Terrific appetizer for discussion.

GIRLS STANDING ON LAWNS

This trim, clothbound first in a series from Kalman and Handler for the Museum of Modern Art offers an intriguing painting-and-prose response to a selection of photographs of, as the title indicates, girls and young women standing on lawns.

The 42 black-and-white photographs presented here are unremarkable at first glance. Gifts to the museum from a handful of donors, including Kalman, they represent the work of mostly amateur photographers from 1910 to 1955. Handler’s droll, laconic prose poem complements the one-dimensional nature of these images; a few words accompanying each invite readers to consider that someone in particular is standing in each photograph: “Keep track of this. / You will not remember / every place you have stood.” The combination of lawns, “girls” and posing for the camera seems to speak of a particular place, demographic and time. All are affecting, artless and sometimes poignant in their anonymity, but only two depict subjects who are not white: a young black girl standing with the only boy in these images, perhaps her younger brother; a young black woman in another. Kalman reinterprets 10 images in her energetic and inimitable fauve-esque palette; the unique charm of her paintings calls attention to the way the camera captures both what is intended and…something else. The MoMA’s curator of photography offers a note on a brief history of home photography and provides a description (“vernacular photography”) for the genre.

Terrific appetizer for discussion. (Poetry. 8 & up)

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-87070-908-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: The Museum of Modern Art

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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A fast and funny alternative to the Wimpy Kid.

JAKE THE FAKE KEEPS IT REAL

From the Jake the Fake series , Vol. 1

Black sixth-grader Jake Liston can only play one song on the piano. He can’t read music very well, and he can’t improvise. So how did Jake get accepted to the Music and Art Academy? He faked it.

Alongside an eclectic group of academy classmates, and with advice from his best friend, Jake tries to fit in at a school where things like garbage sculpting and writing art reviews of bird poop splatter are the norm. All is well until Jake discovers that the end-of-the-semester talent show is only two weeks away, and Jake is short one very important thing…talent. Or is he? It’s up to Jake to either find the talent that lies within or embarrass himself in front of the entire school. Light and humorous, with Knight’s illustrations adding to the fun, Jake’s story will likely appeal to many middle-grade readers, especially those who might otherwise be reluctant to pick up a book. While the artsy antics may be over-the-top at times, this is a story about something that most preteens can relate to: the struggle to find your authentic self. And in a world filled with books about wanting to fit in with the athletically gifted supercliques, this novel unabashedly celebrates the artsy crowd in all of its quirky, creative glory.

A fast and funny alternative to the Wimpy Kid. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-553-52351-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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90 MILES TO HAVANA

After Castro’s takeover, nine-year-old Julian and his older brothers are sent away by their fearful parents via “Operation Pedro Pan” to a camp in Miami for Cuban-exile children. Here he discovers that a ruthless bully has essentially been put in charge. Julian is quicker-witted than his brothers or anyone else ever imagined, though, and with his inherent smarts, developing maturity and the help of child and adult friends, he learns to navigate the dynamics of the camp and surroundings and grows from the former baby of the family to independence and self-confidence. A daring rescue mission at the end of the novel will have readers rooting for Julian even as it opens his family’s eyes to his courage and resourcefulness. This autobiographical novel is a well-meaning, fast-paced and often exciting read, though at times the writing feels choppy. It will introduce readers to a not-so-distant period whose echoes are still felt today and inspire admiration for young people who had to be brave despite frightening and lonely odds. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

 

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-59643-168-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2010

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