Effectively showcases the contemporary brilliance that can come from ancient principles.

FOLDING TECH

USING ORIGAMI AND NATURE TO REVOLUTIONIZE TECHNOLOGY

An exploration of various modern technologies inspired by origami, the Japanese art of paper folding.

The simple act of folding a piece of paper can become complex quickly. Even readers who have made a paper crane before will be surprised to learn that origami techniques have also helped to create NASA’s newest and biggest telescope, a fast-moving robotic gripper, and an innovative Swiss chapel. Peppered with illuminating photographs and diagrams, the straightforward text moves from the ancient history of origami, through bug wings and mathematics, to solar-powered spacecraft. The common theme, both intriguing and well expressed, is the power and complexity of folding. Included are illustrated instructions for a few hands-on projects that require paper and typical household or classroom items like scissors and a pencil. Interviews with two origami experts, both appearing to be White men, offer down-to-earth advice about following nontraditional career paths like theirs. Also featured is the work of several Asian and/or female researchers. It’s unlikely that readers will retain an understanding of every engineering concept the book describes, but they will gain an appreciation of the interplay between art and science and will be inspired to learn more.

Effectively showcases the contemporary brilliance that can come from ancient principles. (timeline, glossary, source notes, bibliography, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-3304-2

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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Broad, deep, and on a significant topic but more utilitarian than inspirational.

DRAWING THE VOTE

A GRAPHIC NOVEL HISTORY FOR FUTURE VOTERS

A history of U.S. voting rights and the unrelenting barrage of challenges to them, with a chapter that updates the original 2020 edition.

Despite an occasional bobble (no, all the states did not send representatives to the Constitutional Convention, and the Shelby County vs. Holder decision, devastating as it was, was not responsible for “overturning” the Voting Rights Act), college professor Jenkins delivers a broadly comprehensive overview that takes readers from “No taxation without representation!” to the events of Jan. 6, 2021 and beyond, with updates covering the failure of the Arizona recount and the recent flurry of legislation designed to further depress our already chronically low levels of voter participation. The additions lend currency to the story, but apathetic readers are more likely to catch a spark from other histories, such as Susan Goldman Rubin’s Give Us the Vote! (2020). The graphic format does little to animate this account, as aside from some redrawn historical news photos, the drably duotone art runs to clumsily rendered portraits of figures in static poses stiffly restating talking points, uttering (in)famous quotes (“Why do we want all these people from shithole countries?”)—or in a running conceit, imitating game show announcers: “Congratulations! John Adams, you’ve won the presidency!” The color scheme also minimizes differences in skin color, and visual elements frequently look crammed in among the fulsome blocks of lecture-y narrative.

Broad, deep, and on a significant topic but more utilitarian than inspirational. (voting information, source notes) (Graphic nonfiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3999-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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The proximity to pain makes for a choppy narrative but also vitally draws attention to a global crisis

HIDDEN GIRL

THE TRUE STORY OF A MODERN-DAY CHILD SLAVE

This memoir of modern domestic slavery ends with hope and determination, as young author Hall (born Shyima El-Sayed Hassan) is “one of the fortunate 2 percent” to be freed from servitude.

Shyima’s childhood in Egypt ends when her parents are blackmailed into turning over their 8-year-old daughter to a wealthy couple. Every day, Shyima cleans the five-story house and the 17-car garage, “standing on a stool doing the dishes” because she’s too tiny to reach the sink. When she’s 10, Shyima’s captors move to California, illegally trafficking her into the U.S. After two more years of hard labor and increasing ill health, a worried neighbor calls the police, and Shyima’s journey into freedom begins. A chain of Muslim and Christian foster parents (some protective, others exploitative) leads her to become an anti-slavery activist. Unsurprisingly, Hall’s representations of Arab and Muslim men are filtered through her appalling experiences. Though she acknowledges misogyny “is not what the Muslim faith is about,” readers should expect to find depictions that hew closely to negative stereotypes. Those readers prepared to brave a dense, adult tome could move from Hall’s memoir to John Bowe’s Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy (2007) for a deeper look.

The proximity to pain makes for a choppy narrative but also vitally draws attention to a global crisis . (Nonfiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Jan. 21, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-8168-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2013

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