Shelf Awareness for Readers for Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Dutton: Sunderworld, Vol. I: The Extraordinary Disappointments of Leopold Berry by Ransom Riggs

From My Shelf

Start a New Series

I've always loved book series, in large part because they provide a built-in answer to the bookworm's eternal question, "What should I read next?" If you're looking to start a new series, here are a few suggestions for your consideration.

Sherry Thomas's Charlotte Holmes series offers a fresh take on the classic Sherlock Holmes character. Here, Sherlock Holmes is a cover story for Lady Charlotte Holmes, whose skills as a detective and keen observations of human behavior would be dismissed if the world of Victorian London realized she was, in fact, a woman. The first in the series, A Study in Scarlet Women (Berkley, $15), introduces Charlotte Holmes and a cast of other characters based on the classic stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; as the series continues, these characters find themselves embroiled in ever more complicated situations that test both the genius and humanity of Lady Holmes.

For the mystery lover, it's hard to imagine an easier-to-recommend series than Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache books. Set in a tiny town in Quebec, the series, beginning with Still Life (Minotaur, $17.99), is one-part cozy whodunit and one-part study of human nature. It's nearly impossible not to find oneself falling in love with the small village of Three Pines and its quirky inhabitants.

Ausma Zehanat Khan's mysteries are also set in Canada, though they are far from "cozy" mysteries; as Inspectors Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak, first introduced in The Unquiet Dead (Minotaur, $18.99), investigate murders and disappearances, Khan explores the long-fingered effects of worldwide political crises (such as anti-Muslim hate groups and the Syrian refugee crisis, to name a few). --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm

The Writer's Life

Sarah MacLean: Being More Than the World Allows

In Brazen and the Beast (Avon; reviewed below), the latest by Washington Post columnist and historical romance author Sara MacLean, Lady Henrietta Sedley has declared herself fed up and finished with London's marriage mart. But then she meets Whit, the beautiful man known as the Beast of Covent Garden, and all her plans go out the window. MacLean lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., with her family.

Why did you choose to set this series in Covent Garden and on the London docks?

I've written a number of books in more traditional historical romance settings-- ballrooms, country houses, men's clubs--so I won't discount the pleasure of writing a completely different world (though ballrooms have their place in this series, as well!). But truthfully, in the last few years, I've become more and more interested in writing the people who build worlds rather than the ones who simply live in them. London was built by men and women like those who lived and worked in Covent Garden. The world was made smaller by those men and women who worked the London Docklands. They didn't have titles, but they were nobles nonetheless, and I am so happy to be writing them.

The novel's heroine has self-image problems and is determined to claim independence and control of her life, while the hero has been deeply scarred by childhood abuse. Did you choose their backgrounds with the intent of making a statement about equality, strength and heroism?

I've never written a heroine who doesn't want control of her own destiny. I mean, isn't that a basic human desire? But all my books are iterating the world in which I'm writing, and right now, this one feels intensely modern to me--because Hattie's struggle to be more than the world allows is so real, as is Whit's core desire to keep the places and people he loves safe. This is a book about the kind of strength that makes a hero, about who gets to own the future and about people being stronger together--in love, in family, in community, in society.

Your bio states you started reading romance because your older sister read them and that you have wanted to write romance novels since you were a teenager. What appealed to you about those early books?

I've always had a love of adventure stories, and romance novels really are adventure novels... only with more smooching. What's not to love about that? That said, as I've grown, the appeal of romance has become about joy and love--we live in a world that too often seems to thrive on anger and hate, and so happily ever after sometimes feels like the most revolutionary act.

What aspects of England's Victorian and Regency periods inspired you to set your books during those eras?

I love writing in historical settings because I can play with the clear rules of society--what's accepted and not, who is accepted and not, and tell stories that reflect our modern world. The one thing you learn when you work in historical settings is how little the world really changes--for good or bad.

Can you share with our readers a bit about your writing process?

I have a really odd way of working on books. I can't start them until I know the last three chapters--what we call the "dark" moment (the point where the conflict is so heightened that it seems like nothing will work out) straight through the resolution of the story and the happily ever after (which is the ending of every romance novel).

Once I know those things, I start from the beginning and write in a straight shot, dumping any ideas that occur for future scenes in the book, dialogue, character tics, etc. right into the manuscript document. So, by the time I've written 200 pages of the novel, I might have another 30-40 pages that are a confusion of gibberish. It's a terrible process and I don't recommend it!

