Moonbird, A Year on the Wind With the Great Survivor B95 by Phillip Hoose; Farrar Straus Giroux, 135 pages ($21.99). Ages 10 and up.
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This beautifully written, thrilling true story tells of a wonder among birds, rufa red knot B95, who has lived 20 years and whose annual migration covers more than 9,000 miles, from the tip of South America to the Canadian Arctic and back again. Scientists call him the Moonbird because B95 has covered the distance to the moon and halfway back. Hoose, who won the National Book Award for "Claudette Colvin" and wrote acclaimed nonfiction books "The Race to Save the Lord God Bird" and "We Were There, Too," documents the wondrous biology of this superstar athlete and the threat to the species posed to its migratory stopover places by human activity. (During B95's lifetime the worldwide rufa population has dropped by nearly 80 percent, blamed on threats from humans riding all-terrain vehicles on beaches, fishermen depleting the horseshoe crab population.) This is also a fascinating examination of how scientists work, with profiles of wildlife biologists who took dangerous plane rides in the far north to find the rufa migratory feeding spots and colorful accounts of the painstaking efforts, using armies of volunteers, shooting nets from cannons to safely trap and band the birds before releasing them back into the wild. The book includes maps, photos and an appendix on "what you can do" to protect shorebirds. Online resources include a Parks Canada curriculum for high school students
– Jean Westmoore
Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies by Ben Macintyre; Crown, 416 pages ($26)
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"Double Cross" is a more somber book than the other two in Ben Macintyre's trilogy because it portrays a deception with supremely high stakes — had the elaborate game detailed in "Double Cross" been discovered, it could have led to a catastrophic Allied defeat on the beaches of Normandy.
Relatively early in the war, the British cracked the German secret wireless code and spent the rest of the conflict secretly monitoring German wireless intelligence. Not so well known is the fact that, early on, the Brits located every German agent sent to England to spy and either jailed, executed or turned them into double agents."Double Cross" suffers from the usual hazards of group biography — at times it's hard to track who's doing what. But mostly it's a tale of personal courage and — even knowing what happened on June 6, 1944 — suspense.
– McClatchy Newspapers
A Cupboard Full of Coatsby Yvvette Edwards; Amistad, 272 pages ($14.99)
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Set among London's Caribbean immigrants, Yvvette Edwards' first novel is the backward-looking story of a battered woman and three people who played a role in her death: the two men who loved her and the daughter — appropriately named Jinx and now 30 — who has spent much of the ensuing 14 years hating her.
Jinx is divorced and estranged from her 4-year-old son, who lives with his father and is afraid of her. Things quickly change after she finds 50-something Lemon one day on the doorstep. Friend to Jinx's mother, Lemon is best friend to Berris, the man jailed for her murder. Jinx lets Lemon in — along with all the baggage from the past she has tried so hard to bury. Lemon helps her unpack it, intermittently taking charge of a story that he and Jinx unravel together, in deftly interwoven first-person accounts.
The novel, which made the long list for last year's Man Booker Prize, is both grounded in the everyday and able to transcend it, offering broadly applicable and spot-on psychological insights.– McClatchy Newspapers