Karen Romano Young
writer • artist • deep-sea diver • polar explorer •comics creator
My new book ANTARCTICA:
THE MELTING CONTINENT, with
illustrations by Angela Hsieh, was named to Bank Street College of Education's list of Best Books for Children AND is aNational Science Teachers Association Outstanding Science Trade Book for 2023!
Amazon Best Book of January 2020!
A Girl, a Raccoon, and
the Midnight Moon
A New York City library branch has been designated for possible closure yet the bookish, socially awkward Pearl, the daughter of the librarian, can't imagine a world without the library. When the head of their Edna St. Vincent Millay statue goes missing, closure is closer than ever. But Pearl is determined to save the library. And with a ragtag neighborhood library crew—including a constantly tap-dancing girl, an older boy she has a crush on, and a pack of literate raccoons—she just might be able to do it.
ISBN 10: 1452169527
"I adore A GIRL, A RACCOON, AND THE MIDNIGHT MOON-- a tale bursting with charm, lovable characters, and excitement that builds and builds until I almost exploded. . . . It's a paean of praise to books, reading, librarians, and the preciousness of home, wherever home may be. I could go on and on, but read it yourself!" —Gail Carson Levine, bestselling author of Ella Enchanted
“A love letter to libraries, A GIRL, A RACCOON, AND THE MIDNIGHT MOON comes complete with intriguing sidebars, a clever plot, and a charming surprise narrator. Big-hearted and dazzling, this classic-in-the-making is not to be missed.” —Katherine Applegate, Newbery Award–winning author of The One and Only Ivan and Wishtree
"This is the way Pearl's world ends: not with a bang but with a scream. Pearl Moran was born in the Lancaster Avenue branch library and considers it more her home than the apartment she shares with her mother, the circulation librarian. When the head of the library's beloved statue of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay is found to be missing, Pearl's scream brings the entire neighborhood running. Thus ensues an enchanting plunge into the underbelly of a failing library and a city brimful of secrets. With the help of friends old, uncertainly developing, and new, Pearl must spin story after compelling story in hopes of saving what she loves most. Indeed, that love—of libraries, of books, and most of all of stories—suffuses the entire narrative. Literary references are peppered throughout (clarified with somewhat superfluous footnotes) in addition to a variety of tangential sidebars (the identity of whose writer becomes delightfully clear later on). Pearl is an odd but genuine narrator, possessed of a complex and emotional inner voice warring with a stridently stubborn outer one. An array of endearing supporting characters, coupled with a plot both grounded in stressful reality and uplifted by urban fantasy, lend the story its charm. Both the neighborhood and the library staff are robustly diverse. Pearl herself is biracial; her "long-gone father" was black and her mother is white. Bagley's spot illustrations both reinforce this and add gentle humor. The magic of reading is given a refreshingly real twist. (reading list)(Fantasy. 10-12) -- Kirkus Reviews
Born in the Lancaster Avenue branch of the New York City Public Library to a circulation librarian, 10-year-old Pearl is well-known to its staff, and loves books, her neighborhood, and the library’s garden statue of Edna St. Vincent Millay. When the statue’s head disappears, Pearl’s scream brings the entire neighborhood running. The head’s theft makes the paper and draws developers to the underresourced library, which needs repairs that the city refuses to finance. As the library loses importance as a “neighborhood hub,” Pearl and her mother aim to save it. Neighbors and library regulars rally to help, as does Francine, the neighborhood new girl who slowly shows Pearl the power of friendship. But it’s the raccoons living in the basement, who publish a newspaper and ally with Pearl, who help her in her quest. Part mystery, part coming-of-age journey, Young’s (Hundred Percent) story interweaves realistically flawed, fully formed characters with real-world issues (declining library attendance and homelessness) and fantastical elements. Sidebars (“A Sidebar About Legends”) penned by a mysterious author and signature illustrations by Bagley offer charming details. Ages 10–14.
-- Publishers Weekly
"Upper elementary readers who like magical realism will enjoy this novel, as will younger readers at high reading levels. A strong addition to the fiction section." -- School Library Journal
"Kicking off this literary whodunit is a piercing scream, which can be traced to 10-year-old Pearl upon her discovery that the library’s beloved Edna St. Vincent Millay statue is missing its head. This act of vandalism serves as the catalyst for a number of events that subsequently transpire in Pearl’s New York City neighborhood." -- Booklist