GARY PAULSEN

AUTHOR AND WILDERNESS ADVENTURER

In an above-average entry to an established series and a useful, modestly engaging biography, the author demonstrates that a careful, close reading of the Paulsen oeuvre and the judicious mining of selected biographical details can be shaped into an involving read. Fine (Under the Lemon Moon, 1999) clearly has read most of Paulsen’s autobiographical adult work, notably Eastern Sun Winter Moon (1993), though she assiduously avoids any overt references to alcohol use, sexuality, or violence and skips the scatological details so vividly presented in such juvenile works as Harris and Me (1993). Despite the well-laundered “life,” though, Fine does truly get Paulsen’s essence, and she effectively communicates the immense appeal he holds—especially for teenage boys. She marches the reader smartly through Paulsen’s life to date and makes efficient use of his interviews, speeches, and letters. However, those expecting a unique take on his career or aesthetic will need to look elsewhere. Any insights here are Paulsen’s own. Paulsen’s life experiences and distinctive voice come through loud and clear and both are central to this biography’s readability. Anyone new to Paulsen and his work will find a clearly blazed trail to map future reading, while Paulsen’s fans will experience an acute desire to reach for a favorite book. Libraries that experience heavy requests for author biographies or YA author criticism may want to stock up. Unfortunately, the high price and short discount may make multiples prohibitive. Still, those seeking a single monograph on this popular ALA/YALSA Margaret Edwards Award–winner will find this a useful resource. To be illustrated with black and white photos. (Index, notes, Web sites, bibliography) (Biography. 12+)

Pub Date: May 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7660-1146-1

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Enslow

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2000

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A powerful reminder of a history that is all too timely today.

THEY CALLED US ENEMY

A beautifully heart-wrenching graphic-novel adaptation of actor and activist Takei’s (Lions and Tigers and Bears, 2013, etc.) childhood experience of incarceration in a World War II camp for Japanese Americans.

Takei had not yet started school when he, his parents, and his younger siblings were forced to leave their home and report to the Santa Anita Racetrack for “processing and removal” due to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066. The creators smoothly and cleverly embed the historical context within which Takei’s family’s story takes place, allowing readers to simultaneously experience the daily humiliations that they suffered in the camps while providing readers with a broader understanding of the federal legislation, lawsuits, and actions which led to and maintained this injustice. The heroes who fought against this and provided support to and within the Japanese American community, such as Fred Korematsu, the 442nd Regiment, Herbert Nicholson, and the ACLU’s Wayne Collins, are also highlighted, but the focus always remains on the many sacrifices that Takei’s parents made to ensure the safety and survival of their family while shielding their children from knowing the depths of the hatred they faced and danger they were in. The creators also highlight the dangerous parallels between the hate speech, stereotyping, and legislation used against Japanese Americans and the trajectory of current events. Delicate grayscale illustrations effectively convey the intense emotions and the stark living conditions.

A powerful reminder of a history that is all too timely today. (Graphic memoir. 14-adult)

Pub Date: July 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-60309-450-4

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Top Shelf Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 5, 2019

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This deeply personal and boldly political offering inspires and ignites.

THIS IS WHAT I KNOW ABOUT ART

From the Pocket Change Collective series

Curator, author, and activist Drew shares her journey as an artist and the lessons she has learned along the way.

Drew uses her own story to show how deeply intertwined activism and the arts can be. Her choices in college were largely overshadowed by financial need, but a paid summer internship at the Studio Museum in Harlem became a formative experience that led her to major in art history. The black artists who got her interested in the field were conspicuously absent in the college curriculum, however, as was faculty support, so she turned her frustration into action by starting her own blog to boost the work of black artists. After college, Drew’s work in several arts organizations, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, only deepened her commitment to making the art world more accessible to people of color and other marginalized groups, such as people with disabilities, and widening the scope of who is welcomed there. Drew narrates deeply personal experiences of frustration, triumph, progress, learning, and sometimes-uncomfortable growth in a conversational tone that draws readers in, showing how her specific lens enabled her to accomplish the work she has done but ultimately inviting readers to add their own contributions, however small, to both art and protest.

This deeply personal and boldly political offering inspires and ignites. (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09518-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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