Thoughtfully researched, expertly crafted.

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ALL THIRTEEN

THE INCREDIBLE CAVE RESCUE OF THE THAI BOYS' SOCCER TEAM

An in-depth account of a harrowing real-life mission that succeeds against all odds.

This book logs the 18 days that elapsed in the summer of 2018 as 12 boys—all members of the Wild Boars soccer team—and their coach were trapped inside Tham Luang Nang Non, or the Cave of the Sleeping Lady, after it flooded in northern Thailand. The world watched as a daring rescue ensued. Instructive on many levels, the present-tense narration re-creates the hair-raising suspense and tension, rendering details of the extreme dangers of dive rescues and the seemingly insurmountable logistical challenges created by the landscape and heavy rainfall. The text recounts the events, techniques, and diverse individuals involved in this struggle while retaining an urgency that propels page turns with bated breath despite the foreknowledge that the trapped team will survive, but one retired Thai Navy SEAL sacrifices his life. Color photos abound, and interspersed text boxes, diagrams, and maps pace the flow of information with salient data, distilling contextual background on related topics including cave formations, makeshift hydraulic engineering, Buddhism and spirituality, local geography, and the plight of Thailand’s stateless people, which included the coach and several players. Masterful storytelling fleshes out the complex human emotions behind key decisions, illuminates diplomatic and political negotiations, and underscores an unwavering faith—in maintaining hope and in harnessing powers of the mind.

Thoughtfully researched, expertly crafted. (author’s note, source notes, bibliography, image credits, index) (Nonfiction. 10-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0945-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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Ultimately adds little to conversations about race.

UNCOMFORTABLE CONVERSATIONS WITH A BLACK BOY

A popular YouTube series on race, “Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man,” turns how-to manual and history lesson for young readers.

Acho is a former NFL player and second-generation Nigerian American who cites his upbringing in predominantly White spaces as well as his tenure on largely Black football teams as qualifications for facilitating the titular conversations about anti-Black racism. The broad range of subjects covered here includes implicit bias, cultural appropriation, and systemic racism. Each chapter features brief overviews of American history, personal anecdotes of Acho’s struggles with his own anti-Black biases, and sections titled “Let’s Get Uncomfortable.” The book’s centering of Whiteness and White readers seems to show up, to the detriment of its subject matter, both in Acho’s accounts of his upbringing and his thought processes regarding race. The overall tone unfortunately conveys a sense of expecting little from a younger generation who may have a greater awareness than he did at the same age and who, therefore, may already be uncomfortable with racial injustice itself. The attempt at an avuncular tone disappointingly reads as condescending, revealing that, despite his online success with adults, the author is ill-equipped to be writing for middle-grade readers. Chapters dedicated to explaining to White readers why they shouldn’t use the N-word and how valuable White allyship is may make readers of color (and many White readers) bristle with indignation and discomfort despite Acho’s positive intentions.

Ultimately adds little to conversations about race. (glossary, FAQ, recommended reading, references) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-80106-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2021

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A slim volume big on historical information and insight.

COME ON IN, AMERICA

THE UNITED STATES IN WORLD WAR I

A wide-ranging exploration of World War I and how it changed the United States forever.

Students who know anything about history tend to know other wars better—the Civil War, World War II, Vietnam. But it was World War I that changed America and ushered in a new role for the United States as a world political and economic leader. Two million Americans were sent to the war, and in the 19 months of involvement in Europe, 53,000 Americans were killed in battle, part of the staggering total death toll of 10 million, a war of such magnitude that it transformed the governments and economies of every major participant. Osborne’s straightforward text is a clear account of the war itself and various related topics—African-American soldiers, the Woman’s Peace Party, the use of airplanes as weapons for the first time, trench warfare, and the sinking of the Lusitania. Many archival photographs complement the text, as does a map of Europe (though some countries are lost in the gutter). A thorough bibliography includes several works for young readers. A study of World War I offers a context for discussing world events today, so this volume is a good bet for libraries and classrooms—a well-written treatment that can replace dry textbook accounts.

A slim volume big on historical information and insight. (timeline, source notes, credits) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2378-0

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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