Though Yousafzai’s memoir never transcends her story, that story is a powerful and inspiring one; supplemented by...

I AM MALALA

HOW ONE GIRL STOOD UP FOR EDUCATION AND CHANGED THE WORLD (YOUNG READERS EDITION)

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teen shot for her activism for girls’ education, tells her story for a middle-grade audience.

Although billed as a “young readers edition” of Yousafzai’s 2013 book of the same name for adults, co-written with Christina Lamb, the designation does the book a disservice, as this is no simple redaction. With the capable assistance of co-author McCormick, the account has been effectively rewritten specifically for children. The story is straightforward, related chronologically and covering Yousafzai’s growth in activism, her shooting and her recovery in England. Yousafzai’s voice is appealingly youthful, though it often tells rather than shows and frequently goes over the top: In her school, she writes, “we flew on wings of knowledge.” Still, young Western readers will come to understand the gulf that separates them from Yousafzai through carefully chosen anecdotes, helping them see what drives her to such lyrical extremes. Unfortunately, much is lost in the translation from the adult book, presumably sacrificed for brevity and directness; most lamentable is social and political context. Although readers will come away with a good understanding of Yousafzai’s immediate experiences, the geopolitical forces that shape her culture go largely unmentioned except in a closing timeline that amounts to a dizzying list of regime changes.

Though Yousafzai’s memoir never transcends her story, that story is a powerful and inspiring one; supplemented by contextualizing information, it should pack quite a wallop. (glossary) (Memoir. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-316-32793-0

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2014

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A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats.

50 IMPRESSIVE KIDS AND THEIR AMAZING (AND TRUE!) STORIES

From the They Did What? series

Why should grown-ups get all the historical, scientific, athletic, cinematic, and artistic glory?

Choosing exemplars from both past and present, Mitchell includes but goes well beyond Alexander the Great, Anne Frank, and like usual suspects to introduce a host of lesser-known luminaries. These include Shapur II, who was formally crowned king of Persia before he was born, Indian dancer/professional architect Sheila Sri Prakash, transgender spokesperson Jazz Jennings, inventor Param Jaggi, and an international host of other teen or preteen activists and prodigies. The individual portraits range from one paragraph to several pages in length, and they are interspersed with group tributes to, for instance, the Nazi-resisting “Swingkinder,” the striking New York City newsboys, and the marchers of the Birmingham Children’s Crusade. Mitchell even offers would-be villains a role model in Elagabalus, “boy emperor of Rome,” though she notes that he, at least, came to an awful end: “Then, then! They dumped his remains in the Tiber River, to be nommed by fish for all eternity.” The entries are arranged in no evident order, and though the backmatter includes multiple booklists, a personality quiz, a glossary, and even a quick Braille primer (with Braille jokes to decode), there is no index. Still, for readers whose fires need lighting, there’s motivational kindling on nearly every page.

A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats. (finished illustrations not seen) (Collective biography. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-14-751813-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Puffin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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A likable journey that is sensitive to the triumphs and agonies of being a 13-year-old girl.

FRIENDS FOREVER

From the Friends series , Vol. 3

Shannon just wants to get through eighth grade in one piece—while feeling like her own worst enemy.

In this third entry in popular author for young people Hale’s graphic memoir series, the young, sensitive overachiever is crushed by expectations: to be cool but loyal to her tightknit and dramatic friend group, a top student but not a nerd, attractive to boys but true to her ideals. As events in Shannon’s life begin to overwhelm her, she works toward finding a way to love and understand herself, follow her passions for theater and writing, and ignore her cruel inner voice. Capturing the visceral embarrassments of middle school in 1987 Salt Lake City, Shannon’s emotions are vivid and often excruciating. In particular, the social norms of a church-oriented family are clearly addressed, and religion is shown as being both a comfort and a struggle for Shannon. While the text is sometimes in danger of spelling things out a little too neatly and obviously, the emotional honesty and sincerity drawn from Hale’s own life win out. Pham’s artwork is vibrant and appealing, with stylistic changes for Shannon’s imaginings and the leeching out of color and use of creative panel structures as her anxiety and depression worsen.

A likable journey that is sensitive to the triumphs and agonies of being a 13-year-old girl. (author's note, gallery) (Graphic memoir. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-31755-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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