This multilayered biography vividly introduces photographers Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, setting their careers in the context of the Spanish Civil War, the run-up to World War II, and the birth of modern photojournalism.
The prologue grabs readers with scenes of Capa risking his life to photograph Allied troops landing on D-Day. The narrative then moves back to Paris in 1934, when Capa and Taro first met. The chronological chapters quickly shift to Spain, where the couple repeatedly faced danger to capture the civil war in images, hoping to bolster the anti-fascist Loyalist cause while establishing themselves in their profession. Chapters labeled “interlude” discuss the dawn of modern photojournalism and the international participation in the war. Going beyond details of the two lives, the complex account also explores issues surrounding refugees of war, the relationship between journalists and soldiers, the nature of artistic collaboration, and the overlap of photojournalism and propaganda. The writing offers clarity while also evoking emotions and the senses. The present-tense narrative gives a sense of immediacy, although it also leads to sometimes-awkward juxtapositions with the past-tense quotations from those who knew the couple. Black-and-white photographs, many of which are described in the text, grace nearly every page.
Captivating, powerful, and thought-provoking.
(cast of characters, timeline, authors’ note, sources, notes, bibliography, resources, index)
A unique cultural anthology of stories gathered from Indigenous women representing nations in the U.S. and Canada.
The voices in these stories defy and deconstruct the common stereotype of the Native American woman as docile tribal “princess.” The hashtag in the title is an intentional signal to readers that Native American women are a significant presence in the digital age. This book acts as a platform that allows Indigenous women to express their stories through poetry, vibrant and colorful art, personal photos, short stories, and traditional song. This tapestry of voices addresses reclaiming Indigenous rights, overcoming abandonment and abuse, navigating mixed identity, and cultural appropriation; there is also an homage to 13-year-old Anna Lee Rain Yellowhammer, a young Water Protector who gathered more than a quarter-million signatures to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Each page offers eye-catching images that represent the wide diversity among Indigenous women. A poignant interview with Dr. Janet Smylie (Cree/Métis) reveals both her personal struggle with depression as a teenager and the challenges she faced while attempting to finish medical school. Co-edited by author Charleyboy (Tsilhqot’in) and Leatherdale, this collection was created as a love letter to young Indigenous women. The vital message that it offers is that Indigenous women continue to shatter stereotypes through their personal successes and creative expression.
Both testament to the complexity of Indigenous women’s identities and ferocious statement that these women fully inhabit the modern world.
From the daughter of a French mother and Iraqi father comes a touching memoir of childhood in Iraq.
Writing with her husband, Findakly strings together memories and facts from her family’s past and present as well as from Iraqi culture, as if she is sharing herself with readers over tea. She begins with happy childhood moments in Iraq and her school days, her parents’ backgrounds and how they met, and introductions to other family members and neighbors. Especially poignant are the portrayals of her French mother’s successful adjustment to Iraqi society over 23 years and Findakly’s own process of growing apart from Iraqi society after her father decides they should move to France when she is a teenager. Trondheim’s charming cartoon drawings, colored by Findakly, help readers envision the worlds the family straddles, while occasional pages of family photographs remind readers of the author’s historical reality. Readers feel they are getting an inside look into an impenetrable world with cultural and historical notes on pages titled “In Iraq” interspersed throughout the book. This personal portrayal of the impact of war and societal upheaval on one family will help many Western readers to see how the past half-century of conflict has devastated a region rich in ancient culture.
Small in size but large in impact, this intimate memoir is a highly relevant and compassionate story of family, community, prejudice, and the struggle to love when the forces of the world push groups apart.
(Graphic memoir. 10-adult)
As she did in Charles and Emma (2009), her biography of the Darwins, Heiligman renders a nuanced portrait of the complex, devoted, and enduring relationship between the Van Gogh brothers.
Though Vincent and Theo unmistakably looked like brothers, they could not have been more opposite in habits and temperament; still, they pledged to each other as teenagers “to keep the bond between them strong and intimate.” Heiligman explains: “They will be more than brothers, more than friends. They will be companions in the search for meaning in life and meaning in art….And they will, when needed, carry each other’s parcels.” She reveals their unfailing devotion to this pledge by drawing on the hundreds of letters they exchanged in their tragically short lifetimes, quoting extensively and adeptly integrating them into the narrative. She frames the story of their relationship as a series of gallery exhibits (introducing each with a black-and-white reproduction of a representative piece) and varies her writing style to reflect Vincent’s work in different media such as sketching, drawing, and painting. Some depictions are vivid and richly textured, like Vincent’s oil paintings, while others are lean and sharp, like his sketches and drawings. Her exegesis of a lesser-known painting, The Laakmolen near The Hague (The Windmill), which she sees as essential to understanding the brothers’ relationship, features typically painstaking description and analysis. It and several others are reproduced in a full-color insert (not seen for review).