You write novels and a column for the Washington Post and have a young child, which must make for very busy days. Do you have any advice for writers juggling multiple commitments?

Prioritize the work. If you were a lawyer or an accountant or a teacher, no one would ever suggest that you should not go to work and instead, say, pick up the dry cleaning or get the oil changed in the car. When you are making time for writing, keep that time sacred. But also, don't worry about making large blocks of time. Commit to writing for 20 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour. Then, if you go over that time, it's a win. If you don't, don't sweat it! You've written! Most books get written in small bites. --Lois Faye Dyer, writer and reviewer

Book Candy

Best Baltimore Books

Author Laura Lippman picked her "top 10 books about Baltimore" for the Guardian.


Merriam-Webster explored "flexible words for your favorite foods."


A clay tablet discovered during an archaeological dig in Greece may be the oldest written record of Homer's The Odyssey, BBC News reported.


"Here's the 'Harry Potter' road trip every fan needs to do ASAP," Buzzfeed suggested.


Russia Today featured a selection of Ilya Repin's portraits of Leo Tolstoy, offering "a look at this creative symbiosis."


The Langston Hughes brownstone in Harlem won a historic preservation grant, Patch reported.

Great Reads

Rediscover: House Made of Dawn

In 1969, N. Scott Momaday won the Pulitzer Prize for his 1968 debut novel, House Made of Dawn, which is credited with sparking a Native American Renaissance in literature during the 1970s and beyond. Momaday is the son of a partial Cherokee mother and full-blooded Kiowa father. His parents spent much of Momaday's childhood teaching on reservations in Arizona and New Mexico, exposing him to Navajo, Apache and Pueblo cultures. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from Stanford in 1963. Following the success of House Made of Dawn, Momaday released The Way to Rainy Mountain (1969), which combines an oral history of the Kiowa people from their origins in ancient Montana to their forcible resettlement in Oklahoma with Momaday's modern musings on his ancestry. He has since written plays, poetry, essays, fiction and a memoir, The Names (1976).

House Made of Dawn was originally conceived as a series of poems set in Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico. The expanded novel follows World War II vet Abel, whose alcoholism and PTSD make his return to the reservation difficult. Abel ends up in prison, struggles to survive in Los Angeles and finally returns home to care for his dying grandfather. In December 2018, HarperCollins released a 50th-anniversary edition of House Made of Dawn with a new preface by Momaday ($15.99, 9780062909954). --Tobias Mutter

Book Review


The Chelsea Girls

by Fiona Davis

Fiona Davis (The Masterpiece) weaves a complex story of female friendship and conflicting loyalties, set against the glamour of New York City's iconic Chelsea Hotel, in her fourth novel, The Chelsea Girls. Growing up in the city, Hazel Ripley and her brother, Ben, are expected to follow in their actor father's footsteps, especially after he has a stroke that effectively ends his career. When Ben is killed in a plane crash in World War II, the burden of creative accomplishment falls solely on Hazel. Frustrated with her streak of understudy jobs and her mother's constant nagging, she signs up for a United Service Organizations tour and finds herself in Italy, suddenly thrust onstage in the company of several other young women. Hazel's friendship with fellow actress Maxine, and the experiences they share, will shape the next several decades of both their lives.

After returning from Italy, the women go their separate ways for several years. But when their paths cross again at the Chelsea in 1950, Hazel has written her first play, based on the wartime experiences she shared with Maxine. As Hazel struggles to get her play staged on Broadway, both women come up against the growing specter of McCarthyism and the insidious accusations plaguing the theater world.

Davis tells her story from both Hazel's and Maxine's perspectives, highlighting the contrasts between them. She expertly renders the period's climate of fear and intimidation, and the glitz and glamour of the Chelsea Hotel provides a perfect backdrop. Davis crafts both a sharp-eyed commentary on female friendship and a vivid glimpse into the life of a New York City icon. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Discover: Fiona Davis's fourth novel traces the complex friendship and Broadway dreams of two women during the McCarthy era.

