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THE MAGICAL REALITY OF NADIA

Readers will cheer for Nadia as she responds to prejudice and affirms her identity.

Nadia Youssef is starting sixth grade, trying to navigate friendships, and tackling tough issues like racism and bullying.

Nadia is an Egyptian American immigrant, living in California with her physician parents; Baba’s a cardiologist, and Mama’s a pulmonologist. Based loosely on co-author Youssef’s real daughter, Nadia loves facts, collects bobbleheads, spends her summers in Egypt, and is very close to her best friends, Adam, who’s White, Sarah, who’s Korean American, Chloe, who's Black, and Vikram, who’s Indian American; together they’re the Nerd Patrol. The quintet is excited to learn that the Museum of American History is inviting students to team up and present ideas for an exhibit. Struggling with what it means to be a team leader, Nadia must also cope with a bullying new White student. Jason demands, “Where exactly are you from, anyway?” and sneers at her “desert people food.” Mystifyingly, Adam seems to want to be friends with Jason even though he hears the mean things Jason says. With a little help from a magical amulet, advice from her parents, and the help of her friends, Nadia makes a plan. Youssef and Daly draw a strong character who is proud of her heritage and culture and is not afraid to show her Egyptian roots. Holgate’s black-and-white cartoon vignettes pair well with the text, especially bringing out certain personality quirks and moments of humor. Nadia and Vikram make connections about similarities between their cultures, such as the “practice of snake charming” and some foodstuffs. 

Readers will cheer for Nadia as she responds to prejudice and affirms her identity. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-57228-5

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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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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GHOSTS

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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