A must-have for any biography section.

READ REVIEW

CHAMPIONS OF WOMEN'S SOCCER

Empowerment. Goal-setting. Positivity. Oh yeah, and sports too.

Killion has distilled the best of the best moments and biographical information into an easy-to-read and exciting look at the players and moments in women’s soccer. Inspirational quotes from the players start each chapter, and it’s not difficult to imagine readers taking them to heart. The book goes beyond the basic statistics of the players (presented at the end of each chapter for easy reference) to introduce readers to their stories, both highs and lows. Although the tone of the book is positive, it does not shy away from the darker moments in players’ lives. Abby Wambach’s substance-abuse issues, Brandi Chastain’s family losses, and Bri Scurry’s brain injuries are examples of the realism injected into story and are openly acknowledged and discussed. The final quarter of the book examines the history of women’s soccer and serves as the perfect hook to pull readers into watching a few games. Young readers will love this action-packed, uplifting look at the women of the National Women’s Soccer League and the moments that turned the league into the nation’s obsession so much they will leave this book dog-eared from repeated readings. Sports fans will be overjoyed, but the superhero-comics crowd might also be pleasantly surprised by these modern-day wonder women.

A must-have for any biography section. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-54901-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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An apt choice for collections that already have stronger alternatives, such as R.J. Palacio's Wonder (2012).

UGLY

A memoir of the first 14 years in the life of Australian Robert Hoge, born with stunted legs and a tumor in the middle of his face.

In 1972, Robert is born, the youngest of five children, with fishlike eyes on the sides of his face, a massive lump in place of his nose, and malformed legs. As baby Robert is otherwise healthy, the doctors convince his parents to approve the first of many surgeries to reduce his facial difference. One leg is also amputated, and Robert comes home to his everyday white, working-class family. There's no particular theme to the tale of Robert's next decade and a half: he experiences school and teasing, attempts to participate in sports, and is shot down by a girl. Vignette-driven choppiness and the lack of an overarching narrative would make the likeliest audience be those who seek disability stories. However, young Robert's ongoing quest to identify as "normal"—a quest that remains unchanged until a sudden turnaround on the penultimate page—risks alienating readers comfortable with their disabilities. Brief lyrical moments ("as compulsory as soggy tomato sandwiches at snack time") appeal but are overwhelmed by the dry, distant prose dominating this autobiography.

An apt choice for collections that already have stronger alternatives, such as R.J. Palacio's Wonder (2012). (Memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-425-28775-0

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for...

TWO MEN AND A CAR

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT, AL CAPONE, AND A CADILLAC V-8

A custom-built, bulletproof limo links two historical figures who were pre-eminent in more or less different spheres.

Garland admits that a claim that FDR was driven to Congress to deliver his “Day of Infamy” speech in a car that once belonged to Capone rests on shaky evidence. He nonetheless uses the anecdote as a launchpad for twin portraits of contemporaries who occupy unique niches in this country’s history but had little in common. Both were smart, ambitious New Yorkers and were young when their fathers died, but they definitely “headed in opposite directions.” As he fills his biographical sketches with standard-issue facts and has disappointingly little to say about the car itself (which was commissioned by Capone in 1928 and still survives), this outing seems largely intended to be a vehicle for the dark, heavy illustrations. These are done in muted hues with densely scratched surfaces and angled so that the two men, the period backgrounds against which they are posed, and the car have monumental looks. It’s a reach to bill this, as the author does, a “story about America,” but it does at least offer a study in contrasts featuring two of America’s most renowned citizens. Most of the human figures are white in the art, but some group scenes include a few with darker skin.

The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for thought. (timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-88448-620-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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