A solid and captivating look at these remarkable pioneers of modern fiction.

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THE BRONTË SISTERS

THE BRIEF LIVES OF CHARLOTTE, EMILY, AND ANNE

The wild freedom of the imagination and the heart, and the tragedy of lives ended just as success is within view—such a powerful story is that of the Brontë children.

Reef’s gracefully plotted, carefully researched account focuses on Charlotte, whose correspondence with friends, longer life and more extensive experience outside the narrow milieu of Haworth, including her acquaintance with the novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, who became her biographer, revealed more of her personality. She describes the Brontë children’s early losses of their mother and then their two oldest siblings, conveying the imaginative, verbally rich life of children who are essentially orphaned but share both the wild countryside and the gifts of story. Brother Branwell’s tragic struggle with alcohol and opium is seen as if offstage, wounding to his sisters and his father but sad principally because he never found a way to use literature to save himself. Reef looks at the 19th-century context for women writers and the reasons that the sisters chose to publish only under pseudonyms—and includes a wonderful description of the encounter in which Anne and Charlotte revealed their identities to Charlotte’s publisher. She also includes brief, no-major-spoilers summaries of the sisters’ novels, inviting readers to connect the dots and to understand how real-life experience was transformed into fiction.

A solid and captivating look at these remarkable pioneers of modern fiction.   (notes and a comprehensive bibliography) (Biography. 12-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-547-57966-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist.

MAYA LIN

THINKING WITH HER HANDS

One of the world’s most celebrated creators of civic architecture is profiled in this accessible, engaging biography.

Similar in style and format to her Everybody Paints!: The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family (2014) and Wideness and Wonder: The Life and Art of Georgia O’Keeffe (2011), Rubin’s well-researched profile examines the career, creative processes, and career milestones of Maya Lin. Rubin discusses at length Lin’s most famous achievement, designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Chinese-American Lin was a reserved college student who entered and won the competition to design and build the memorial. Her youth and ethnicity were subjects of great controversy, and Rubin discusses how Lin fought to ensure her vision of the memorial remained intact. Other notable works by Lin, including the Civil Rights Memorial for the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, a library and chapel for the Children’s Defense Fund, the Museum of Chinese in America, and the outdoor Wave Field project are examined but not in as much depth as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Attractively designed, the book is illustrated extensively with color photos and drawings.

An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist. (bibliography, source notes, index) (Biography. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0837-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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A touching portrait of a remarkable celebrity influencer who used her exposure to inspire herself and others.

ALWAYS SMILE

CARLEY ALLISON'S SECRETS FOR LAUGHING, LOVING AND LIVING

When the late Canadian figure skater and singer/songwriter Carley Allison, was diagnosed with a rare and deadly cancer at 17, she shared her difficult journey through treatment.

This authorized biography draws from Carley’s blog, text messages, photos on social media, and interviews with family and friends. All testify to Carley’s popularity, upbeat personality, athleticism, competitive drive, and generosity throughout her brief life. She set and met tough goals for herself through surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation. Medical intervention exhausted, she tried residential treatment at an alternative Florida institute claiming cancer cures via a raw, vegan diet. Against her parents’ wishes, doctors told then-19-year-old Carley that she was dying. The timing of events isn’t always clear, and interviews are undated, but the clear intention is to inspire others to remain optimistic and positive: When an effort fails, there’s always something else to try. Contradicting that message is the equally strong portrait of someone exceptional afflicted with an exceedingly rare cancer. Carley, who was of European and Iranian descent, was supported by a loving, financially comfortable family and a loyal network of friends. It’s when the mask of cheery optimism falters that readers truly connect with Carley; then her journey becomes ours. Readers comfortable with social media will be drawn in by the large number of photographs, varied formats, and brief segments.

A touching portrait of a remarkable celebrity influencer who used her exposure to inspire herself and others. (Biography. 12-16)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0040-0

Page Count: 392

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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