Another voice in the chorus of calls to action—earnest and on target but more likely to be bought than read.

IT'S YOUR WORLD

GET INFORMED, GET INSPIRED & GET GOING!

From an activist who sent a protest letter to President Ronald Reagan when she was 5, a tally of urgent worldwide concerns and issues, with pointed calls to get the lead out.

Clinton traces her lifelong involvement in social and environmental causes to family and to the classic 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth (1989). She intersperses carefully researched factual surveys and admiring profiles of other (mostly) young activists with her own experiences and opinions. Though these personal notes are fairly engaging, overall the nine topical chapters make dry reading: “Poverty and stunting are deeply intertwined. Parents living in extreme poverty are more likely to have children who suffer from stunting. Children who are stunted generally grow up less physically and mentally strong…,” etc. She also sidesteps complexity by, for instance, not mentioning complaints about Heifer International’s deceptive donation model or ever, despite discussion of human trafficking, using the words “rape” or (except in the section on HIV/AIDS) “sex.” Nor does she make it easy for young people patient enough to stay the course to strike out on their own. Though the many contact URLs that are buried in the narrative are at least repeated at the ends of their respective chapters, they come in bulleted lists of suggestions that tend toward either repetitive boilerplate (“Talk to your family and at least three friends…”) or generalities like “Stay away from secondhand smoke.” Still, everything here is, or had better be, of compelling concern to young people, and her concluding “It’s better to get caught trying” is inarguable if not exactly electric.

Another voice in the chorus of calls to action—earnest and on target but more likely to be bought than read. (map, charts, infographics, index) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-17612-8

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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A poignant and relevant retelling of a child immigrant’s struggle to recover from an accident and feel at home in America.

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  • Pura Belpré Medal Winner

LUCKY BROKEN GIRL

In the 1960s, Ruthie Mizrahi, a young Jewish Cuban immigrant to New York City, spends nearly a year observing her family and friends from her bed.

Before the accident, Ruthie’s chief goals are to graduate out of the “dumb class” for remedial students, to convince her parents to buy her go-go boots, and to play hopscotch with other kids in her Queens apartment building. But after Papi’s Oldsmobile is involved in a fatal multicar collision, Ruthie’s leg is severely broken. The doctor opts to immobilize both legs in a body cast that covers Ruthie from chest to toes. Bedridden and lonely, Ruthie knows she’s “lucky” to be alive, but she’s also “broken.” She begins collecting stories from her Jewban grandparents; her fellow young immigrant friends, Belgian Danielle and Indian Ramu; her “flower power” tutor, Joy; and her vibrant Mexican neighbor, Chicho, an artist who teaches her about Frida Kahlo. Ruthie also prays and writes letters to God, Shiva, and Kahlo, asking them for guidance, healing, and forgiveness. A cultural anthropologist and poet, the author based the book on her own childhood experiences, so it’s unsurprising that Ruthie’s story rings true. The language is lyrical and rich, the intersectionality—ethnicity, religion, class, gender—insightful, and the story remarkably engaging, even though it takes place primarily in the island of Ruthie’s bedroom.

A poignant and relevant retelling of a child immigrant’s struggle to recover from an accident and feel at home in America. (Historical fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-54644-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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Readers will need to strap on their helmets and prepare for a wild ride.

WILD RIVER

Disaster overtakes a group of sixth graders on a leadership-building white-water rafting trip.

Deep in the Montana wilderness, a dam breaks, and the resultant rush sweeps away both counselors, the rafts, and nearly all the supplies, leaving five disparate preteens stranded in the wilderness far from where they were expected to be. Narrator Daniel is a mild White kid who’s resourceful and good at keeping the peace but given to worrying over his mentally ill father. Deke, also White, is a determined bully, unwilling to work with and relentlessly taunting the others, especially Mia, a Latina, who is a natural leader with a plan. Tony, another White boy, is something of a friendly follower and, unfortunately, attaches himself to Deke while Imani, a reserved African American girl, initially keeps her distance. After the disaster, Deke steals the backpack with the remaining food and runs off with Tony, and the other three resolve to do whatever it takes to get it back, eventually having to confront the dangerous bully. The characters come from a variety of backgrounds but are fairly broadly drawn; still, their breathlessly perilous situation keeps the tale moving briskly forward, with one threatening situation after another believably confronting them. As he did with Wildfire (2019), Newbery Honoree Philbrick has crafted another action tale for young readers that’s impossible to put down.

Readers will need to strap on their helmets and prepare for a wild ride. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-64727-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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