Somewhat silly but slightly muddled; look elsewhere for meaningful guidance on coping with social anxiety.

SO EMBARRASSING

AWKWARD MOMENTS AND HOW TO GET THROUGH THEM

A cartoon dive into all things embarrassing.

Intending to show that “the better you understand [embarrassment], the better you control it,” Harper explores several common categories of embarrassment (“social oops,” “it’s on you and it shouldn’t be,” “parents in public,” etc.) before including the insights of real-life licensed health counselor Grace Y. Lin (depicted as a pink hippo). A string of characters accompany readers through the book: Badgey, who has “badges for bravery and words of wisdom”; an unnamed anthropomorphic dog who never gets embarrassed; and a host of child characters who act as examples for different scenarios (and who have a range of pink, tan, and brown skin). Busy pages, a two-dimensional character style, and all-caps lettering give the illustrations a doodled feel. Harper’s ultimate conclusion that “embarrassment + time = good story” reminds readers that time—and a sense of humor—can soften embarrassment. However, the book’s center may be lost as readers become bogged down in detailed examples that focus more often on embarrassing scenarios than on offering tools for reframing thinking, making this very much not a book for anyone with social anxiety.

Somewhat silly but slightly muddled; look elsewhere for meaningful guidance on coping with social anxiety. (Graphic nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5235-1017-7

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A critical contribution to discussions of equal access and of systemic racism.

WITHOUT SEPARATION

PREJUDICE, SEGREGATION, AND THE CASE OF ROBERTO ALVAREZ

Separate but equal—even primary grade students understand this prejudicial oxymoron.

Separation is never equal. When the Lemon Grove School District’s board of trustees decided to expel every one of the 75 students who were of Mexican American descent in order to establish an all-White student body, the Lemon Grove Neighbor’s Committee—Comité de Vecinos de Lemon Grove—decided to take action. The Mexican consul in San Diego provided lawyers who filed on behalf of 12-year-old Roberto Alvarez in San Diego’s California Superior Court. Exploding the board of trustees’ assertion that the minority students were “backward and deficient,” Roberto himself, in fluent English, defended his position. This was the “first successfully fought school desegregation case in the United States.” On April 16, 1931, the decision was made public: “to immediately admit and receive…Roberto Alvarez, and all other pupils of Mexican parentage…without separation or segregation.” Brimner’s straightforward narrative follows Roberto Alvarez from his return to school after Christmas vacation only to be told he was no longer welcome to the day he was able to receive the same education as the White students. The substantial author’s note places this case in context with other desegregation cases in the U.S.—particularly in California. Gonzalez’s colorful and detailed mural-esque illustrations make the historical flavor of the times accessible.

A critical contribution to discussions of equal access and of systemic racism. (photos, sources, source notes) (Informational picture book. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68437-195-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

Inspirational but occasionally unclear.

JUST LIKE ME

Gooding's debut profiles 40 famous people with disabilities.

The author, a mother of children with disabilities, opens the book with a note about her desire to find role models for her children. To that end, she alphabetically introduces racially diverse disabled people from around the world and throughout history. Diagnoses range from autism to limb difference. Historical figures include Japanese peace advocate Sadako Sasaki, who developed leukemia after the bombing of Hiroshima, and American abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who led fellow slaves to freedom despite epilepsy. Contemporary figures include athletes, authors, and entertainers: Polio survivor and Paralympian Malathi Krishnamurthy-Holla remains "one of the fastest female Indian athletes in a wheelchair"; Japanese nonverbal author Naoki Higashida penned popular books describing autism; English actor Daniel Radcliffe deals with dyspraxia, a coordination disorder; and Australian Madeline Stuart is the first professional model with Down syndrome. Each profile begins with an uplifting quote and concludes with a sidebar explaining the subject’s disability. Unfortunately, some sidebars emphasize colloquial over scientific terms. For instance, Stephen Hawking’s disability is named eponymously (Lou Gehrig's disease), “also known as ALS,” instead of with its scientific name, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Occasionally, vague phrasing creates confusion, such as when the author writes that a speech-generating device enabled Hawking to communicate by using a “touchpad.” (A hand clicker became his primary input method.) Various illustrators’ realistic renditions of smiling subjects complement the upbeat (albeit somewhat dry) text.

Inspirational but occasionally unclear. (glossary, quote sources) (Collective biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-78741-848-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Bonnier/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

more