An adequate introduction to a remarkable 20th-century author.

ZORA

THE LIFE OF ZORA NEALE HURSTON

Zora Neale Hurston and her times come alive in this introduction for young readers.

Living in the all-black town of Eatonville, Fla., Zora Neale Hurston never had to face the racism of her times. She grew up proud and confident, believing “the moon followed her wherever she went.” Early on, she cultivated the dream of becoming a famous writer, and though she faced many obstacles along the way, she succeeded with Their Eyes Were Watching God, which has sold over five million copies and is now a fixture of high school and college curricula. The volume is nicely designed, and the many photographs (captions not seen) make it feel like a Hurston scrapbook, though there are too many pages of dense text unbroken by images. Somehow, though, Hurston’s odyssey—through the Harlem Renaissance and the Prohibition era, as well as through the South collecting stories from former slaves, lumber workers near the Everglades and voodoo practitioners in New Orleans—comes off as dry and not especially interesting. Audience is an issue, too, since the volume is aimed at young readers who won’t have heard of Hurston and won’t find books by her for their age group. A work aimed at an older teen audience might have better hit the mark.

An adequate introduction to a remarkable 20th-century author. (two folktales, timeline, source notes, bibliography, index) (Biography. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 078-0-547-00695-6

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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A handy and helpful guide for any aspiring web user.

HOW TO BE A BLOGGER AND VLOGGER IN 10 EASY LESSONS

LEARN HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN BLOG, VLOG, OR PODCAST AND GET IT OUT IN THE BLOGOSPHERE!

From the Super Skills series

Some popular forms of online self-expression get the how-to treatment.

This brisk read provides 10 lessons for those interested in bringing their voices to the internet, covering blogs, vlogs, podcasts, and everything that goes with them. The book expands upon these lessons in each chapter. For example, the “Record Your Podcast” chapter not only covers basic podcasting formats, but highlights the anatomy of a podcast, how long shows should be, theme-music development, and more. The instruction is nicely digestible for the target audience of enterprising preteens. (Their grandparents might also pick up wisdom here.) The book also features a section dedicated to internet safety, one all kids should read regardless of their online ambitions. The graphics and charts are serviceable, featuring racially diverse children and dutifully breaking up the chunks of text in a format that’s easy on the eyes. A chapter focused on developing audience is especially helpful to those looking to get their voices heard. But above all, the book positions online expression as equal to any other form of artistic expression: maintaining a web series is just as valid as photography or painting in the eyes of the book’s audience, and the author treats the subject as such without trying to talk down to readers or exaggerate. The lessons are taught in the best kind of way: the way that will get kids to listen.

A handy and helpful guide for any aspiring web user. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: July 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63322-105-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Walter Foster Jr.

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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An informative primer on how money functions that doesn’t trigger the dismal science’s snooze button.

DOLLARS & SENSE

A KID'S GUIDE TO USING—--NOT LOSING—--MONEY

A sporty guide to the wide, weird world of money.

Scott starts with the early forms of barter; when barter outgrew itself as the population increased: “things that were traded simply didn’t match up evenly. There was no common medium of exchange.” Those mediums came, in the form of salt, cowrie shells, wampum, feathers, and precious metals and gems. Buoyed by Clark’s comic, explicative ink drawings, Scott sallies on to cover the evolution of currency and economy, mediums of exchange and standards, and charts the evolution of banks (“ ‘Bank’ comes from the Italian word banco, meaning a long bench on which money changers set up shop”). Numerous sidebars serve as attending footnotes to cover such topics as personalities, Hammurabi’s Code, banking supervision, and the Dodd-Frank Act. It is too much to ask this brief introduction to get into the mechanics of banking, but some illustrative examples would have been heaven sent. For instance, what triggers inflation? That would have helped the latter discussions of recession and depression. But even at surface level, readers will follow the dominos and get a good grasp of debt. They will also take a long look at “The Government Steps In,” and especially the Troubled Assets Relief Program, and likely ask, how has that alleviated the banking situation?

An informative primer on how money functions that doesn’t trigger the dismal science’s snooze button. (glossary, resources, index) (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-58089-396-1

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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