GRADES 9, 10 &11 BOOKCLUB
Year at a glance
1860, Louisiana. After serving as mistress of Le Petit Cottage for more than six decades, Madame Sylvie Guilbert has decided, in spite of her family’s objections, to sit for a portrait.
While Madame plots her last hurrah, stories that span generations—from the big house to out in the fields—of routine horrors, secrets buried as deep as the family fortune, and the tangled bonds of descendants and enslaved, come to light to reveal a true portrait of the Guilberts.
They call themselves “Captains of the Sands,” a gang of orphans and runaways who live by their wits and daring in the torrid slums and sleazy back alleys of Bahia. Led by fifteen-year-old “Bullet,” the band—including a crafty liar named “Legless,” the intellectual “Professor,” and the sexually precocious “Cat”—pulls off heists and escapades against the right and privileged of Brazil. But when a public outcry demands the capture of the “little criminals,” the fate of these children becomes a poignant, intensely moving drama of love and freedom in a shackled land.
In Just Kids, Patti Smith’s first book of prose, the legendary American artist offers a never-before-seen glimpse of her remarkable relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies. An honest and moving story of youth and friendship, Smith brings the same unique, lyrical quality to Just Kids as she has to the rest of her formidable body of work—from her influential 1975 album Horses to her visual art and poetry.
In 1850s Ireland a village is baffled by young Anna O’Donnell’s fast. The girl appears to be thriving after months without food, and the story of this “wonder” has reached fever pitch. Tourists flock to the O’Donnell family’s cabin, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensational story. Enter Lib, an English nurse trained by Florence Nightingale, who is hired to keep watch over Anna for two weeks to determine whether or not the girl is a fraud. As Anna deteriorates, Lib finds herself responsible not just for the care of a child, but for getting to the root of why the girl may actually be the victim of murder in slow motion.
Under an engulfing blanket of snow, Craig and Raina fall in love at winter church camp, revealing to one another their struggles with faith and their dreams of escape. Over time though, their personal demons resurface and their relationship falls apart. It's a universal story, and Thompson's vibrant brushstrokes and unique page designs make the familiar heartbreaking all over again.
The Book Jackets will have the unique opportunity to workshop Aaron Rabinowitz's newest manuscript and share their thoughts directly with the author himself.