An eye-opening, autobiographical account of growing up waiting for the rapture.
Since birth, Hartzler has been taught that any day, Jesus could scoop his family off to heaven. To prepare, his mom leads his youth group in a song called “Countdown,” in which they sing “BLASTOFF!” at the tops of their lungs and jump as if they’re being taken into the sky. Religion shapes every aspect of Hartzler’s life, but love is also at the heart of his work. That’s what’s at stake when he starts making left turns in both his activities and his belief system in high school. He sneaks to movies his parents would never approve of, illicitly listens to popular music, and plans wild, drunken parties. He has his first kiss, and eventually he begins to think that he might like boys (but that’s not the main point). His story emphasizes discovery more than rebellion, and the narrative is carefully constructed to show and not judge the beliefs of his family and their community. That said, he’s constantly under close surveillance, and readers will wince in sympathy as they experience his punishments for what they might deem trivial actions. Hartzler’s laugh-out-loud stylings range from the subtle to the ridiculous (his grandmother on wearing lipstick: “I need just a touch, so folks won’t think we’re Pentecostal”).
A hilarious first-of-its-kind story that will surely inspire more
. (Memoir. 14 & up)
From allegory to verisimilitude, the three blind mice demonstrate a wealth of literary terms.
Named Pee Wee, Oscar and Mary, the famous mice start with their basic “Story” and ring the changes on it using a variety of literary tools. “Vocabulary and Syntax” renders the first line of the familiar nursery rhyme four different ways: “Trinity of myopic vermin / Eyeless murine trio / Triumvirate of sightless rodents / Three blind mice.” Under “Style,” readers encounter “Hemingway Mouse”: “Three mice. Woman with knife. No tails.” “Oxymoron” is exemplified by “It was a dull knife that caused their soundless wails.” Lewis covers every imaginable possibility, including “F—k,” a section on the use of expletives, and “Sex in the Story.” Clever line drawings by Swarte enliven every page, and Lewis’ own comments add graceful explanation. Under “Repetition,” for example, she writes, “The pleasure of repetition from the acoustic to the unconscious is ubiquitous.” Treatment of each topic is brief, though artful, but an exhaustive glossary—intelligent, witty, thoughtfully referential and written in a voice as distinctive as William Strunk's—provides further elucidation and heft (it also doubles as an index).
A sparkling celebration of the craft of writing that easily rises to the level of belles lettres itself.
(Nonfiction. 12 & up)
Eisner winner Powell’s dramatic black-and-white graphic art ratchets up the intensity in this autobiographical opener by a major figure in the civil rights movement.
In this first of a projected trilogy, Lewis, one of the original Freedom Riders and currently in his 13th term as a U.S. Representative, recalls his early years—from raising (and preaching to) chickens on an Alabama farm to meeting Martin Luther King Jr. and joining lunch-counter sit-ins in Nashville in 1960. The account flashes back and forth between a conversation with two young visitors in Lewis’ congressional office just prior to Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration and events five or more decades ago. His education in nonviolence forms the central theme, and both in his frank, self-effacing accounts of rising tides of protest being met with increasingly violent responses and in Powell’s dark, cinematically angled and sequenced panels, the heroism of those who sat and marched and bore the abuse comes through with vivid, inspiring clarity. The volume closes with the founding of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (which Lewis went on to chair), and its publication is scheduled to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, at which Lewis preceded Dr. King on the podium: “Of everyone who spoke at the march, I’m the only one who’s still around.”
A powerful tale of courage and principle igniting sweeping social change, told by a strong-minded, uniquely qualified eyewitness.
(Graphic memoir. 11-15)
2003 Pulitzer Prize–winning author Nazario’s critically acclaimed book Enrique’s Journey, a heart-wrenching account of one young man’s journey to migrate illegally from Honduras to the United States to find the mother who left when he was 5, has been newly adapted for young people.
Nazario’s vividly descriptive narrative recreates the trek that teenage Enrique made from Honduras through Mexico on the tops of freight trains. This adaptation does not gloss over or omit the harrowing dangers—beatings, rape, maiming and murder—faced by migrants coming north from Central America. The material is updated to present current statistics about immigration, legal and illegal, and also addresses recent changes in the economic and political climates of the U.S., Mexico and Honduras, including the increased danger of gang violence related to drug trafficking in Mexico. The book will likely inspire reflection, discussion and debate about illegal immigration among its intended audience. But the facts and figures never overwhelm the human story. The epilogue allows readers who are moved by Enrique to follow the family’s tragedies and triumphs since the book’s original publication; the journey does not end upon reaching the United States.
Provides a human face, both beautiful and scarred, for the undocumented—a must-read.
(epilogue, afterword, notes)
(Nonfiction. 14 & up)