History has been carefully intertwined with the present in this engaging and reflective book.

THREADS OF PEACE

HOW MOHANDAS GANDHI AND MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. CHANGED THE WORLD

Two men, separated by oceans and born 60 years apart, changed the courses of their respective countries’ histories.

The threads of the lives of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are intricately woven together and continue to hold relevance today; even though they never met, Gandhi was well aware of racial inequality in the U.S., and King was deeply influenced by Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence. The book begins with Gandhi’s life, followed by King’s, tracing each man’s story from birth to assassination. Details about their early years and very human struggles round out the portraits of their lives. Krishnaswami also gives readers context about their assassins, Nathuram Vinayak Godse and James Earl Ray, humanizing them as well. This in-depth look at the modern histories of India and America with a focus on their most well-known civil rights leaders concludes by drawing explicit comparisons to present-day struggles to bring their visions of justice and equality to fruition in both countries. Ample photographs help readers picture the individuals and their times, and text boxes provide background information, such as about India’s caste system and the Vietnam War. The book’s attractive design, lucid text, and carefully chosen details combine to create an inviting and original treatment of its subjects.

History has been carefully intertwined with the present in this engaging and reflective book. (author’s note, timeline, glossary, bibliography, photo credits, sources, index) (Nonfiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4814-1678-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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A standout among writing guides, valuable for its sage and friendly encouragement and for the sheer fun of hanging out with...

WRITING RADAR

USING YOUR JOURNAL TO SNOOP OUT AND CRAFT GREAT STORIES

Advice on writing from one of the best writers around.

“I’m a writer and I’m on your side,” Gantos says, as if he’s putting an arm around a young writer’s shoulder and guiding them through a door to a new life. With a snappy voice, his own funny ink drawings, and expertise drawn from a career full of great books, he covers just about everything: where to find ideas and characters, how to structure a story, why to keep a journal, and even what to write with. Every step of the way he includes examples from his own writing. As humorous as he is, Gantos is authoritative and serious about his craft, careful to include every building block for constructing a good story—characters, setting, problem, action, crisis, resolution, and the need for a double ending (physical and emotional). Chapter 2 (“Getting Started”) ought to be read by all teachers and parents: it’s a manifesto on how to raise a reader (and writer) by reading aloud excellent picture books to young children and placing good books in the hands of children as they get older, and he offers a handy list of just what some of those books should be. While his list of picture books is not a particularly diverse one, the middle-grade titles suggested are nicely inclusive.

A standout among writing guides, valuable for its sage and friendly encouragement and for the sheer fun of hanging out with Jack. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-374-30456-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care.

OIL

In 1977, the oil carrier Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of oil into a formerly pristine Alaskan ocean inlet, killing millions of birds, animals, and fish. Despite a cleanup, crude oil is still there.

The Winters foretold the destructive powers of the atomic bomb allusively in The Secret Project (2017), leaving the actuality to the backmatter. They make no such accommodations to young audiences in this disturbing book. From the dark front cover, on which oily blobs conceal a seabird, to the rescuer’s sad face on the back, the mother-son team emphasizes the disaster. A relatively easy-to-read and poetically heightened text introduces the situation. Oil is pumped from the Earth “all day long, all night long, / day after day, year after year” in “what had been unspoiled land, home to Native people // and thousands of caribou.” The scale of extraction is huge: There’s “a giant pipeline” leading to “enormous ships.” Then, crash. Rivers of oil gush out over three full-bleed wordless pages. Subsequent scenes show rocks, seabirds, and sea otters covered with oil. Finally, 30 years later, animals have returned to a cheerful scene. “But if you lift a rock… // oil / seeps / up.” For an adult reader, this is heartbreaking. How much more difficult might this be for an animal-loving child?

Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care. (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3077-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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