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Nina Bernstein

Nina Bernstein is a reporter for the New York Times. In 1994 her New York Newsday series about New York’s foster care system won Columbia University School of Journalism’s Mike Berger Award, and she was awarded an Alicia Patterson Foundation fellowship to continue her research into foster care. In 1995 she received the George Polk Award for distinguished metropolitan coverage. She lives in New York City.

Magic by the Book: Pales next to the books it’s a tribute to

Magic by the Book by Nina Bernstein

It's hard not to appreciate a book whose author clearly intends it to be a literary homage to some all-time favorite young fantasy authors: E. Nesbit, Edward Eager, Mary Norton, etc. And whether the tribute is subtle in terms of theme or visuals or plot or more directly stated, as when one of the characters references a book by the above mentioned authors, it is always done without a sense of irony — there's a sincere sense of love there.

Unfortunately, Bernstein didn't channel enough of those authors in her writing, as Magic by the Book falls woefully short of its models. The title book that mysteriously appears one day in a basket of library books, sweeps three young children (Anne, Emily, and Will) into its pages and into adventure. In the first, Anne and Emily meet Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest and... Read More