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THE FREEDOM SUMMER MURDERS

Essential. (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Awards & Accolades

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    Best Books Of 2014


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A 50th-anniversary examination of the Mississippi murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner and their aftermath.

An introduction describes the legally entrenched racism of Mississippi and the inception of the Freedom Summer campaign. Following this, Mitchell drops readers right in with the events that led up to the murder of the three young men, evoking the hostility and fear that covered Neshoba County like a blanket. He pulls back to sketch the victims’ biographies in separate chapters, then takes readers through the investigation and the steps toward the 1967 trial that infamously failed to deliver justice. That account alone, illustrated with ample archival photographs and memorabilia, makes riveting reading. He clearly states the legal intricacies and thoroughly incorporates the players’ own voices, with often breathtaking effect: “They killed one nigger, one Jew, and a white man. I gave them all what I thought they deserved,” said the presiding judge later. Mitchell takes the story into the present day, describing how the families of the victims continue to fight for civil rights and how both locals and state officials kept the case alive, simultaneously working toward legal and emotional resolution. He leaves open the question whether now “the killing of a black mother’s son is as important as the killing of a white mother’s son”—but the country is getting closer to that goal. The book includes a map, endnotes, bibliographic essay, bibliography and index.

Essential. (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 29, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-47725-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

ENDANGERED

From the Ape Quartet series , Vol. 1

Congolese-American Sophie makes a harrowing trek through a war-torn jungle to protect a young bonobo.

On her way to spend the summer at the bonobo sanctuary her mother runs, 14-year-old Sophie rescues a sickly baby bonobo from a trafficker. Though her Congolese mother is not pleased Sophie paid for the ape, she is proud that Sophie works to bond with Otto, the baby. A week before Sophie's to return home to her father in Miami, her mother must take advantage
of a charter flight to relocate some apes, and she leaves Sophie with Otto and the sanctuary workers. War breaks out, and after missing a U.N. flight out, Sophie must hide herself and Otto from violent militants and starving villagers. Unable to take Otto out of the country, she decides finding her mother hundreds of miles to the north is her only choice. Schrefer jumps from his usual teen suspense to craft this well-researched tale of jungle survival set during a fictional conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Realistic characters (ape and human) deal with disturbing situations described in graphic, but never gratuitous detail. The lessons Sophie learns about her childhood home, love and what it means to be endangered will resonate with readers.

Even if some hairbreadth escapes test credulity, this is a great next read for fans of our nearest ape cousins or survival adventure. (map, author's note, author Q&A) (Adventure. 12-16)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-16576-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

HOW TO FEEL GOOD

20 THINGS TEENS CAN DO

Unhappy teens in need of a lecture on thinking positively and being more in touch with one’s emotions need look no further.

Mangan presents in as many chapters a 20-point strategy that ranges from “Have a Positive Attitude” and “Cut Your Problems Into Pieces” to “Practice Being Patient” and “Appreciate the Value of Your Hard Work.” She blends private exercises like visualizing forgiveness with comments on selective attention, “problematic procrastination” and other bad habits, reframing situations to put them in different lights, “changing shoes” to understand others better and subjecting feelings to rational analysis. Though the author has a graduate degree and years of practice in clinical psychology, she offers generalities and generic situations rather than specific cases from her experience, and the book is devoid of references to further resources or even an index. Superficial advice (“If you are unsafe or are around kids that you know are bullies, just walk away”) combines with techniques that are unlikely to interest readers (“Make a song verse out of your list of helpful thoughts”). The author also makes questionable claims about the mind-body connection (“When you smile, your body sends a signal to your brain that you are happy”) and fails to make a case for regarding side forays into food habits and environmental concerns as relevant to her topic. Obvious issues and common-sense advice, unpersuasively presented. (Self-help. 12-15)

 

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4338-1040-4

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Magination/American Psychological Association

Review Posted Online: Aug. 9, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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