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



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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An upbeat view of innovations in modern living.



Making a special, unique, even personal mark on a neighborhood can have benefits for all.

It took thousands of years of human existence, from nomadic life to town or city dwelling, to create a sense of neighborhood. Then modern suburban life and urban blight seemed, at least partially, to break it down. Mulder posits that people, especially kids, have the power to rebuild that sense of neighborhood that so many generations knew. Readers are provided with copious examples of inventive and often brilliant ideas that have been implemented from locations around the world. There are pocket parks and gardens created in parking spots and other small spaces. Block parties, community festivals, street painting, pedestrian malls, knitters’ corners, lending libraries, self-serve sharing stations, and many more community-building efforts are presented, almost all of which are the ideas of ordinary adults and children. These innovations are sometimes faced with initial opposition from neighbors concerned with noise or crowds or from officials, as in “That’s public space—so no one can use it!” Loosely themed chapters offer brief explorations of each special place, illustrated with color photos. Scattered on the pages are sidebars with historic facts as well as places created in the author’s own city of Victoria, British Columbia. Throughout, readers are encouraged to run with their own place-making ideas in their own communities.

An upbeat view of innovations in modern living. (resources, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1691-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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Il était une fois…” French Canada’s version of beanstalk-climbing Jack gets a rare outing in three tales refashioned from old sources by a veteran storyteller. Preserving the lightest touch of a French inflection—“Cric, crac, / Parli, parlons, parlo. / If you won’t listen, / Out you go”—Andrews sets her naïve but teachable everylad up against a trio of opponents. There is a grasping princess who tricks him out of a magic belt, moneybag and trumpet; a murderous little man who sets him on numerous impossible tasks after beating him at marbles; and a harsh seigneur who insists on chucking his intellectual daughter’s suitors into the dungeon when they prove to be less clever than she. Thanks to hard work, a little magic and a winning way with the ladies, Ti-Jean ultimately comes out on top in each episode while never allowing lasting harm to come to anyone and is ever magnanimous in victory. Illustrated with frequent scribbly, lighthearted ink-and-wash scenes and vignettes, these stories read with equal ease silently or aloud and offer a winning introduction to a universal folk character. Equally charming is the source note, in which Andrews describes the origins of the tales and how she worked with them. “Sac-à-tabac, / Sac-à-tabi. / The story’s ended, / C’est fini.(Folktales. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-88899-952-8

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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