Dutton, $27, hardcover, 368p., 9781524744588

The Lager Queen of Minnesota

by J. Ryan Stradal

Who is the Lager Queen of Minnesota? As J. Ryan Stradal's novel (another sensuous delight, following Kitchens of the Great Midwest) opens, Helen Calder seems the likely title-holder, since she "had her first beer when she was 15 years old, behind a shed with the Serrazin boys." That afternoon in 1959, her sister Edith, 20, watched from behind the screen door. "Her idea of fun was putting frosting on a bran muffin," Helen thought. The pragmatic sister accepts her adventurous sibling through the years--until Helen convinces their dad to will the farm to her and nothing to Edith. After all, Edith has her truck-driver husband, and Helen has a dream: she and her husband, heir to the declining Blotz beer company, would open a brewery, capturing the Minnesota beer market with Helen's own lager recipe.

Meanwhile, Edith's pies, created for her job at a New Stockholm nursing home, gain fame. The family gets by, and stoic Edith "didn't ever see the point of bellyaching about the things she couldn't change." But when her husband's health fails and Edith gets a job in a bakery, her world expands.

Stradal's storytelling spans the sisters' lives from 1959 to 2018, but not chronologically. The novel follows Helen and Edith, and eventually Edith's granddaughter Diana, who enters the story as a teen. Title chapters are dollar figures, from $5 to $1,020,000, amounts critical in characters' lives. The sisters' rift lasts decades, and the beer and pie passions evolve, with Stradal sharing a deep understanding of the brewing and business of craft beers. This satisfying, decades-long tale celebrates love, determination, forgiveness and a thirst for beer--maybe even Rhubarb Pie-in-a-Bottle Ale. --Cheryl Krocker McKeon, manager, Book Passage, San Francisco

Discover: J. Ryan Stradal's follow-up to Kitchens of the Great Midwest is a novel of beer and pie--and a Minnesota family's determination, discord and eventual hard-won peace.

Pamela Dorman/Viking, $26, hardcover, 368p., 9780399563058

We Love Anderson Cooper

by R.L. Maizes

Go ahead and add R.L. Maizes to any list of contemporary short story masters--We Love Anderson Cooper marks the debut of a major literary talent on a par with Lorrie Moore or George Saunders. With this heartfelt and witty collection, Maizes deserves a following equal to that of the real-life Anderson Cooper, the popular award-winning journalist and CNN news anchor.

Each of these 11 stories includes main characters regarded as outsiders within their family or society, and often to themselves. In "Tattoo," an unattractive artist's realistic nipple reconstructions for breast cancer survivors gain him an appreciative clientele. "Better Homes and Gardens" features a laid-off father working as a pizza delivery driver while secretly planning to leave his materialistic family. In "Collections," a woman written out of her longtime wealthy partner's will begins hounding her contractor's clients about overdue bills. Cats and birds substitute for human love in "A Cat Called Grievous," "The Infidelity of Judah Maccabee" and "No Shortage of Parakeets."  

Perhaps the most memorable offering is the title story. (If literary awards were given for best first lines, Maizes's brilliantly sharp opening paragraph would be a shoo-in.) Rather than recite a passage from Leviticus during his bar mitzvah, 13-year-old Markus Grunewald sees an opportunity (and potential Internet fame), and uses the occasion to come out as gay. "Why didn't you talk to us first?" his shell-shocked mother says after the stunning declaration. "We would have understood. We love Anderson Cooper."

After finishing this remarkable collection, devotees of short fiction will echo similar sentiments, proclaiming how much they love R.L. Maizes. --Melissa Firman, freelance writer at 

Discover: With wit and insight, this story collection marks the debut of a major literary talent.

Celadon Books, $25, hardcover, 176p., 9781250304070

Mystery & Thriller

The Escape Room

by Megan Goldin

The Escape Room's fictional Stanhope and Sons is a typical Wall Street investment banking firm: the hours are punishing, the pay is astronomical and loyalty is the law. As Sylvie, one of Stanhope's disillusioned highflyers, notes at one point, "I always thought the only way out of this team was in a box."

Or maybe in an elevator. As Megan Goldin's novel begins, Sylvie and three other Stanhope higher-ups are in the lobby of an unfamiliar building in the South Bronx, where each has been invited by HR to attend an unscheduled Friday-night meeting. Among the four invitees is their boss, Vincent, who has also received a text telling him to bring everyone to the 80th floor for some sort of team-building activity.

As soon as the four bankers enter the elevator, the doors shut and the car goes black before it starts to climb. When it stops, a monitor on the wall displays a message: "Welcome to the escape room. Your goal is simple. Get out alive."

