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WILL ON THE INSIDE

Warm and nuanced.

Newly diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, Will McKeachie has an explanation for his stomach issues and pain but a new set of problems.

A passionate center midfielder, he is heartbroken about an enforced break from soccer. Twelve-year-old Will soon becomes friends with Griffin Miller, a gay classmate who loves theater and video games, and begins to develop new interests and perspectives as he navigates his illness. He also faces issues he hadn’t previously encountered: recognizing that his friends veer into bullying and disregard his needs and questioning his own sexuality. Thoughtful, introverted Will’s first-person narration is often funny and takes time examining his daily life. His Georgia town and his Baptist church, in which his family is heavily involved, are realistic in their bigotry, but the people around Will are largely decent even when they fail in their intentions. The story takes an intersectional approach that avoids the perils of making Will’s disease and queerness lessons; his identities blend into each other in organic ways. But what is captured here most compellingly are the struggles of developing a chronic illness at a young age, borne from Eliopulos’ own experiences: the gulf between friends before and after diagnosis, well-meaning concern that becomes patronization, and rarely described specific frustrations of navigating a healthy world as a sick kid. As Will’s reality changes, he remains—and becomes—fully himself. Main characters read White.

Warm and nuanced. (author’s note, resources) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 6, 2023

ISBN: 9780063228702

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2023

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CHARLOTTE'S WEB

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

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A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

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  • New York Times Bestseller


  • Newbery Honor Book


  • National Book Award Winner


  • Coretta Scott King Book Award Winner

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BROWN GIRL DREAMING

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

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A multiaward–winning author recalls her childhood and the joy of becoming a writer.

Writing in free verse, Woodson starts with her 1963 birth in Ohio during the civil rights movement, when America is “a country caught / / between Black and White.” But while evoking names such as Malcolm, Martin, James, Rosa and Ruby, her story is also one of family: her father’s people in Ohio and her mother’s people in South Carolina. Moving south to live with her maternal grandmother, she is in a world of sweet peas and collards, getting her hair straightened and avoiding segregated stores with her grandmother. As the writer inside slowly grows, she listens to family stories and fills her days and evenings as a Jehovah’s Witness, activities that continue after a move to Brooklyn to reunite with her mother. The gift of a composition notebook, the experience of reading John Steptoe’s Stevie and Langston Hughes’ poetry, and seeing letters turn into words and words into thoughts all reinforce her conviction that “[W]ords are my brilliance.” Woodson cherishes her memories and shares them with a graceful lyricism; her lovingly wrought vignettes of country and city streets will linger long after the page is turned.

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-25251-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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