“We’re all in this together,” Das writes, “lost, but not quite.” Older, Western children and teens may well feel they’ve...

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HOPE IS A GIRL SELLING FRUIT

Das debuts with illustrations done in a distinctive Indian style paired to a brief meditative text—part memoir, part artist’s statement, part rumination—on women’s personal journeys.

Sparked by a workshop assignment, the artist recalls her own childhood and, on a certain train trip, encounters with two young women. One travels alone to find work; the other, disabled but composed in the face of jeers, sells fruit from a cart. Centered on each spread (and sometimes losing a little in the gutters), the art, done in the Mithila folk tradition, offers large, often multiple scenes of, mostly, women in flat-perspective rural or urban settings, delineated in wavy lines and contrasting patterns. Though strongly stylized, the activities in which these figures are engaged are easy to identify, and they range from traditional farm or domestic work to riding a scooter, painting, using a computer keyboard or just sitting in quiet thought. “A girl’s life is hard,” Das reflects. “If you dream for a moment, you’re asked why you’re twiddling your thumbs.…No one lets you forget that you’re born a girl, not a boy.” Still, she takes heart from the two chance-met women and ends with: “I want to be brave, and different.”

“We’re all in this together,” Das writes, “lost, but not quite.” Older, Western children and teens may well feel they’ve found an unexpected comrade. (afterword on the art) (Picture book. 11-16)

Pub Date: April 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-93-83145-02-7

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Tara Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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A change of pace from the teeming swarms of fantasy and paranormal romance but too underpowered to achieve escape velocity.

FUTUREDAZE

AN ANTHOLOGY OF YA SCIENCE FICTION

A low-wattage collection of original stories and poems, as unmemorable as it is unappealingly titled.

The collection was inspired by a perceived paucity of short science fiction for teen readers, and its production costs were covered by a Kickstarter campaign. The editors gather a dozen poems and 21 stories from a stable of contributors who, after headliners Jack McDevitt and Nancy Holder, will be largely unknown even to widely read fans of the genre. The tales place their characters aboard spacecraft or space stations, on other worlds or in future dystopias, but only rarely do the writers capture a credibly adolescent voice or sensibility. Standouts in this department are the Heinlein-esque “The Stars Beneath Our Feet,” by Stephen D. Covey & Sandra McDonald, about a first date/joyride in space gone wrong, and Camille Alexa’s portrait of a teen traumatized by a cyberspace assault (“Over It”). Along with a few attempts to craft futuristic slang, only Lavie Tidhar’s fragmentary tale of Tel Aviv invaded by successive waves of aliens, doppelgangers, zombies and carnivorous plants (“The Myriad Dangers”) effectively lightens the overall earnest tone. Aside from fictional aliens and modified humans, occasional references to dark skin (“Out of the Silent Sea,” Dale Lucas) are the only signs of ethnic diversity. Most of the free-verse poetry makes only oblique, at best, references to science-fictional themes.

A change of pace from the teeming swarms of fantasy and paranormal romance but too underpowered to achieve escape velocity. (author bios) (Science fiction/short stories. 12-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-9847824-0-8

Page Count: 290

Publisher: Underwords

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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What do flowers remember? The stories of the people who cared for them, of course, as Wiersbitzky’s sensitive novel...

WHAT FLOWERS REMEMBER

Thanks to her love of flowers, Delia has become a sort of apprentice to talented gardener Old Red and is devastated when he begins to show signs of encroaching dementia.

With all of the confidence of youth, she holds in her heart the belief that perhaps with her help—and that of all his loving neighbors—she can preserve his memories by collecting favorite stories about the beloved man. As she moves through the months, she records (in a rather mature first-person) both the tasks she completes in the garden as well as the stories she collects about him, also describing Red’s tragically inexorable decline. Delia’s surrounded by loving adults, and she shares her grief with best friend Mae and new love interest Tommy, as well as receiving support from members of her church; with these relationships, this warm effort neatly captures the strength of a close-knit community and the tight bonds that can form between the very old and the young. The 13-year-old’s often lyrical prose is attractive, even though it sometimes strays toward a more adult-sounding voice. Her frustration, fear and sense of loss will be readily recognizable to others who have experienced dementia in a loved one, and her story may provide some guidance on how to move down that rocky path toward acceptance and letting go.

What do flowers remember? The stories of the people who cared for them, of course, as Wiersbitzky’s sensitive novel compassionately conveys. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: May 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-60898-166-3

Page Count: 158

Publisher: Namelos

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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