SMALL STEPS by Peg Kehret
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Nov. 1, 1996

"Almost a half-century later, this lovely book refocuses attention on what matters most: health, love of family, friends, determination, generosity, and compassion. (Nonfiction. 8-13)"
From a writer known for her fiction, a moving memoir about a 12-year-old who got polio in 1949 in Austin, Minnesota. Read full book review >
FAMILY TREE by Katherine Ayres
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Nov. 1, 1996

"As the world of Tyler's family opens to her, the writing is consistently graceful; the unfolding story will enthrall readers. (Fiction. 8-12)"
A poignant first novel about a girl's discovery of her father's Amish upbringing and her own family's past. Read full book review >

STINK BOMB MOM by Martha Freeman
ANIMALS
Released: Nov. 1, 1996

"The climax—featuring cougars, a small child in danger, and animal control wardens—is exciting, but the welcome draw in this novel is Rory's fully developed characterization; her maturity in assessing and accepting her family situation will be familiar to many readers. (Fiction. 8-12)"
Family matters never overwhelm this funny and well-paced story of a girl's ingenuity when her beloved dog is mistakenly labeled dangerous. Read full book review >
PULSE by Joe Cardillo
FICTION
Released: Nov. 1, 1996

"Readers with an appreciation for long professions of teenage love may like this, but the superficial treatment of environmental and empowerment issues, plus the unresolved plot elements, won't win many hearts. (Fiction. 12-15)"
A sludgy, overwritten tale of young lovers coming to grief after they protest a proposed mall near their upstate New York town. Read full book review >
SHOEBAG RETURNS by Mary James
ANIMALS
Released: Nov. 1, 1996

"With the same bizarre humor, off-kilter perspective, absurdities, and serious (but not preachy) message, this is a worthwhile sequel, although it is less Shoebag's story than Stanley and Josephine's. (Fiction. 8-12)"
Lacking the freshness and surprise of its predecessor (Shoebag, 1990), this tale will still entertain the many fans of the cockroach who can turn into a boy. Read full book review >

THE TROKEVILLE WAY by Russell Hoban
Released: Nov. 1, 1996

A murky, discordant variation on the theme of an adolescent exploring an alternate reality to get a handle on his own. Read full book review >
SLAM! by Walter Dean Myers
FICTION
Released: Nov. 1, 1996

"Persuasive. (Fiction. 12-15)"
A Harlem teenager learns how to apply the will he has to win at hoops to other parts of his life in this vivid, fluent story from Myers (Toussaint L'Ouverture, p. 1472, etc.). Read full book review >
THE ILIAD AND THE ODYSSEY by Marcia Williams
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Nov. 1, 1996

"With a proliferation of versions of Homer on the market, add this one to the shelves only where Williams's other comic-strip tellings are popular. (Picture book/folklore. 7-12)"
The highlights of Homer's epics are rendered as a comic book, in a visual and literary style that Williams (Sinbad the Sailor, 1994, etc.) has used before, but here more reminiscent of Larry Gonick's Cartoon History of the World than a Classics Illustrated. Read full book review >
GREAT LIVES by David Weitzman
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Nov. 1, 1996

"His style is clear and uncondescending, resulting in a browsable book that dispenses example after example of what happens when unique individuals follow their hearts. (b&w photos, further reading) (Nonfiction. 10-14)"
This volume in the Great Lives series effectively straddles the fence between trade book and textbook with its two-column pages as well as its length and scope. Read full book review >
MEDIEVAL TIMES by Antony Mason
HISTORY
Released: Nov. 1, 1996

In the If You Were There series, a sanitized look at life in the Middle Ages, with information about castles, knights, cathedrals, feudalism, food, and much more. Read full book review >
A DINOSAUR ATE MY HOMEWORK by Jr. Nelson
DINOSAURS
Released: Nov. 1, 1996

"Steer clear of this one. (First printing of 50,000) (Picture book. 6-12)"
This entry in the Flying Rhinoceros series (Wooden Teeth and Jelly Beans, 1995, etc.) presents factual material about dinosaurs through a cast of cartoon characters that includes Earl P. Sidebottom, Jr., who claims that a T. rex ate his homework. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Nov. 1, 1996

"With contemporary black-and-white photographs. (index) (Biography. 12-15)"
This well-constructed if somewhat overwritten collective biography profiles eight Jewish women of this century. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >