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I'M AN AMERICAN

Will inspire a closer look at America’s rich history—and the myriad experiences of Americans.

What makes someone American?

A classroom of children from a wide variety of backgrounds ponder the characteristics and qualities of the American identity. Is it a matter of where you live? What you look like? Or perhaps the traditions you follow? “I think being an American is something more,” one child contends. The others share their own beliefs and family experiences—one student is the grandchild of Japanese Americans who were unjustly imprisoned during World War II; another child and their family members are Somali refugees; a light-skinned child attends Pride each year with their fathers. Each page reveals the many ways in which their families have shaped America—and continue to do so—as they share the values they hold dear. Khiani attempts to capture each meaningful experience succinctly. Still, younger readers may feel left behind during the story’s more complex moments, such as a discussion of the impact of redlining on Black Americans. Freeman’s stunning illustrations drive the story home, with layered images depicting past and present on each page interwoven with the American flag, adding texture, depth, and color. The resulting patchwork effect reinforces the power of both diversity and shared beliefs in breathing life and strength into the American identity. Extensive backmatter provides further context and guidance for additional research. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Will inspire a closer look at America’s rich history—and the myriad experiences of Americans. (author’s note, map, migration factors, additional information about the various cultures mentioned, further reading, selected bibliography) (Informational picture book. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9780593464724

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023

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CHARLOTTE'S WEB

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

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A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

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FAKER

Glitzy glimpses of life on the make, lightened by a focus on alternatives rather than consequences.

A con man’s son yearns for a different way of life.

Having helped his single dad fleece wealthy marks since kindergarten, Trey is adept at spotting their rich offspring in each new school he attends and cultivating them until the time comes for a quick getaway. Now that he’s 12, though, the urge to make real friends and put down some roots has become insistent—particularly since he’s drawn to Kaylee, a new classmate in his latest middle school. How can he convince his dad, who’s in the midst of luring local investors into a fantastically lucrative scheme involving a fictive electric car, that it’s time to bag the family profession and settle down? Korman goes more for ironic humor than the physical or stand-up sort in this book, as shown by Trey’s enrollment in an ethics class that forces him into some decidedly hypocritical stances. Much like Trey himself, instant new bestie Logan and his parents turn out to be not at all who they seem. And though there are no bullies or real baddies in the cast on the way to the story’s rosy but implausible resolution, Trey’s malign, high-strung, and wildly reckless huckster of a little sister from hell definitely adds both conflict and suspense to this provocative outing. Main characters read white.

Glitzy glimpses of life on the make, lightened by a focus on alternatives rather than consequences. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: July 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781338826753

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2024

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