A kid-friendly companion to Michael Pollan’s Food Rules (2011).

A MOOSE BOOSH

A FEW CHOICE WORDS ABOUT FOOD

Continuing the food themes from his picture-book illustration debut in Jacqueline Briggs Martin’s Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table (2013), Larkin here makes his authorial debut.

In 40-plus energetic poems, Larkin celebrates the good and decries the bad in the food world. Though individual poems might seem like amuse-bouches by themselves, they add up to a full meal, and the volume as a whole serves up a lively conversation about food. The collection takes a few jabs at the food industry. One poem laments the “small food desert in Harlem,” and another describes Ashley, who will only eat foods she can spell (and therefore can’t eat bread that contains azodicarbonamide). Grampa complains that there are “[t]oo many people touching my food” (referring to packers and shippers, processors and pickers, inspectors, store guys and baggers). It also encourages planting gardens, eating meals together and enjoying good food such as noodles: “Twirl them, whirl them, / slop them, slip them, / twist them, curl them, / whip them, flip them.” And if the poems’ rhythms don’t always roll off the tongue as easily as those noodles slide off a fork, the overall effect of the poetry and the mixed-media, graffiti-style art (inspired by Jean-Michel Basquiat) is exuberant: “Where there is food, there will be laughter (and crumbs).”

A kid-friendly companion to Michael Pollan’s Food Rules (2011). (Poetry. 10-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9836615-5-9

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Readers to Eaters

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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A beautiful, powerful reflection on a tragic history.

ON THE HORIZON

In spare verse, Lowry reflects on moments in her childhood, including the bombings of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. 

When she was a child, Lowry played at Waikiki Beach with her grandmother while her father filmed. In the old home movie, the USS Arizona appears through the mist on the horizon. Looking back at her childhood in Hawaii and then Japan, Lowry reflects on the bombings that began and ended a war and how they affected and connected everyone involved. In Part 1, she shares the lives and actions of sailors at Pearl Harbor. Part 2 is stories of civilians in Hiroshima affected by the bombing. Part 3 presents her own experience as an American in Japan shortly after the war ended. The poems bring the haunting human scale of war to the forefront, like the Christmas cards a sailor sent days before he died or the 4-year-old who was buried with his red tricycle after Hiroshima. All the personal stories—of sailors, civilians, and Lowry herself—are grounding. There is heartbreak and hope, reminding readers to reflect on the past to create a more peaceful future. Lowry uses a variety of poetry styles, identifying some, such as triolet and haiku. Pak’s graphite illustrations are like still shots of history, adding to the emotion and somber feeling. He includes some sailors of color among the mostly white U.S. forces; Lowry is white.

A beautiful, powerful reflection on a tragic history. (author’s note, bibliography) (Memoir/poetry. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-12940-0

Page Count: 80

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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An intimate novel that beautifully confronts grief and loss.

RED, WHITE, AND WHOLE

It’s 1983, and 13-year-old Indian American Reha feels caught between two worlds.

Monday through Friday, she goes to a school where she stands out for not being White but where she has a weekday best friend, Rachel, and does English projects with potential crush Pete. On the weekends, she’s with her other best friend, Sunita (Sunny for short), at gatherings hosted by her Indian community. Reha feels frustrated that her parents refuse to acknowledge her Americanness and insist on raising her with Indian values and habits. Then, on the night of the middle school dance, her mother is admitted to the hospital, and Reha’s world is split in two again: this time, between hospital and home. Suddenly she must learn not just how to be both Indian and American, but also how to live with her mother’s leukemia diagnosis. The sections dealing with Reha’s immigrant identity rely on oft-told themes about the overprotectiveness of immigrant parents and lack the nuance found in later pages. Reha’s story of her evolving relationships with her parents, however, feels layered and real, and the scenes in which Reha must grapple with the possible loss of a parent are beautifully and sensitively rendered. The sophistication of the text makes it a valuable and thought-provoking read even for those older than the protagonist.

An intimate novel that beautifully confronts grief and loss. (Verse novel. 11-15)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-304742-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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