Accused of being a demon by those who could not tolerate her independence, Eleanor of Aquitaine made her mark as one of the most dynamic and extraordinary figures of the Middle Ages. Born in 1122, Eleanor refused to be confined by the traditional gender roles of her time. She became well educated, gaining political and governing know-how from her father, William X, duke of Aquitaine, and armed herself with the skills necessary to become an influential queen-first of France, and later, England. With an impact that reached beyond politics, Eleanor shaped the future of the arts and humanities. And in a time when women were viewed as inferior to men, the virtues of chivalry and courtly love were born. Once described by a contemporary as "a woman beyond compare," Eleanor of Aquitaine is a figure who will remain controversial, powerful, and enchanting in the twenty-first century.More info →
In this symphonically powerful and magnificently observed novel, Cather created one of the most winning heroines in American fiction, a woman whose calm, undemonstrative strength and robust high spirits make her emblematic of the virtues Cather most admired in her country. Ántonia Shimerda is the daughter of Bohemian immigrant parents struggling with the oceanic loneliness of life on the Nebraska prairie. Through the eyes of Jim Burden, her tutor and disappointed admirer, we follow Ántonia from farm to town as she survives hardships both natural and human, from poverty to a failed romance—and not only survives but triumphs.
Written in the style of a memoir, My Ántonia chronicles Jim Burden’s friendship with the daughter of a Czech immigrant family. Recently orphaned, he moves west to Nebraska to live with his grandparents. Riding the same train is the Shimerda family, who are also on their way to settle in the area. The Shimerdas have a difficult life as pioneers: living in a sod house, working the fields, and running out of food in the winter. Jim soon becomes smitten with Ántonia, the eldest daughter, as they grow up and explore the landscape around them together. Through his eyes, we see both how she shapes the land around her and is shaped by the rigors of poverty.
Similarly to Jim, Willa Cather spent her early years in Nebraska but most of her adult life in Eastern cities. She pays homage to her homeland with her Prairie Trilogy of novels: O Pioneers!, The Song of the Lark, and My Ántonia. They are tinged with her characteristic straightforward language, reverence for nature, and nostalgia, even as she acknowledges the hardships of the past.More info →
Janner Igiby, his brother, Tink, and their disabled sister, Leeli, are gifted children as all children are, loved well by a noble mother and ex-pirate grandfather. But they will need all their gifts and all that they love to survive the evil pursuit of the venomous Fangs of Dang, who have crossed the dark sea to rule the land with malice. The Igibys hold the secret to the lost legend and jewels of good King Wingfeather of the Shining Isle of Anniera.
Full of characters rich in heart, smarts, and courage, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness is a tale children of all ages will cherish, families can read aloud, and readers' groups are sure to enjoy discussing for its many layers of meaning.More info →
Janner, Tink, and Leeli Igiby thought they were normal children with normal lives and a normal past. But now they know they're really the Lost Jewels of Anniera, heirs to a legendary kingdom across the sea, and suddenly everyone wants to kill them.
In order to survive, the Igibys must flee to the safety of the Ice Prairies, where the lizardlike Fangs of Dang cannot follow. First, however, they have to escape the monsters of Glipwood Forest, the thieving Stranders of the East Ben, and the dreaded Fork Factory.
But even more dangerous are the jealousies and bitterness that threaten to tear them apart. Janner and his siblings must learn the hard way that the love of a family is more important than anything else.
Full of characters rich in heart, smarts, and courage, North! Or Be Eaten is a tale children of all ages will cherish, families can read aloud, and readers' groups are sure to enjoy discussing for its many layers of meaning.More info →