MARTIN RISING

REQUIEM FOR A KING

The multiaward-winning Pinkneys’ requiem lovingly explains in a set of “docu-poems” the events surrounding Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, particularly the Memphis sanitation workers’ strikes that brought him to the city where he eventually died.

The author humanizes King through the love he has for his family and movement comrades (including an April 4, 1968, pillow fight with his brother, Andrew Young, and Ralph Abernathy) as well as the viral bug he suffers with as he gives his last, prescient, and momentous “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech. The illustrator, blending influences of Marc Chagall and Norman Lewis, gives the story a loosely drawn, vibrantly warm, watercolor haze, which, with halos of yellows and oranges and even wings, give King and his family an almost beatific, if not saintly, glow, even in their sorrows. The character of Henny Penny, who is a blend of the fabled chicken and a wise black grandmother, provides the Greek-chorus narration in a device that is understandable if sometimes-distracting. Catholicism creates hagiographies to explain their martyrs’ and other saints’ deaths, whether history concurs with their feats for the faith or, in some cases, their very existences. Even as U.S. black communities wrestle with Dr. King’s personal foibles, media-glossed images, and complex messages, here readers have a children’s book in which adults may also find succor, if not inspiration, considering the current reverting-to–pre–Civil Rights administration.

Spiritually vital. (author’s and illustrator’s notes, history, timeline, bibliography) (Poetry. 8-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-545-70253-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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Essential.

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THIS BOOK IS ANTI-RACIST

20 LESSONS ON HOW TO WAKE UP, TAKE ACTION, AND DO THE WORK

A guidebook for taking action against racism.

The clear title and bold, colorful illustrations will immediately draw attention to this book, designed to guide each reader on a personal journey to work to dismantle racism. In the author’s note, Jewell begins with explanations about word choice, including the use of the terms “folx,” because it is gender neutral, and “global majority,” noting that marginalized communities of color are actually the majority in the world. She also chooses to capitalize Black, Brown, and Indigenous as a way of centering these communities’ voices; "white" is not capitalized. Organized in four sections—identity, history, taking action, and working in solidarity—each chapter builds on the lessons of the previous section. Underlined words are defined in the glossary, but Jewell unpacks concepts around race in an accessible way, bringing attention to common misunderstandings. Activities are included at the end of each chapter; they are effective, prompting both self-reflection and action steps from readers. The activities are designed to not be written inside the actual book; instead Jewell invites readers to find a special notebook and favorite pen and use that throughout. Combining the disruption of common fallacies, spotlights on change makers, the author’s personal reflections, and a call to action, this powerful book has something for all young people no matter what stage they are at in terms of awareness or activism.

Essential. (author’s note, further reading, glossary, select bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4521-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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With young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many.

GUTS

Young Raina is 9 when she throws up for the first time that she remembers, due to a stomach bug. Even a year later, when she is in fifth grade, she fears getting sick.

Raina begins having regular stomachaches that keep her home from school. She worries about sharing food with her friends and eating certain kinds of foods, afraid of getting sick or food poisoning. Raina’s mother enrolls her in therapy. At first Raina isn’t sure about seeing a therapist, but over time she develops healthy coping mechanisms to deal with her stress and anxiety. Her therapist helps her learn to ground herself and relax, and in turn she teaches her classmates for a school project. Amping up the green, wavy lines to evoke Raina’s nausea, Telgemeier brilliantly produces extremely accurate visual representations of stress and anxiety. Thought bubbles surround Raina in some panels, crowding her with anxious “what if”s, while in others her negative self-talk appears to be literally crushing her. Even as she copes with anxiety disorder and what is eventually diagnosed as mild irritable bowel syndrome, she experiences the typical stresses of school life, going from cheer to panic in the blink of an eye. Raina is white, and her classmates are diverse; one best friend is Korean American.

With young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many. (Graphic memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-545-85251-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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