In most of The Escape Room's odd-numbered chapters, a roving point of view reports the bankers' thoughts as they attempt to solve a half-dozen puzzles presented to them. Australian novelist Goldin's American debut is a shrewd, brilliantly structured thriller doubling as a takedown of corporate culture. While the four elevator captives initially appear to be types, especially philanderer Sam with his shopaholic wife, Goldin lavishes time on their stories, ultimately making them, if not entirely sympathetic, more than a quartet of Gordon Gekkos. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

Discover: This steely thriller, in which someone traps four Wall Street colleagues in an elevator, slathers on the suspense while making a point about corporate culture's depravity.

St. Martin's Press, $26.99, hardcover, 368p., 9781250219657

The Best of Manhunt

by Jeff Vorzimmer, editor

"Maybe some time in the pokey'll teach these young punks some respect for decent citizens."

Does that sound like a parody of hard-boiled crime-fiction dialogue? Actually, that line, from "Movie Night" by Robert Turner, was written six decades ago and published in the crime-fiction magazine Manhunt (1952-1967). For The Best of Manhunt, editor Jeff Vorzimmer has pulled together 39 gripping and pitiless tales in which the bad guys (and dolls) easily outnumber the good. And don't expect the good ones to win.

In Helen Nielsen's "A Piece of Ground," a country boy working in the city to save up for a house for his family begins what he thinks will be a consequence-free extramarital affair. In James E. Cronin's "The Man Who Found the Money," a teacher who gives the police the $92,000 he finds while enjoying a Las Vegas vacation is accused of skimming some by the bigwig who lost the dough. Like its pulpy newsstand neighbors, Manhunt was a rebuke to the quaint English-country-manor school of mystery writing. In his elucidating introduction, Vorzimmer notes that in their day, the tales of Manhunt "captured the noir of Cold War angst like no other fiction magazine of its time."

There are some household names on The Best of Manhunt's table of contents--Nelson Algren, Mickey Spillane--but most readers will be unfamiliar with the majority of its contributors. Forget some time in the pokey: maybe some time with this book'll teach young readers some respect for decent genre writers. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

Discover: The stories in this Manhunt magazine greatest-hits collection are dated--and that's a big part of their charm.

Stark House, $21.95, paperback, 392p., 9781944520687


Brazen and the Beast

by Sarah MacLean

Prolific historical romance author Sarah MacLean returns to 1837 Covent Garden and the London docks in Brazen and the Beast, the second book in the Bareknuckle Bastards series. When 29-year-old Lady Henrietta Sedley--Hattie to her friends--finds a bound, bruised, extremely handsome man in her carriage, she tosses him out, but not before kissing him. What she doesn't know is that she's just met--and impressed--the notorious Beast of Covent Garden.

The Beast, Saviour Whittington, believes Hattie knows the identity of the man who attacked him and stole his cargo of imported contraband. She does indeed know, but refuses to tell Whit because the man is her younger brother, who's in over his head with a business deal gone bad. They're at an impasse; Whit can't afford to let Hattie win, since the safety of his world in Covent Garden and on the docks is at risk. Unfortunately, Hattie has the same concerns for her father's beloved shipping company. They make a devil's bargain to join forces and are quickly caught up in danger, death threats and overwhelming attraction. The lady and the bastard shouldn't have anything in common, but they complement each other in ways neither expected. If they can stay alive, can they also find their way to a future together?

Brazen and the Beast is filled with lush sensuality, charming characters, witty dialogue and heart-stopping action--a tale that is certain to delight romance readers. --Lois Faye Dyer, writer and reviewer

Discover: A determined lady and a notorious bastard find love and adventure in 1837 London.

Avon, $7.99, mass market paperbound, 400p., 9780062692078

Graphic Books

We Are Here Forever

by Michelle Gish

It's the future, and humans are gone from the planet, leaving behind all of their things, a mystery and what might just be the cutest little aliens ever to grace the pages of a graphic novel. Resembling something between a cat, a cartoon sedan and a pig, the Puramus are smart and friendly. But where did they come from and how? Michelle Gish's We Are Here Forever tells the story of these adorable creatures as they develop culture, explore human artifacts and consider whether or not to go to war with each other.

In chapters with headings like "King" and "War," Gish gives the reader snapshots of the Puramus through time, from Year Zero through Year 628. The Puramus initially eat everything in sight, frolic through fields of flowers and live in peace. Then they begin to use and build with the remnants of human civilization--constructing shelves, selecting a monarch, trying war. Finally, they think in the abstract, developing ideas about art and home and the quest for knowledge.

