Grim, upsetting and utterly beautiful, this is both a strong anti-war statement and a fascinating glimpse of a little-known...

AND THE SOLDIERS SANG

Definitely for older children (and most likely to be appreciated by adults), this version of the true story of the Christmas Truce of 1914 is told through the eyes of a fictional young Welshman, with a terse yet lyrical text and stark, dramatic illustrations.

The unofficial cease-fire has inspired other picture books, including Christmas in the Trenches, based on the song by John McCutcheon. That version also used a fictional hero/narrator but allowed him to survive to tell the tale to his curious grandchildren. Lewis’ unnamed soldier is not so lucky. He describes the horrors of war eloquently and evokes the miracle of peace that reigned briefly for the holiday. The author piles on the poignancy, revealing the young man’s vain hope that the war would soon be over in a journal entry discovered after his death by sniper shot. He notes in a brief afterword that the war continued for just under four more years with a total loss of almost 10 million lives. Kelley’s compelling artwork features mostly dark shades and strong, angular compositions. The overall design includes panels of various sizes, allowing him to pack in plenty of events and emotions and providing a strong narrative flow.

Grim, upsetting and utterly beautiful, this is both a strong anti-war statement and a fascinating glimpse of a little-known historical event. (Picture book. 8 & up)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-56846-220-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Creative Editions/Creative Company

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An outstanding new edition of this popular modern classic (Newbery Award, 1961), with an introduction by Zena Sutherland and...

ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS

Coming soon!!

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1990

ISBN: 0-395-53680-4

Page Count: -

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2000

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This 2015 New Visions Award winner offers a complex narrative and inspires readers to check their privilege to address...

AHIMSA

Although Kelkar’s debut novel takes place in colonial India in the 1940s, when Indian citizens were fighting for independence from British rule, it is uncannily timely: 10-year old Anjali grapples with issues of social justice in many of the same ways young people are today.

When Anjali’s mother quits her job to become a freedom fighter, Anjali is reluctant to join the struggle, as it means she will have to eschew her decorated skirts and wear home-spun khadi (hand-woven cotton) instead, inviting the mockery of her school nemeses. But as her relationship with her mother evolves, her experience of and commitment to activism change as well. When her mother is imprisoned and commences a hunger strike, Anjali continues her work and begins to unlearn her prejudices. According to an author’s note, Kelkar was inspired by the biography of her great-grandmother Anasuyabai Kale, and the tale is enriched by the author’s proximity to the subject matter and access to primary sources. Kelkar also complicates Western impressions of Mohandas K. “Mahatma” Gandhi—Anjali realizes that Gandhi is flawed—and introduces readers to Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, a figure rarely mentioned in texts for young people in the United States but who is best known for campaigning against social discrimination of Dalits, or members of India’s lower castes.

This 2015 New Visions Award winner offers a complex narrative and inspires readers to check their privilege to address ongoing injustices. (Historical fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62014-356-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Tu Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more