B. FRANKLIN, PRINTER

“Benjamin Franklin was a singular man with a keen mind that ‘soared above the clouds.’ ” Franklin was the only person to sign the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Treaty of Alliance with France, and the Treaty of Paris to end the revolutionary war. He was a scientist, an inventor, a statesman, and a writer. Proud of his working-class roots, Franklin humbly referred to himself as a printer, hence the title Adler (Andy Russell, Not Wanted by the Police, p. 1352, etc.) has chosen. This attractive work is packed with good information and reproductions of maps, drawings, engravings, paintings, letters, and excerpts from The Pennsylvania Gazette, all diligently attributed to their sources. Adler emphasizes Franklin’s life prior to the revolution, and then does an excellent job of tracing his philosophical shift from believer in the unity of the empire to key player in the movement for independence. It was Franklin who suggested the line “We hold these truths to be self-evident” for the Declaration of Independence. Unfortunately, the author’s writing does not equal the quality of the format and design. While Franklin’s mind soars, the prose drags, reading more like a school report than the lively narrative it might have been. Still, it will be valuable to young report writers and, as a study of a popular subject, should find a wide audience. Extensive source notes are included, though curiously no references for young readers are provided. (chronologies, bibliography, Web sites, illustration credits, index) (Biography. 9+)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2001

ISBN: 0-8234-1675-5

Page Count: 126

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2001

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A likable journey that is sensitive to the triumphs and agonies of being a 13-year-old girl.

FRIENDS FOREVER

From the Friends series , Vol. 3

Shannon just wants to get through eighth grade in one piece—while feeling like her own worst enemy.

In this third entry in popular author for young people Hale’s graphic memoir series, the young, sensitive overachiever is crushed by expectations: to be cool but loyal to her tightknit and dramatic friend group, a top student but not a nerd, attractive to boys but true to her ideals. As events in Shannon’s life begin to overwhelm her, she works toward finding a way to love and understand herself, follow her passions for theater and writing, and ignore her cruel inner voice. Capturing the visceral embarrassments of middle school in 1987 Salt Lake City, Shannon’s emotions are vivid and often excruciating. In particular, the social norms of a church-oriented family are clearly addressed, and religion is shown as being both a comfort and a struggle for Shannon. While the text is sometimes in danger of spelling things out a little too neatly and obviously, the emotional honesty and sincerity drawn from Hale’s own life win out. Pham’s artwork is vibrant and appealing, with stylistic changes for Shannon’s imaginings and the leeching out of color and use of creative panel structures as her anxiety and depression worsen.

A likable journey that is sensitive to the triumphs and agonies of being a 13-year-old girl. (author's note, gallery) (Graphic memoir. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-31755-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats.

50 IMPRESSIVE KIDS AND THEIR AMAZING (AND TRUE!) STORIES

From the They Did What? series

Why should grown-ups get all the historical, scientific, athletic, cinematic, and artistic glory?

Choosing exemplars from both past and present, Mitchell includes but goes well beyond Alexander the Great, Anne Frank, and like usual suspects to introduce a host of lesser-known luminaries. These include Shapur II, who was formally crowned king of Persia before he was born, Indian dancer/professional architect Sheila Sri Prakash, transgender spokesperson Jazz Jennings, inventor Param Jaggi, and an international host of other teen or preteen activists and prodigies. The individual portraits range from one paragraph to several pages in length, and they are interspersed with group tributes to, for instance, the Nazi-resisting “Swingkinder,” the striking New York City newsboys, and the marchers of the Birmingham Children’s Crusade. Mitchell even offers would-be villains a role model in Elagabalus, “boy emperor of Rome,” though she notes that he, at least, came to an awful end: “Then, then! They dumped his remains in the Tiber River, to be nommed by fish for all eternity.” The entries are arranged in no evident order, and though the backmatter includes multiple booklists, a personality quiz, a glossary, and even a quick Braille primer (with Braille jokes to decode), there is no index. Still, for readers whose fires need lighting, there’s motivational kindling on nearly every page.

A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats. (finished illustrations not seen) (Collective biography. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-14-751813-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Puffin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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