Written for anyone who cares about preschool education in this country, The Importance of Being Little: What Preschoolers Really Need from Grownups offers terrific insights into the world of children—the delight of imaginative play, the allure of nature, the power of emotion.
Much has been made lately of the so-called (and very popular) “meta” trend in picture books, which feature intrusive narrators who acknowledge that the action is happening in . . . well, a book. Snappsy the Alligator is one such story, and it’s likely that, when 2016 is over, we’ll look back on it as one of the funniest picture books of the year. It definitely kicks off 2016 in high spirits.
On a hot summer night in 2009 in Seattle, a 23-year-old man crept through the bathroom window of the home of 39-year-old Teresa Butz and her partner, 36-year-old Jennifer Hopper. The pair awoke to find the stranger standing over their beds with a knife; he proceeded to rape and stab the women repeatedly.
At 18 years old, Lady Helen Wrexhall is poised and polished, if a bit too spirited. She’s ready to overcome her late mother’s traitorous legacy and make her debut presentation in the court of King George III. That is, until sinister Lord Carlston appears and introduces Helen to the darker side of Regency London and the demons that lurk in the shadows.
Unlike most 12-year-olds who face being uprooted, Jeremiah is excited to move. Hillcrest, Ohio, has one of the best high-school baseball teams in the country, with a state-of-the-art field and a town full of fans. Baseball is especially important to Jeremiah following his heart transplant. Since he can no longer play, Jeremiah must stay on the sidelines and work on his new dream of becoming a coach.
Three American women become ensconced in the cultural mélange of Hong Kong’s expat community in Janice Y.K. Lee’s absorbing, character-driven novel, following 2009’s The Piano Teacher. The author, who was born and raised in Hong Kong, opens her novel with a spot-on description of that sprawling city’s expat contingent—the Chinese, Irish, French, Koreans and Americans—“a veritable UN of fortune-seekers.” They have come for their jobs, or their husbands’ jobs; for six months, a year, maybe three years or more. And they have no idea what to expect from their temporary new home.
As senior year draws to a close and college looms, Andrew finds himself very much alone. He’s lost his two best friends to a car crash, and his parents are more distracted than ever following his football star brother’s return. Andrew is left with nothing but his obsessive crush on Laura, the prettiest girl in school. But as he begins spending more time with Laura and her fundamentalist Christian youth group, he starts to question everything he’d once held true.
In novels like Year of Wonders, People of the Book and the Pulitzer Prize-winning March, Geraldine Brooks has demonstrated an ability to transform history into compelling, distinctive fiction. That talent is undiminished in The Secret Chord, a vivid re-creation of the life of King David.
Now that anyone with a Facebook page and an opinion can be a political pundit, it’s hard to believe there was a time—and not that long ago—when a newspaper columnist could wield real political power. Mary McGrory did for nearly half a century.
Throughout the politically charged 1970s, Ror’s father had been slowly going crazy. Raging against “the man,” he insisted that his family squat on secluded Staten Island property and avoid contact with “normals.” Ror, a gifted artist, was able to live with her Dado in relative peace, trusting his vision of the world. This abruptly ends the night Dado sets a fire and burns their home to the ground.