This inspired collaboration adds a heightened poetic dimension to readers’ understanding of Chagall’s life and art.

SELF PORTRAIT WITH SEVEN FINGERS

THE LIFE OF MARC CHAGALL IN VERSE

U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate Lewis and the prolific Yolen team up for a celebratory picture-book biography in verse of the 20th century painter and designer Marc Chagall (1887-1985) that may quickly become a favorite of art-loving families and museum docents.

This handsome book is amply illustrated with archival photos, spot art from Chagall’s oeuvre and, most importantly, 14 full-color reproductions of Chagall’s affecting, mystical, sometimes surreal re-imaginings of his Jewish childhood in Eastern Europe, paintings that swell with touching imagery of joy, loss and beauty. Most of the book’s two-page spreads include an evocative poem (by either Lewis or Yolen) inspired by or reflecting upon the painting on the  facing page. These spreads also feature informative, telling biographical briefs that anchor the art and beautifully crafted poetry to Chagall’s long, incident-rich life and artistic career. Details about each painting’s size, medium, date and provenance also add interest. Chagall’s work is represented in over 40 museums in North America, and teachers and parents often find his work particularly accessible and appealing to children who readily and eagerly decode his imagery, making this book useful as well is beautiful.

This inspired collaboration adds a heightened poetic dimension to readers’ understanding of Chagall’s life and art. (Picture book/poetry/biography. 11 & up)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-56846-211-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Creative Editions/Creative Company

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2011

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An intimate novel that beautifully confronts grief and loss.

RED, WHITE, AND WHOLE

It’s 1983, and 13-year-old Indian American Reha feels caught between two worlds.

Monday through Friday, she goes to a school where she stands out for not being White but where she has a weekday best friend, Rachel, and does English projects with potential crush Pete. On the weekends, she’s with her other best friend, Sunita (Sunny for short), at gatherings hosted by her Indian community. Reha feels frustrated that her parents refuse to acknowledge her Americanness and insist on raising her with Indian values and habits. Then, on the night of the middle school dance, her mother is admitted to the hospital, and Reha’s world is split in two again: this time, between hospital and home. Suddenly she must learn not just how to be both Indian and American, but also how to live with her mother’s leukemia diagnosis. The sections dealing with Reha’s immigrant identity rely on oft-told themes about the overprotectiveness of immigrant parents and lack the nuance found in later pages. Reha’s story of her evolving relationships with her parents, however, feels layered and real, and the scenes in which Reha must grapple with the possible loss of a parent are beautifully and sensitively rendered. The sophistication of the text makes it a valuable and thought-provoking read even for those older than the protagonist.

An intimate novel that beautifully confronts grief and loss. (Verse novel. 11-15)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-304742-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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Suspenseful, fast-paced, and brief enough to engage even reluctant readers.

ALONE

Freeman’s middle-grade debut starts with a wallop and carries on from there.

Twelve-year-old Madeleine Albright Harrison is inadvertently left behind when her whole region is abruptly evacuated in the night. Although there had been hints of unrest, she has no real idea why everyone left or when—perhaps if—they’ll ever come back. At first, there’s still electricity and running water, but as days turn into weeks and then months, utilities fail, and Madeleine comes to realize that she’s truly on her own. A Colorado winter will be coming soon enough. After rescuing a neighbor’s dog, her only companion, she becomes increasingly sophisticated in her survival efforts, collecting food and water, learning how to light a fire in her father’s woodstove and, bicycle helmet secured in place, teaching herself to drive a car. Not everything works. At one point she encounters but evades a vicious group of looters. Later she survives both a tornado and a wildfire that sweeps through her neighborhood. But it’s loneliness that becomes her greatest enemy and books from the local library that ultimately sustain her. Madeleine relates her own riveting, immersive story in believable detail, her increasingly sophisticated thoughts, as years pass, sweeping down spare pages in thin lines of verse in this Hatchet for a new age. Characters default to White.

Suspenseful, fast-paced, and brief enough to engage even reluctant readers. (Verse novel. 11-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6756-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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