Gish occasionally drops hints that not everything is as peaceful and happy as it appears, however, and the mystery of how the Puramus came to be the only species on the planet (except for birds) is solved in a chapter that takes place in "Year ???" The book is an interesting study of humanity from the perspective of peace-loving alien creatures, who ask things such as, "Why did they have so much stuff?" --Suzanne Krohn, editor, Love in Panels

Discover: With humor and a bit of mystery, We Are Here Forever follows adorable purple creatures exploring Earth and human artifacts after humanity has disappeared.

Quirk Books, $14.99, paperback, 224p., 9781683691204

Biography & Memoir

Finding Zsa Zsa: The Gabors Behind the Legend

by Sam Staggs

In his rollicking and gossip-filled biography of the Gabors (sisters Zsa Zsa, Eva, Magda and mother Jolie), entertainment biographer Staggs (All About "All About Eve") immediately dispels the cliché that they were famous only for being famous. "They worked at their careers, every hour and every day for close to a century," he writes. "Under the frills they were strong, courageous women ahead of their time." They also approached romance and matrimony with a fervor. Zsa Zsa married nine times (her eighth lasted just one day), Magda six and bisexual Eva five times.

As in life, the flamboyant, witty and bipolar Zsa Zsa continuously steals the spotlight in this biography with nonstop marriages, affairs and feuds. Without a good maternal role model (Staggs writes that Jolie "blended the talents of prison matron with mother love"), unsurprisingly, Zsa Zsa had an estranged relationship with her daughter, Francesca (who joked, "My mother and I get along great now that we're the same age"). Zsa Zsa's final marriage (to Prince Frederic von Anhalt) lasted two decades, although her daughter claimed the marriage was unconsummated. According to Staggs, her final years "resembled a Danielle Steel novel or a bad TV drama," with Anhalt isolating her from friends and family for his financial gain.

Staggs creates an engaging and fascinating family saga filled with fresh insights from newly conducted interviews. He also corrects lore spread through fanciful memoirs written by all four Gabors. This is a big, irresistible beach read, perfect for fans of The Real Housewives and Keeping Up with the Kardashians. --Kevin Howell, independent reviewer and marketing consultant

Discover: Sam Staggs's delicious gossip-fest gives the Gabor sisters respect while also enjoying their outrageous tabloid antics and love affairs.

Kensington, $26, hardcover, 432p., 9781496719591

Political Science

Black Site: The CIA in the Post-9/11 World

by Philip Mudd

The CIA's "enhanced interrogation" program in the aftermath of 9/11 has been rightfully condemned for using torture to extract information of dubious value from high-ranking al-Qaeda captives. The 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture excoriated the agency for subjecting detainees to waterboarding, sleep deprivation, hypothermia, stress positions, slapping and nudity, for lying about the program to policymakers and for exercising poor oversight--all for scant actionable information. Those who ran the Program, as it was known in the CIA, disagree with that assessment.

Philip Mudd (The HEAD Game) is the former deputy director of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center and the FBI's National Security Branch. In Black Site: The CIA in the Post-9/11 World, Mudd gives an account of the Program from inside the agency, including interviews with dozens of CIA employees (most of whom remain anonymous). Mudd emphasizes the countrywide panic immediately after September 11. With another wave of terror attacks expected any day, the CIA was given a blank check to pursue al-Qaeda worldwide. Soon the CIA found itself with detainees who presumably had knowledge of the terror group's inner workings. Using legal memos from the Department of Justice as justification, the agency developed an "enhanced interrogation" program that grew from a single black site in Thailand to a global network of secret prisons. Though Black Site sometimes uses legal jargon to obfuscate the ethical lapses of the CIA, it presents a fascinating chronology of the Program's genesis and how its perpetrators felt about their actions. --Tobias Mutter, freelance reviewer

Discover: Black Site offers an insider's account of the CIA's post-9/11 torture program.

Liveright, $27.95, hardcover, 272p., 9781631491979


Don't Wait Up: Confessions of a Stay-at-Work Mom

by Liz Astrof

Liz Astrof is an executive producer and sitcom writer, plying her trade on several hit shows (The King of Queens; 2 Broke Girls), so it's no surprise she has an exceptionally funny and charismatic voice. Sadly, Astrof's history also lends credence to the theory that great comedy has its roots in tragedy.

