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JEANNE DuPRAU is the New York Times bestselling author of the City of Ember books, which have been translated into multiple languages and are a time-honored staple in elementary school classrooms. She also wrote Escape the Vortex, part of the multiplatform sci-fi adventure series Voyagers. Visit her website at jeanneduprau.com.
Gr 5-8-In a post Disaster world, The People of Sparks (Random, 2004) are overwhelmed when 400 refugees from the underground city of Ember arrive in their town. Initially, the inhabitants of Sparks hesitantly share their food and provide lodging for their less-than-welcome guests, but mistrust and false accusations cause this tenuous relationship to deteriorate. Jeanne DuPrau's cautionary novel spirals downward until both groups are on the verge of serious bloodshed. Fortunately, everyone is reminded of the need to work together when two children, Lina and Doon, risk their lives to help others. While the story deals with weighty issues, Wendy Dillon is an assured narrator presenting vibrant, believable characters. This sequel to The City of Ember (Random House, 2003; Listening Library, SLJ Oct. 2004) deals with complex, compelling questions about survival in a world ravaged by wars and disease, and could be used to prompt discussions on ethics, or be tied into classroom study on current events. More thought provoking than entertaining, this audiobook is well suited to upper elementary and middle school libraries that support social studies curriculum.-Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.