Enchanting indeed—and inspiring as well.

WATCH OUT FOR FLYING KIDS!

HOW TWO CIRCUSES, TWO COUNTRIES, AND NINE KIDS CONFRONT CONFLICT AND BUILD COMMUNITY

Welcome to a particular type of circus—where the child performers may just change the world “one acrobat, contortionist, and flyer at a time.”

The mission of a youth social circus is to bring together young people who don’t ordinarily meet and to teach them to work together as circus performers. The young performers of Circus Harmony in St. Louis and the Galilee Circus in Israel demonstrate what happens when people of different backgrounds work together to perform—to “fly above the fray” and “walk the tightrope of politics and friendships.” Levinson expertly establishes the historical context behind the circuses—the legacy of racial segregation in St. Louis and the troubled history of Arabs and Jews in Palestine—and shows that, in spite of the world around them, “Jews and Arabs…blacks, whites, Muslims, Christians—all kids—can get along. And that circus is an especially enchanting means in which to do so.” The text itself is a juggling act as she follows nine young performers, two circus directors, and the coaches in telling the story, based on 120 hours of personal interviews. Color photographs, sidebars, and a lengthy pronunciation guide to Arabic and Hebrew names, words, and expressions used in the text round out a thoroughly enjoyable volume.

Enchanting indeed—and inspiring as well. (Nonfiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-56145-821-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: April 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

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A powerful resource for young people itching for change.

WOLFPACK (YOUNG READERS EDITION)

HOW YOUNG PEOPLE WILL FIND THEIR VOICE, UNITE THEIR PACK, AND CHANGE THE WORLD

Soccer star and activist Wambach adapts Wolfpack (2019), her New York Times bestseller for adults, for a middle-grade audience.

YOU. ARE. THE. WOLVES.” That rallying cry, each word proudly occupying its own line on the page, neatly sums up the fierce determination Wambach demands of her audience. The original Wolfpack was an adaptation of the viral 2018 commencement speech she gave at Barnard College; in her own words, it was “a directive to unleash [the graduates’] individuality, unite the collective, and change the world.” This new adaption takes the themes of the original and recasts them in kid-friendly terms, the call to action feeling more relevant now than ever. With the exception of the introduction and closing remarks, each short chapter presents a new leadership philosophy, dishing out such timeless advice as “Be grateful and ambitious”; “Make failure your fuel”; “Champion each other”; and “Find your pack.” Chapters utilize “rules” as a framing device. The first page of each presents a generalized “old” and “new” rule pertaining to that chapter’s guiding principle, and each chapter closes with a “Call to the Wolfpack” that sums up those principles in more specific terms. Some parts of the book come across as somewhat quixotic or buzzword-heavy, but Wambach deftly mitigates much of the preachiness with a bluff, congenial tone and refreshing dashes of self-deprecating humor. Personal anecdotes help ground each of the philosophies in applicability, and myriad heavy issues are respectfully, yet simply broached.

A powerful resource for young people itching for change. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-76686-1

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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Street makes a better critic than comedian, but he has some solid insights to share.

HOW TO BE AN ART REBEL

How to make looking at art more fun—or at least not staid.

Led by a marmalade cat in a beret and leather jacket, the museum tour is largely designed to encourage “rebels” to look for symbols, metaphors, and messages, hidden or otherwise, in select art reproductions exemplifying various genres, subjects, media, and styles. Efforts to lighten the load with, for instance, references to “butts” and “boobies” in a chapter on “Nude Art,” a cartoon fart added by Wright to the Mona Lisa, and a 17th-century still life not of fruit or flowers but hunks of cheese by Clara Peeters (“one of the best cheese painters ever”) really only distract from Street’s often acute comments. Readers who look beyond the yuks will learn that the necklace of thorns Frida Kahlo placed about her neck in a self portrait evokes her chronic physical ills and the importance of understanding that abstract art isn’t about things but feelings. Refreshingly, though the genitalia in the Nude Art section are discreetly covered, the bodies on display include one with dwarfism, another that is pregnant and has no arms, and a third that is identified as the artist’s “coming-out.” Young viewers in need of a systematic course in how to see art had best look elsewhere, but they will come away with new tools, ideas worth mulling…and at least two bits of universal life wisdom: “Always have fun. And be weird.”

Street makes a better critic than comedian, but he has some solid insights to share. (glossary, list of artworks) (Nonfiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65164-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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