Vapid and banal.

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DREAMING OUT LOUD

Social media ce-web-rity Baby Ariel steps out of the digital realm and into print with her debut, Dreaming Out Loud.

Ariel Martin, better known as Baby Ariel, combines autobiography with self-help. Starting with her rise to celebrity through creating lip-sync videos on the musical.ly app, the Jewish-Latina teen sensation shares her triumphs and struggles. The book is divided into color-based themes, with biographical sections bookended by sections of questions and guidance. Some of the advice is genuinely helpful, such as how to tackle online trolls and real-life bullies and the edict to seek the assistance of a mental health professional for severe anxiety. Other advice is less so, such as the recommendation to binge-watch Netflix to stave off boredom or how to use false lashes as part of a supposedly minimalist makeup routine. While the advice has many hits and a few misses, the intervening narrative has Ariel singing “me, me, me” such that even glints of good advice fade in the shadow of the author’s narcissistic tone, making for tedious reading. Only the most dedicated member of the Ariel “fan-mily” will find much appeal here. While life advice from a peer mentor certainly has its place, other, better self-help and inspirational resources exist.

Vapid and banal. (Memoir. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-285748-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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Like many grammar books, this starts with parts of speech and goes on to sentence structure, punctuation, usage and style....

GRAMMAR GIRL PRESENTS THE ULTIMATE WRITING GUIDE FOR STUDENTS

As she does in previous volumes—Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing (2008) and The Grammar Devotional (2009)—Fogarty affects an earnest and upbeat tone to dissuade those who think a grammar book has to be “annoying, boring, and confusing” and takes on the role of “grammar guide, intent on demystifying grammar.”

Like many grammar books, this starts with parts of speech and goes on to sentence structure, punctuation, usage and style. Fogarty works hard to find amusing, even cheeky examples to illustrate the many faux pas she discusses: "Squiggly presumed that Grammar Girl would flinch when she saw the word misspelled as alot." Young readers may well look beyond the cheery tone and friendly cover, though, and find a 300+-page text that looks suspiciously schoolish and isn't really that different from the grammar texts they have known for years (and from which they have still not learned a lot of grammar). As William Strunk said in his introduction to the first edition of the little The Elements of Style, the most useful grammar guide concentrates attention “on a few essentials, the rules of usage and principles of composition most commonly violated.” After that, “Students profit most by individual instruction based on the problems of their own work.” By being exhaustive, Fogarty may well have created just the kind of volume she hoped to avoid.

Pub Date: July 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8050-8943-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2011

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A powerful reminder of a history that is all too timely today.

THEY CALLED US ENEMY

A beautifully heart-wrenching graphic-novel adaptation of actor and activist Takei’s (Lions and Tigers and Bears, 2013, etc.) childhood experience of incarceration in a World War II camp for Japanese Americans.

Takei had not yet started school when he, his parents, and his younger siblings were forced to leave their home and report to the Santa Anita Racetrack for “processing and removal” due to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066. The creators smoothly and cleverly embed the historical context within which Takei’s family’s story takes place, allowing readers to simultaneously experience the daily humiliations that they suffered in the camps while providing readers with a broader understanding of the federal legislation, lawsuits, and actions which led to and maintained this injustice. The heroes who fought against this and provided support to and within the Japanese American community, such as Fred Korematsu, the 442nd Regiment, Herbert Nicholson, and the ACLU’s Wayne Collins, are also highlighted, but the focus always remains on the many sacrifices that Takei’s parents made to ensure the safety and survival of their family while shielding their children from knowing the depths of the hatred they faced and danger they were in. The creators also highlight the dangerous parallels between the hate speech, stereotyping, and legislation used against Japanese Americans and the trajectory of current events. Delicate grayscale illustrations effectively convey the intense emotions and the stark living conditions.

A powerful reminder of a history that is all too timely today. (Graphic memoir. 14-adult)

Pub Date: July 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-60309-450-4

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Top Shelf Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 5, 2019

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