Occasionally mannered but heartfelt throughout and indisputably timely.

READ REVIEW

HER RIGHT FOOT

Everyone knows what the Statue of Liberty stands for—but, as Eggers notes, she’s not actually “standing” at all.

Taking his time, as usual, at getting to the point, Eggers opens with the often told tale of the monument’s origins, preliminary construction, deconstruction, and shipping to “a city called New York, which is in a state also called New York.” He describes the statue’s main features, from crown to gown (“a very heavy kind of garment,” likely to cause “serious lower back issues”)—and points out that her right heel is not planted but lifted. What does this signify? That “…she is walking! This 150 foot woman is on the go!” She’s stepping out into the harbor, he suggests, to give new arrivals from Italy and Norway, Cambodia and Estonia, Syrians, Liberians, and all who have or will come an eager welcome. After all, he writes, she’s an immigrant too, and: “She is not content to wait.” In Harris’ ink-and–construction-paper collages, Parisian street scenes give way to close-up views of the brown (later green) ambulatory statue, alternating with galleries of those arrivals and their descendants, who are all united in their very diversity of age, sex, dress, and skin color. Photos, including one of the Emma Lazarus poem, cap this urgent defense of our “Golden Door.”

Occasionally mannered but heartfelt throughout and indisputably timely. (bibliography, source list) (Picture book. 9-13, adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-6281-2

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Maybe it’s “awesome” to be average.

YOU ARE AWESOME

Champion table tennis player Syed begins this encouragement book by chronicling his own story of how he grew up believing he was average until he began to master the sport.

The goal of this book is to help kids realize that they needn’t necessarily be born with a certain gift or talent—that maybe success is a combination of hard work, the right mentors, and a strong support system. In the chapter “What’s Holding Me Back?” Syed offers a variety of ways a young person can begin to reflect on who they really are and define what their true passion may be. The following chapters stress the importance of practice, coping with pressure, and honoring mistakes as human rather than failure. Throughout the book, Syed highlights those he terms “Famous Failures,” including Steve Jobs, Jay-Z, and Jennifer Lawrence, while also providing a spotlight for those who mastered their talent by perseverance, such as Serena Williams, the Brontë sisters, and David Beckham. Though this self-help book has good intentions, however, it is a little heavy-handed on the perpetuation of an achievement-oriented life. Perhaps it is also good to acknowledge that not everybody need aspire to someone else’s definition of greatness.

Maybe it’s “awesome” to be average. (Nonfiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8753-5

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for...

TWO MEN AND A CAR

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT, AL CAPONE, AND A CADILLAC V-8

A custom-built, bulletproof limo links two historical figures who were pre-eminent in more or less different spheres.

Garland admits that a claim that FDR was driven to Congress to deliver his “Day of Infamy” speech in a car that once belonged to Capone rests on shaky evidence. He nonetheless uses the anecdote as a launchpad for twin portraits of contemporaries who occupy unique niches in this country’s history but had little in common. Both were smart, ambitious New Yorkers and were young when their fathers died, but they definitely “headed in opposite directions.” As he fills his biographical sketches with standard-issue facts and has disappointingly little to say about the car itself (which was commissioned by Capone in 1928 and still survives), this outing seems largely intended to be a vehicle for the dark, heavy illustrations. These are done in muted hues with densely scratched surfaces and angled so that the two men, the period backgrounds against which they are posed, and the car have monumental looks. It’s a reach to bill this, as the author does, a “story about America,” but it does at least offer a study in contrasts featuring two of America’s most renowned citizens. Most of the human figures are white in the art, but some group scenes include a few with darker skin.

The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for thought. (timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-88448-620-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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