A matter-of-fact mirror that reflects reality and respect, not bewildered embarrassment.

BOYING UP

HOW TO BE BRAVE, BOLD AND BRILLIANT

Body hair, biology, and boyhood are dissected and demystified in this guide to pubescence.

As the XY follow-up to her XX exposé into what makes a preteen body tick, neuroscientist and actress Bialik (Girling Up, 2017, etc.) lends her scientific and maternal expertise to anyone fumbling through the boy-to–young man process. Replacing mystery and misunderstanding with science (proteins, chemicals, and hormones, oh my) the book scrutinizes the human body’s pubescent evolution. This is a pragmatic and relatable tool for understanding how, why, and what you’re chemically wired for, from hair growth to attention span, and it’s careful to note that generalizations are guides not rules. In other words, there’s no “right” time for the P word to kick in. What’s happening to girls (breasts, ovaries, height) on the puberty periphery is also discussed, as is gender identity. (Of note: a global map of countries recognizing more than two genders.) Merging research with experience raising two young boys, the result avoids a myopic point of view by peppering pages with lighthearted line drawings and sidebars with firsthand accounts from anonymous men. Bialik assures readers that we all figure out this hormonal playground called our body: In other words, when it comes to puberty, you’ve got this. Knowing where to sit at lunch when you get to high school? That’s another book entirely.

A matter-of-fact mirror that reflects reality and respect, not bewildered embarrassment. (Nonfiction. 9-15)

Pub Date: May 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-51597-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

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An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist.

MAYA LIN

THINKING WITH HER HANDS

One of the world’s most celebrated creators of civic architecture is profiled in this accessible, engaging biography.

Similar in style and format to her Everybody Paints!: The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family (2014) and Wideness and Wonder: The Life and Art of Georgia O’Keeffe (2011), Rubin’s well-researched profile examines the career, creative processes, and career milestones of Maya Lin. Rubin discusses at length Lin’s most famous achievement, designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Chinese-American Lin was a reserved college student who entered and won the competition to design and build the memorial. Her youth and ethnicity were subjects of great controversy, and Rubin discusses how Lin fought to ensure her vision of the memorial remained intact. Other notable works by Lin, including the Civil Rights Memorial for the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, a library and chapel for the Children’s Defense Fund, the Museum of Chinese in America, and the outdoor Wave Field project are examined but not in as much depth as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Attractively designed, the book is illustrated extensively with color photos and drawings.

An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist. (bibliography, source notes, index) (Biography. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0837-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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A loud, cynical cash grab—far from amazing.

THE AMAZING BOOK IS NOT ON FIRE

THE WORLD OF DAN AND PHIL

A couple more YouTube stars write a book.

Howell, who goes by "danisnotonfire," and "AmazingPhil" Lester are the latest YouTube stars hoping to cross over to the world of books. Instead of crafting a memoir or adapting their videos into a fictional series, the duo have filled these 225 pages with bold graphics, scatological humor, and quirky how tos that may entice their fan base but will leave everyone else out in the cold. It contains a wide variety of nonsense, ranging from Phil's chat logs to information on breeding hamsters. There's an emoji-only interview and some Dan/Phil fanfiction (by Howell rather than a fan) and even a full double-page spread of the pair's unsuccessful selfies. All this miscellany is shoveled in without much rhyme or reason following introductory pages that clearly introduce the pair as children, leaving readers who aren't in on the joke completely out of the loop. The authors make no attempt to bring in those on the outside, but in all honesty, why should they? The only people buying this book are kids who already love everything Dan and Phil do or clueless relatives in desperate search of a gift for the awkward teens in their lives. The book's biggest fault is its apparent laziness. It feels like something slapped together over a weekend, with no heart or soul.   

A loud, cynical cash grab—far from amazing. (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-101-93984-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2015

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