WHAT IF SOLDIERS FOUGHT WITH PILLOWS?

TRUE STORIES OF IMAGINATION AND COURAGE

Fifteen quirky, thoughtful what-if statements trace the history of lesser-known social activists and organizations.

Taking inspiration from J.K. Rowling—“We do not need magic to change the world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better”—Camlot ponders the power of imagination. Some people were not only able to envision a better world, they put their thoughts into action. Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector in World War II, carried a Bible instead of a weapon into battle. It’s not quite the pillows of the titular question, but it does paint the picture of a peaceful way to fight. “What if battlegrounds were soccer fields and spectators cheered for every team?” Les Éléphants of Ivory Coast brought their warring nation together when they qualified for the World Cup. “What if everybody showed up to a political party with their dancing shoes on?” A young Palestinian who dared to dance in spite of strict militant restrictions now shares his story to promote peace. Bloch’s cartoons extend the theme, depicting, for instance, the power of music to effect change with a picture of airlifted refugees clinging to a musical staff dangling from a helicopter. The uncluttered design—display type for the leading question, Bloch’s fanciful sketches, and one page of text per topic—make this an accessible, bite-sized look at powerful change.

Inspiring and hopeful. (glossary, endnotes, sources) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77147-362-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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With young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many.

GUTS

Young Raina is 9 when she throws up for the first time that she remembers, due to a stomach bug. Even a year later, when she is in fifth grade, she fears getting sick.

Raina begins having regular stomachaches that keep her home from school. She worries about sharing food with her friends and eating certain kinds of foods, afraid of getting sick or food poisoning. Raina’s mother enrolls her in therapy. At first Raina isn’t sure about seeing a therapist, but over time she develops healthy coping mechanisms to deal with her stress and anxiety. Her therapist helps her learn to ground herself and relax, and in turn she teaches her classmates for a school project. Amping up the green, wavy lines to evoke Raina’s nausea, Telgemeier brilliantly produces extremely accurate visual representations of stress and anxiety. Thought bubbles surround Raina in some panels, crowding her with anxious “what if”s, while in others her negative self-talk appears to be literally crushing her. Even as she copes with anxiety disorder and what is eventually diagnosed as mild irritable bowel syndrome, she experiences the typical stresses of school life, going from cheer to panic in the blink of an eye. Raina is white, and her classmates are diverse; one best friend is Korean American.

With young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many. (Graphic memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-545-85251-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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A good if limited starting guide.

THE KIDS' FAMILY TREE BOOK

Author Leavitt presents all the components of doing research into family history with easy-to-follow directions for a successful project.

The volume begins with clear definitions about genealogy and why it is important to study. It moves on to give practical tips on getting started and how to map a family tree. It introduces young readers to the important documents that can assist in gathering family facts and describes the information they provide. It gives solid directions for setting up interviews with family members and how to reach out to those who are far away. This is followed up with strategies for using online resources, including warnings on how to stay safe on social media. The work of tracing ancestors from their countries of origin can be daunting, but Leavitt gives some help in this area as well and explores the role geography can play in family stories. There is good advice for collecting oral histories, and the chapter on exploring “The Way They Were” will appeal to many, as will the concluding chapters on family reunions and keeping in touch. All of this is presented in an encouraging, upbeat tone. Sidebars, charts, illustrations, and photographs add to the accessibility. The major drawback is that it assumes a known biological lineage with heterosexual parentage; there is no mention of the unique issues adopted children and nontraditional families might have in trying to put some of the instructions into practice. A short section addresses the challenges that face African-American descendants of enslaved people.

A good if limited starting guide. (resources, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2320-6

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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