A remarkably insightful, profoundly moving story of fraternal interdependence and unconditional love.
(timeline, author’s note, biography, source notes, index)
Young readers of this biography may be surprised that Jim Thorpe, an athlete they may never have heard of, was once considered “the best athlete on the planet.”
Most students at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania were shocked by the treatment they received under superintendent Richard Henry Pratt, who believed white American culture was superior and to “help” his students meant to “kill the Indian in him, and save the man.” New students were given new names, new clothes, and haircuts and were allowed to speak English only. It was a harsh, alien world, and only a small percentage of students ever graduated. The child of a Sac and Fox/Irish father and Potawatomi/French-Canadian mother, Jim Thorpe grew up in a mix of white and Indian culture and was better prepared than many when he entered Carlisle at the age of 15. Sheinkin weaves complicated threads of history—the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the story of Carlisle, the early days of football, and the dual biographies of Thorpe and his coach Pop Warner—with the narrative skills of a gifted storyteller who never forgets the story in history. He is unflinchingly honest in pointing out the racism in white American culture at large and in football culture, including headlines in the newspapers (“INDIANS OUT TO SCALP THE CADETS”), preferential officiating, and war whoops from the stands. Sheinkin easily draws a parallel in the persisting racism in the names of current football teams, such as the Braves and Redskins, bringing the story directly to modern readers.
Superb nonfiction that will entertain as it informs.
(source notes, works cited, acknowledgments, photo credits, index)
Two black Civil War soldiers and writers offer unique perspectives about how they fought on and off the battlefield.
George E. Stephens and James Henry Gooding were both Union soldiers. The fact that they were African-Americans meant that the trajectory of their service and the weight they carried in battle were unusual. In their minds, they were fighting not just to preserve the Union, but to end slavery and secure their rights as full American citizens. The Quaker-educated men both joined the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, and both also wrote about what they saw, Stephens for the Anglo-American, a black Northern weekly, and Gooding for the New Bedford, Massachusetts, Mercury, both showing a different side of the war to blacks and abolitionists. They were skilled at sharing compelling details of the battles they fought in combat and against the racism that, among other things, denied them equal pay for their service. Author Shepard does a great job using the dispatches from these men to form the basis for this narrative. The most impressive contribution is how the individual voices of Stephens and Gooding are in the forefront with their similarities and distinctions. This is a powerful use of primary resources, one that illuminates the lives of its subjects but never gets in the way of their remarkable stories. Rich backmatter provides useful information.
In the fall of 2013, on a bus ride home, a young man sets another student on fire.
In a small private high school, Sasha, a white teen with Asperger’s, enjoyed “a tight circle of friends,” “blazed through calculus, linguistics, physics, and computer programming,” and invented languages. Sasha didn’t fall into a neat gender category and considered “the place in-between…a real place.” Encouraged by parents who supported self-expression, Sasha began to use the pronoun they. They wore a skirt for the first time during their school’s annual cross-dressing day and began to identify as genderqueer. On the other side of Oakland, California, Richard, a black teen, was “always goofing around” at a high school where roughly one-third of the students failed to graduate. Within a few short years, his closest friends would be pregnant, in jail, or shot dead, but Richard tried to stay out of real trouble. One fateful day, Sasha was asleep in a “gauzy white skirt” on the 57 bus when a rowdy friend handed Richard a lighter. With a journalist’s eye for overlooked details, Slater does a masterful job debunking the myths of the hate-crime monster and the African-American thug, probing the line between adolescent stupidity and irredeemable depravity. Few readers will traverse this exploration of gender identity, adolescent crime, and penal racism without having a few assumptions challenged.
An outstanding book that links the diversity of creed and the impact of impulsive actions to themes of tolerance and forgiveness.
Although unfortunate circumstances in developing countries prevent girls from getting educations, nevertheless they remain resilient.
Sibert Medalist Stone begins by explaining how the documentary Girl Rising inspired a book that further amplifies and explores the heartbreaking and inspiring stories of girls around the globe who are advocating for access to and freedom of education. Collected from over 45 hours of raw video interview footage, direct quotes from women and girls unveil a distressing web of hardships for girls as young as 5 and the unjust factors that prevent them from bettering their lives: poverty, human trafficking, modern-day slavery, child marriage, and, perhaps the most prevalent, gender discrimination. Around the world, the book zooms in on the struggles of girls from Afghanistan, Cambodia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Nepal, Peru, Sierra Leone, among other countries. Both portraits and documentary-style photographs are numerous, and infographic designs will appeal to younger readers. Stone’s passionate, deliberate, and compelling narrative explores the culture of gender discrimination and induces a sense of urgency for a solution. The recounted interviews offer insight, candor, and emotion, sparing readers little.
A moving account of hardships and triumphs that is bound to inspire future activists, this is a devastating but crucial read.
(author’s note, appendix, bibliography, source notes)