at breakfast the next morning they go in search of her, venturing beyond their farm for the first time.
Three children on the run become determined to save Jewish texts from the flames of the Inquisition in this riveting, richly detailed story set in thirteenth-century France. Jeanne is a peasant who has visions and has fled her village pursued by Church representatives. William, son of a nobleman and a north African Muslim woman, is a monk in training. Extraordinarily strong, he’s been tasked with carrying a satchel of books to the monastery of St. Denis as punishment for disobedience. Jacob is Jewish and has unusual gifts as a healer, but he is helpless when Christian boys on a rampage burn his village.