Change is difficult, especially if you are trying to right an injustice, but this manual helps readers past excuses.

PUTTING PEACE FIRST

7 COMMITMENTS TO CHANGE THE WORLD

A handbook encouraging young people to make a difference right now, no matter their ages.

Dawson, co-founder of the global nonprofit Peace First, which invests in young peacemakers’ ideas, knows about putting peace into action. He details the steps to be taken and emotional support needed on a peacemaker’s journey. The majority of the book describes the seven commitments that Dawson believes are essential to becoming a peacemaker. These lean heavily into one another, and they’re made distinct by individual examples of young peacemakers’ own stories of change. Issues of cyberbullying, gun violence, and attacks on immigrant students are ones that are faced in these pages and also every day in schools around the world. By internalizing the seven commitments, standing up, and taking action—choosing to put peace first—Dawson argues, the world could change, one student at a time. These anecdotes are inspirational, but Dawson also includes a practical starting guide for any readers who need concrete steps on how to begin to think and plan for change. Dawson is careful to point out (the seventh commitment is “Keep Trying,” and the epilogue is aptly named “Pending Disasters”) that nothing is perfect.

Change is difficult, especially if you are trying to right an injustice, but this manual helps readers past excuses. (index) (Nonfiction. 10-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-101-99733-8

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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A rich and deeply felt slice of life.

JUST PRETEND

Crafting fantasy worlds offers a budding middle school author relief and distraction from the real one in this graphic memoir debut.

Everyone in Tori’s life shows realistic mixes of vulnerability and self-knowledge while, equally realistically, seeming to be making it up as they go. At least, as she shuttles between angrily divorced parents—dad becoming steadily harder to reach, overstressed mom spectacularly incapable of reading her offspring—or drifts through one wearingly dull class after another, she has both vivacious bestie Taylor Lee and, promisingly, new classmate Nick as well as the (all-girl) heroic fantasy, complete with portals, crystal amulets, and evil enchantments, taking shape in her mind and on paper. The flow of school projects, sleepovers, heart-to-heart conversations with Taylor, and like incidents (including a scene involving Tori’s older brother, who is having a rough adolescence, that could be seen as domestic violence) turns to a tide of change as eighth grade winds down and brings unwelcome revelations about friends. At least the story remains as solace and, at the close, a sense that there are still chapters to come in both worlds. Working in a simple, expressive cartoon style reminiscent of Raina Telgemeier’s, Sharp captures facial and body language with easy naturalism. Most people in the spacious, tidily arranged panels are White; Taylor appears East Asian, and there is diversity in background characters.

A rich and deeply felt slice of life. (afterword, design notes) (Graphic memoir. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-53889-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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A powerful resource for young people itching for change.

WOLFPACK (YOUNG READERS EDITION)

HOW YOUNG PEOPLE WILL FIND THEIR VOICE, UNITE THEIR PACK, AND CHANGE THE WORLD

Soccer star and activist Wambach adapts Wolfpack (2019), her New York Times bestseller for adults, for a middle-grade audience.

YOU. ARE. THE. WOLVES.” That rallying cry, each word proudly occupying its own line on the page, neatly sums up the fierce determination Wambach demands of her audience. The original Wolfpack was an adaptation of the viral 2018 commencement speech she gave at Barnard College; in her own words, it was “a directive to unleash [the graduates’] individuality, unite the collective, and change the world.” This new adaption takes the themes of the original and recasts them in kid-friendly terms, the call to action feeling more relevant now than ever. With the exception of the introduction and closing remarks, each short chapter presents a new leadership philosophy, dishing out such timeless advice as “Be grateful and ambitious”; “Make failure your fuel”; “Champion each other”; and “Find your pack.” Chapters utilize “rules” as a framing device. The first page of each presents a generalized “old” and “new” rule pertaining to that chapter’s guiding principle, and each chapter closes with a “Call to the Wolfpack” that sums up those principles in more specific terms. Some parts of the book come across as somewhat quixotic or buzzword-heavy, but Wambach deftly mitigates much of the preachiness with a bluff, congenial tone and refreshing dashes of self-deprecating humor. Personal anecdotes help ground each of the philosophies in applicability, and myriad heavy issues are respectfully, yet simply broached.

A powerful resource for young people itching for change. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-76686-1

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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