An engrossing religious and historical account that would make a valuable companion to a high school history unit on Joan of...

JOAN

A NOVEL OF JOAN OF ARC

Debut YA that fictionalizes the life of Joan of Arc.

Ng begins this tale in the early 1400s with the childhood of Joan of Arc. The story is told in the second person, with the narrator addressing St. Margaret of Antioch, who has returned from heaven years after her death to provide Joan with messages from St. Catherine and the archangel Michael. These biblical figures instruct Joan to leave her childhood home in Domremy and assist King Charles VII in rescuing the French from British dominion. When Joan finally travels to Chinon to see Charles, Margaret is her near-constant (but always invisible) companion. During Joan’s journey, Ng provides many interesting details about life in France during the 15th century, as well as the battle between the French and the English (now known as the Hundred Years’ War) that had been ongoing since 1337. When Joan reaches Chinon, she is laughed at for insisting that she join the fight. As a young girl in an extremely male-dominated era, Joan must exhibit tremendous perseverance, patience and wit before she can convince the king even to see her. After passing every test that Charles’ men throw at her, she is eventually embraced by the French monarchy. Joan soon leads the charge against the English, miraculously achieving multiple victories in battle. Ng takes great pains to show Joan’s humanity and compassion for the casualties of war on both sides. As the fighting continues, Ng portrays Joan’s capture by the British as well as her difficult trial in their courts. Throughout this harrowing period for Joan, St. Margaret offers her solace. Despite the unusual narration, Ng manages to draw readers to Joan’s side during her tribulations, and he creates sympathetic characters in both Joan and Margaret. Readers might hope that divine intervention will lead to a different outcome than in the true historical account.

An engrossing religious and historical account that would make a valuable companion to a high school history unit on Joan of Arc.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1497435933

Page Count: 233

Publisher: Three Daughters Press

Review Posted Online: July 6, 2014

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Wonderful, indeed

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THE WONDERFUL THINGS YOU WILL BE

A GROWING-UP POEM

A love song to baby with delightful illustrations to boot.

Sweet but not saccharine and singsong but not forced, Martin’s text is one that will invite rereadings as it affirms parental wishes for children while admirably keeping child readers at its heart. The lines that read “This is the first time / There’s ever been you, / So I wonder what wonderful things / You will do” capture the essence of the picture book and are accompanied by a diverse group of babies and toddlers clad in downright adorable outfits. Other spreads include older kids, too, and pictures expand on the open text to visually interpret the myriad possibilities and hopes for the depicted children. For example, a spread reading “Will you learn how to fly / To find the best view?” shows a bespectacled, school-aged girl on a swing soaring through an empty white background. This is just one spread in which Martin’s fearless embrace of the white of the page serves her well. Throughout the book, she maintains a keen balance of layout choices, and surprising details—zebras on the wallpaper behind a father cradling his child, a rock-’n’-roll band of mice paralleling the children’s own band called “The Missing Teeth”—add visual interest and gentle humor. An ideal title for the baby-shower gift bag and for any nursery bookshelf or lap-sit storytime.

Wonderful, indeed . (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37671-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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Essential.

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THIS BOOK IS ANTI-RACIST

20 LESSONS ON HOW TO WAKE UP, TAKE ACTION, AND DO THE WORK

A guidebook for taking action against racism.

The clear title and bold, colorful illustrations will immediately draw attention to this book, designed to guide each reader on a personal journey to work to dismantle racism. In the author’s note, Jewell begins with explanations about word choice, including the use of the terms “folx,” because it is gender neutral, and “global majority,” noting that marginalized communities of color are actually the majority in the world. She also chooses to capitalize Black, Brown, and Indigenous as a way of centering these communities’ voices; "white" is not capitalized. Organized in four sections—identity, history, taking action, and working in solidarity—each chapter builds on the lessons of the previous section. Underlined words are defined in the glossary, but Jewell unpacks concepts around race in an accessible way, bringing attention to common misunderstandings. Activities are included at the end of each chapter; they are effective, prompting both self-reflection and action steps from readers. The activities are designed to not be written inside the actual book; instead Jewell invites readers to find a special notebook and favorite pen and use that throughout. Combining the disruption of common fallacies, spotlights on change makers, the author’s personal reflections, and a call to action, this powerful book has something for all young people no matter what stage they are at in terms of awareness or activism.

Essential. (author’s note, further reading, glossary, select bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4521-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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