Astrof doesn't mine devastation just for laughs. Her candid essays in Don't Wait Up address life's ordeals with acerbic wit, but never reduce her experiences to a laugh track. The humor is there to break the emotional fall, as the pieces run the gamut from farcical--when her family takes on a pet turtle ("The Year of the Turtle")--to mind-bogglingly horrific. 

In "Happy New Year," Astrof discovers she had a twin who died in utero. That unbearable notion created a moment of sympathy for her mother, a "hateful, filthy, horrible witch of a woman," only to have her father explain, "Your mother's problem wasn't that your sister died.... Her problem was that you lived." 

Whether overtly or latently comical, each essay finds her mother's scarring impact lying in wait, fostering Astrof's "stay-at-work mom" mentality. A demanding career means Astrof doesn't "have to be home for a lot of the bad shit like homework and dinnertime." Jokes aside, she's terrified of messing up her kids. Her writing evidences a deep love and humanity, however squirm-inducing and disconcerting the journey. Written with a sharp pen and an open heart, Astrof's work is heartbreakingly poignant and funny as hell. --Lauren O'Brien of Malcolm Avenue Review

Discover: Essays from television writer Liz Astrof reveal humorous and challenging aspects of her family and career as influenced by her monstrous mother.

Gallery Books, $27, hardcover, 320p., 9781982106959

Children's & Young Adult

For Black Girls Like Me

by Mariama J. Lockington

Mariama J. Lockington's debut, For Black Girls Like Me, is composed of brief chapters and poems that highlight the growing pains 11-year-old Keda experiences because of a big family move.

Born in Atlanta, Ga., African American Keda was adopted at six months by two white, classical musicians from Baltimore. Now, Papa has become principal cellist of the New Mexico Symphony and the whole family has to move across the country. Keda must leave behind best friend Lena--"the only other girl I know who is like me. An adopted mismatched girl"--and start at a new school in the middle of the year. Constant micro and macro aggressions from her sister, mother, classmates and others leave Keda feeling alienated and alone. The transition also exposes weaknesses in Keda's family. Mama's erratic behavior combined with the growing distance between Keda and her 14-year-old sister, Eve, are catalysts for combustion when a racially charged incident occurs at Keda's new school.

Intentional, candid scenes are beautifully paired with considerable internal reflection. Keda longs for "a mother who sees" her and understands the ins and outs of her complicated placement in the world. Poignant chapters explore Keda's frustration with her mother's inability to gently, lovingly groom Keda's "difficult" hair and depict her hoping her family will show more consideration to her nuanced position as a black girl in their white family. Lockington's focused imagery and impressively balanced rhythm between prose and poetry share the perspective of a black girl trying to find a place in her community and in her family. --Breanna J. McDaniel, freelance reviewer

Discover: Lockington's middle-grade debut is a loving tribute to the social experiences of transracially adopted black girls.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux , $16.99, hardcover, 336p., ages 9-11, 9780374308049

An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States for Young People

by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Jean Mendoza, Debbie Reese

Curriculum specialists Debbie Reese and Jean Mendoza have adapted Indigenous human rights activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz's acclaimed academic text An Indigenous People's History of the United States for young readers. This history of North America's native tribal nations rebuts popular cultural beliefs and offers school-aged children a different perspective on the colonization of what became known as the United States.

An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States for Young People spans centuries of resistance by the more than 500 federally recognized nations in the U.S. Even though the authors cover vast numbers of people and a long period of time, this account of the country's evolution remains gripping, tightly written and packed with facts traditional textbooks and historical accounts neglect to cover. Reese and Mendoza provide innovative opportunities for important reflection on the material. Sidebars encourage readers to analyze the ideas, apply them to their own lives and empathize with the people they are learning about. There are also clever suggestions for activities that apply the content to young readers' experiences, such as asking them to revise the musical Hamilton to include Indigenous characters. Maps, illustrations and photographs offer more ways to interact with the text, and a list at the conclusion suggests further readings.

While the Indigenous peoples of the North American continent suffered mightily at the hands of Europeans, Dunbar-Ortiz's bold work illustrates that their resilience and determination prevented the interlopers from the ultimate goal of extermination: "It is breathtaking, but no miracle, that they have survived as peoples." Thanks to Dunbar-Ortiz, Mendoza and Reese's work, old and young readers alike now have the benefit of a more complete understanding of part of the dark history of the United States. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

Discover: This adaptation for young readers reveals the history of the United States from the perspective of its original, Indigenous inhabitants.

Beacon Press, $18.95, paperback, 272p., ages 12-up, 9780807049396

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