BERENICE ABBOTT, PHOTOGRAPHER

AN INDEPENDENT VISION

Berenice Abbott was a “fierce champion of photographic realism.” Though a renowned portrait photographer in Paris in the late 1920s, her landmark accomplishment was her Changing New York series, documenting the growth of New York City in the 1930s. This gorgeously produced volume is a fine celebration of the work of an important American artist. Beautifully reproduced photographs, many full-page, are a record of Abbott’s work and are, at the same time, a cultural history for young readers. The prose is lively and engaging, clearly the work of a writer passionate about his subject. Sullivan does a fine job of recreating the political and artistic temperament of the times and presenting the life of a woman who pursued her art with determination and courage. Extensive source notes and bibliography round out a fascinating volume that will introduce Abbott to young readers. A fine companion to Elizabeth Partridge’s Restless Spirit: The Life and Work of Dorothea Lange (1998) and Susan Goldman Rubin’s Margaret Bourke-White (1999). (acknowledgments, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 15, 2006

ISBN: 0-618-44026-7

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2006

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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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WALT WHITMAN

A BIOGRAPHY

Walt Whitman is a rich subject for biography: a long and peripatetic life; jobs that ranged from schoolteacher to printer to Civil War hospital nurse; famed as a journalist, essayist, and above all as a poet. Veteran and much-honored writer Meltzer (Piracy and Plunder, 2001, etc.) does him justice in this readable biography. In every chapter, he places Whitman in the context of his age, from his birth in 1819 on Long Island and his move to Brooklyn, to his journeys during the Civil War, his work in Washington D.C., and his old age in Camden, New Jersey. Meltzer doesn’t stint at the complications of Whitman’s life: his stern and possibly abusive father; his own homosexuality; and his constant search for reliable income. But what he does so elegantly in this study is capture Whitman’s restless spirit and how it both reflected and contradicted the intellectual currents of his time. This is a beautifully designed volume, too, with copious photographs and the color green used to accent chapter headings, page numbers, and so on. Several of Whitman’s best-known poems are excerpted as well. A worthy tribute. (Biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7613-2272-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Millbrook

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2002

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