A powerful resource for young people itching for change.

READ REVIEW

WOLFPACK (YOUNG READERS EDITION)

HOW YOUNG PEOPLE WILL FIND THEIR VOICE, UNITE THEIR PACK, AND CHANGE THE WORLD

Soccer star and activist Wambach adapts Wolfpack (2019), her New York Times bestseller for adults, for a middle-grade audience.

YOU. ARE. THE. WOLVES.” That rallying cry, each word proudly occupying its own line on the page, neatly sums up the fierce determination Wambach demands of her audience. The original Wolfpack was an adaptation of the viral 2018 commencement speech she gave at Barnard College; in her own words, it was “a directive to unleash [the graduates’] individuality, unite the collective, and change the world.” This new adaption takes the themes of the original and recasts them in kid-friendly terms, the call to action feeling more relevant now than ever. With the exception of the introduction and closing remarks, each short chapter presents a new leadership philosophy, dishing out such timeless advice as “Be grateful and ambitious”; “Make failure your fuel”; “Champion each other”; and “Find your pack.” Chapters utilize “rules” as a framing device. The first page of each presents a generalized “old” and “new” rule pertaining to that chapter’s guiding principle, and each chapter closes with a “Call to the Wolfpack” that sums up those principles in more specific terms. Some parts of the book come across as somewhat quixotic or buzzword-heavy, but Wambach deftly mitigates much of the preachiness with a bluff, congenial tone and refreshing dashes of self-deprecating humor. Personal anecdotes help ground each of the philosophies in applicability, and myriad heavy issues are respectfully, yet simply broached.

A powerful resource for young people itching for change. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-76686-1

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Unfortunately, a great example of a book that adults think young people should read instead of one they want to read.

HIGH

EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT DRUGS, ALCOHOL, AND ADDICTION

After various books on addiction for adults and teens, here the Sheffs attempt to cover “everything” an early adolescent wants to know on the topic.

It’s a bold promise that, sadly, is not fulfilled. The book is divided into four main sections. The first summarizes Nic’s addiction and journey to sobriety before delving into a brief, general examination of drug and alcohol abuse. The second section surveys popular drug choices, and the third examines the road from drug use to drug addiction. The last section is a dialogue between the co-authors. Overall, the book does many things right: It never assigns blame to users, and it discusses such topics as marijuana legalization and opioid addiction without bias. Nic also periodically offers personal insights in separate text boxes. These points may not be enough to save the book, however. The overall tone is dry. Examples of adolescent addicts are discussed, but their stories are too brief to allow readers to find emotional touchstones. And though graphs and charts offer visuals, the clip art–like illustrations give the book the off-putting feel of a textbook. An “addictionary” confusingly arranges drugs by type instead of name (do readers know/care that PCP is a “dissociative drug” and GHB is a “club drug”?) and omits some current street names. A list of resources for recovery and further reading is appended.

Unfortunately, a great example of a book that adults think young people should read instead of one they want to read. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-544-64434-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
  • SPONSORED PLACEMENT

A mystery/thriller that’s equal parts heartfelt and shocking.

TEEN KILLERS CLUB

An accused murderer is thrust into an assassin training program.

Seventeen-year-old Signal Deere is serving hard time after a hazy night with her former best friend, Rose, which ended with Rose’s body in her lap, an emotional trial, and the media moniker the “Girl from Hell.” After her caseworker, Dave, assures Signal there’s no way she’ll get a successful appeal, he offers her an alternative: being shipped off to a mysterious camp and enrolled in a top-secret government training program unofficially known as the Teen Killers Club. There, Signal and other adolescent Class A felons (the most dangerous kind) undergo various drills—among them, dismembering fake corpses and dissolving flesh in acid—in preparation for eventually being used as assassins against government targets. The teens have been injected with a device remotely controlled by their trainers that will kill them if they attempt to escape the camp or otherwise disobey orders. As Signal nurses an attraction to sensitive tattooed Javier and fights her feelings for handsome sociopath Erik, she begins to piece together what really happened that night with Rose. Sparks crafts a page-turner with a disturbingly unusual premise, snappy dialogue, and characters that go deeper than their heinous crimes. Signal and Erik are assumed White; love interest Javier is cued as Latinx, and there is some diversity in the supporting cast.

A mystery/thriller that’s equal parts heartfelt and shocking. (Thriller. 15-adult)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64385-229-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Sept. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Bold, honest, informative, and unforgettable.

VOICE OF FREEDOM

FANNIE LOU HAMER: THE SPIRIT OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT

A welcome addition to civil rights literature for children.

Ask American children to recall a book on Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks, and most can. Fannie Lou Hamer? They will likely come up short. This expansive, richly illustrated biography about the “voice of the civil rights movement” recounts Hamer’s humble and poverty-stricken beginnings in 1917 as the 20th child of Mississippi sharecroppers through her struggle to fight for the rights of black people on local, regional, and national levels. Hamer’s quotes appear frequently in Weatherford’s free-verse poetry, giving readers a sense of how and what she spoke: “Black people work so hard, and we ain’t got nothin’ / to show for it.” The author also includes painful truths, describing the “night riders’ ” pursuit of Hamer after she attempted to register to vote and a brutal beating at the hands of police following her arrest, from which she suffered lifetime injuries. Hamer’s determination, perseverance, and unwavering resolve come through on every page. Holmes’ quiltlike collage illustrations emphasize the importance Hamer placed on community among African-Americans. Young readers who open this book with just a vague notion of who Fannie Lou Hamer was will wonder no more after absorbing this striking portrait of the singer and activist.

Bold, honest, informative, and unforgettable. (author’s note, timeline, source notes, bibliography) (Picture book/poetry/biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6531-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more