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THE CIRCUIT GRAPHIC NOVEL

A poignant, beautiful story of family, endurance, and appreciation.

A young Mexican immigrant tells the story of his family and the lives of other migrant farm workers in this graphic novel adaptation of a classic 1997 memoir that won multiple awards.

Panchito, whose family left the Guadalajara area and crossed la frontera in the late 1940s, is growing up with his parents and five siblings. As the seasons pass, they move around California—Selma, Visalia, Bakersfield, Corcoran, and Santa Maria, among other places—finding work picking different crops. Panchito’s story unfolds in chronologically arranged, self-contained short stories, and readers follow the family through their circuit, from picking cotton and strawberries to topping carrots and thinning lettuce. They experience significant sorrows, such as when baby Torito ends up near death due to a lack of health care. The narrative doesn’t dwell on these moments, instead sharing the truth of hardship: that even where there’s sadness, there’s also joy to be found. Panchito’s time with older brother Roberto, the advice he receives from his mamá, and little moments with his friends allow readers to experience life’s simple pleasures alongside the family’s struggles. The exquisite illustrations are warm and weathered, perfectly complementing the emotional storytelling and evoking the mid-20th-century setting. Each person introduced serves a purpose, adding greater insights into Panchito’s life, and carefully relayed sensory details and seamlessly integrated Spanish words pull readers into the setting. The touching author’s note helps frame the memoir and its significance.

A poignant, beautiful story of family, endurance, and appreciation. (glossary) (Graphic memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 26, 2024

ISBN: 9780358348214

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Clarion/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2024

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CHARLOTTE'S WEB

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

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A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

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  • Coretta Scott King Book Award Winner


  • National Book Award Winner


  • Newbery Honor Book

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BROWN GIRL DREAMING

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

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A multiaward–winning author recalls her childhood and the joy of becoming a writer.

Writing in free verse, Woodson starts with her 1963 birth in Ohio during the civil rights movement, when America is “a country caught / / between Black and White.” But while evoking names such as Malcolm, Martin, James, Rosa and Ruby, her story is also one of family: her father’s people in Ohio and her mother’s people in South Carolina. Moving south to live with her maternal grandmother, she is in a world of sweet peas and collards, getting her hair straightened and avoiding segregated stores with her grandmother. As the writer inside slowly grows, she listens to family stories and fills her days and evenings as a Jehovah’s Witness, activities that continue after a move to Brooklyn to reunite with her mother. The gift of a composition notebook, the experience of reading John Steptoe’s Stevie and Langston Hughes’ poetry, and seeing letters turn into words and words into thoughts all reinforce her conviction that “[W]ords are my brilliance.” Woodson cherishes her memories and shares them with a graceful lyricism; her lovingly wrought vignettes of country and city streets will linger long after the page is turned.

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-25251-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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