A must-have title for school and public libraries as well as young activists’ home collections.

START NOW!

YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

How does a preteen become a voice of change for their community? (Hint: Start by reading this book!)

Clinton (and her editing team) knows how to speak to the middle-grade crowd, hitting all the right notes in this useful and enjoyable guide to activism. A wide range of hot-topic issues is covered, including climate change, health and fitness, and even bullying and friendships. Each roughly 20-page chapter introduces readers to a topic with an overview, a precise bit of history, and a few real-world examples to enforce the idea that no goal is too lofty or unmanageable. Gallagher’s line illustrations are intermixed with photographs of kids who’ve made a difference. The children discussed are inclusive of many ages, races, and genders, allowing a diverse range of readers to find personal connections to the text. The language is simple but never simplistic. When reach words or unfamiliar terms are used, they are defined, explained, and often spelled phonetically. Each chapter ends with a bulleted “Start now!” list that offers helpful suggestions for involvement, balancing advice kids can give to parents and activities they can do themselves. In most cases, writing to an elected official is included, reminding children to reach out and let their voices be heard. The backmatter includes an index but, sadly, not a bibliography for further reading.

A must-have title for school and public libraries as well as young activists’ home collections. (Nonfiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-51436-7

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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Street makes a better critic than comedian, but he has some solid insights to share.

HOW TO BE AN ART REBEL

How to make looking at art more fun—or at least not staid.

Led by a marmalade cat in a beret and leather jacket, the museum tour is largely designed to encourage “rebels” to look for symbols, metaphors, and messages, hidden or otherwise, in select art reproductions exemplifying various genres, subjects, media, and styles. Efforts to lighten the load with, for instance, references to “butts” and “boobies” in a chapter on “Nude Art,” a cartoon fart added by Wright to the Mona Lisa, and a 17th-century still life not of fruit or flowers but hunks of cheese by Clara Peeters (“one of the best cheese painters ever”) really only distract from Street’s often acute comments. Readers who look beyond the yuks will learn that the necklace of thorns Frida Kahlo placed about her neck in a self portrait evokes her chronic physical ills and the importance of understanding that abstract art isn’t about things but feelings. Refreshingly, though the genitalia in the Nude Art section are discreetly covered, the bodies on display include one with dwarfism, another that is pregnant and has no arms, and a third that is identified as the artist’s “coming-out.” Young viewers in need of a systematic course in how to see art had best look elsewhere, but they will come away with new tools, ideas worth mulling…and at least two bits of universal life wisdom: “Always have fun. And be weird.”

Street makes a better critic than comedian, but he has some solid insights to share. (glossary, list of artworks) (Nonfiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65164-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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A rich and deeply felt slice of life.

JUST PRETEND

Crafting fantasy worlds offers a budding middle school author relief and distraction from the real one in this graphic memoir debut.

Everyone in Tori’s life shows realistic mixes of vulnerability and self-knowledge while, equally realistically, seeming to be making it up as they go. At least, as she shuttles between angrily divorced parents—dad becoming steadily harder to reach, overstressed mom spectacularly incapable of reading her offspring—or drifts through one wearingly dull class after another, she has both vivacious bestie Taylor Lee and, promisingly, new classmate Nick as well as the (all-girl) heroic fantasy, complete with portals, crystal amulets, and evil enchantments, taking shape in her mind and on paper. The flow of school projects, sleepovers, heart-to-heart conversations with Taylor, and like incidents (including a scene involving Tori’s older brother, who is having a rough adolescence, that could be seen as domestic violence) turns to a tide of change as eighth grade winds down and brings unwelcome revelations about friends. At least the story remains as solace and, at the close, a sense that there are still chapters to come in both worlds. Working in a simple, expressive cartoon style reminiscent of Raina Telgemeier’s, Sharp captures facial and body language with easy naturalism. Most people in the spacious, tidily arranged panels are White; Taylor appears East Asian, and there is diversity in background characters.

A rich and deeply felt slice of life. (afterword, design notes) (Graphic memoir. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-53889-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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