THE SEA-RINGED WORLD

SACRED STORIES OF THE AMERICAS

Tales from 18 Indigenous cultures portray how the first peoples of the Americas have seen their world and their place in it, beginning thousands of years before Europeans arrived.

The Indigenous cultures highlighted here range from the Arctic to the southern tip of South America. Creation stories describe the births of Sun and Moon and life-sustaining lakes and rivers. Stars fill the Hopi sky when Spider Grandmother casts her web to the heavens. Great floods cover the Earth. Some narratives suggest ancient migratory journeys. Human survival is often a struggle as people cross deserts or endure drought, heat, and ice. Cautionary tales, like the Alutiiq warning against needless hunting, offer guidance. Tales of war and conquest, famine and exile, reflect the rise of empires. In a Mopan (Maya) tradition, a prince and a god fall in love, and in an Inuit story, sea and weather goddesses are partnered. A Nahua two-spirit story unites genders in one being, manifesting completion and wholeness. These retellings, most three to four pages in length, are generous in spirit. García Esperón, a lauded Mexican poet, evokes a harshly beautiful world, and Bowles’ finely rendered translation begs to be read aloud. Mijangos’ exceptional blue, black, and white digital illustrations, incorporating a variety of design elements into a unified whole, reflects and enhances themes and connections among the stories. Informative backmatter includes a pronunciation guide, cultural notes, a map, a glossary, and a bibliography.

Spellbinding. (Traditional stories. 8-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64614-015-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Levine Querido

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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Essential.

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THIS BOOK IS ANTI-RACIST

20 LESSONS ON HOW TO WAKE UP, TAKE ACTION, AND DO THE WORK

A guidebook for taking action against racism.

The clear title and bold, colorful illustrations will immediately draw attention to this book, designed to guide each reader on a personal journey to work to dismantle racism. In the author’s note, Jewell begins with explanations about word choice, including the use of the terms “folx,” because it is gender neutral, and “global majority,” noting that marginalized communities of color are actually the majority in the world. She also chooses to capitalize Black, Brown, and Indigenous as a way of centering these communities’ voices; "white" is not capitalized. Organized in four sections—identity, history, taking action, and working in solidarity—each chapter builds on the lessons of the previous section. Underlined words are defined in the glossary, but Jewell unpacks concepts around race in an accessible way, bringing attention to common misunderstandings. Activities are included at the end of each chapter; they are effective, prompting both self-reflection and action steps from readers. The activities are designed to not be written inside the actual book; instead Jewell invites readers to find a special notebook and favorite pen and use that throughout. Combining the disruption of common fallacies, spotlights on change makers, the author’s personal reflections, and a call to action, this powerful book has something for all young people no matter what stage they are at in terms of awareness or activism.

Essential. (author’s note, further reading, glossary, select bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4521-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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Go adventuring with a better guide.

50 ADVENTURES IN THE 50 STATES

From the The 50 States series

Find something to do in every state in the U.S.A.!

This guide highlights a location of interest within each of the states, therefore excluding Washington, D.C., and the territories. Trivia about each location is scattered across crisply rendered landscapes that background each state’s double-page spread while diminutive, diverse characters populate the scenes. Befitting the title, one “adventure” is presented per state, such as shrimping in Louisiana’s bayous, snowshoeing in Connecticut, or celebrating the Fourth of July in Boston. While some are stereotypical gimmes (surfing in California), others have the virtue of novelty, at least for this audience, such as viewing the sandhill crane migration in Nebraska. Within this thematic unity, some details go astray, and readers may find themselves searching in vain for animals mentioned. The trivia is plentiful but may be misleading, vague, or incorrect. Information about the Native American peoples of the area is often included, but its brevity—especially regarding sacred locations—means readers are floundering without sufficient context. The same is true for many of the facts that relate directly to expansion and colonialism, such as the unexplained near extinction of bison. Describing the genealogical oral history of South Carolina’s Gullah community as “spin[ning] tales” is equally brusque and offensive. The book tries to do a lot, but it is more style than substance, which may leave readers bored, confused, slightly annoyed—or all three. (This book was reviewed digitally with 12.2-by-20.2-inch double-page spreads viewed at 80% of actual size.)

Go adventuring with a better guide. (tips on local adventuring, index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-5445-9

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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