A poetic, deeply felt coming-of-age story.

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BALCONY ON THE MOON

COMING OF AGE IN PALESTINE

This intense memoir paints a dark picture of growing up in Israeli-occupied Palestine, where “we are made to live with no land, no country, no rights, no safety, and no respect for our dignity.”

The author, a poet, picks up in 1971, where her earlier memoir, Tasting the Sky (2007), left off. She recounts her years from second grade through high school, dividing the book into five sections based on their different homes in Palestine. Told in a first-person, present-tense voice, the episodic narrative deftly combines personal and political events. Evocative details convey her family’s everyday life, in which her father’s despair looms large. A memorable chapter recounts his threat to kill himself by crashing his truck; the whole family insists on accompanying him on the ride. As she grows older, Barakat feels embattled as a Palestinian surrounded by soldiers and hampered as a girl by societal restrictions. Starting in seventh grade, she connects to the larger world through pen pals and then through an eminent magazine editor who encourages her writing. A top student, Barakat grows in knowledge and also compassion, evident when she tutors her strong-willed mother, who returns to high school. A pervasive sense of loss informs much of her childhood, with a growing realization that no promising future exists for her or her siblings in Palestine.

A poetic, deeply felt coming-of-age story. (resources) (Memoir. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-374-30251-1

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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A powerful reminder of a history that is all too timely today.

THEY CALLED US ENEMY

A beautifully heart-wrenching graphic-novel adaptation of actor and activist Takei’s (Lions and Tigers and Bears, 2013, etc.) childhood experience of incarceration in a World War II camp for Japanese Americans.

Takei had not yet started school when he, his parents, and his younger siblings were forced to leave their home and report to the Santa Anita Racetrack for “processing and removal” due to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066. The creators smoothly and cleverly embed the historical context within which Takei’s family’s story takes place, allowing readers to simultaneously experience the daily humiliations that they suffered in the camps while providing readers with a broader understanding of the federal legislation, lawsuits, and actions which led to and maintained this injustice. The heroes who fought against this and provided support to and within the Japanese American community, such as Fred Korematsu, the 442nd Regiment, Herbert Nicholson, and the ACLU’s Wayne Collins, are also highlighted, but the focus always remains on the many sacrifices that Takei’s parents made to ensure the safety and survival of their family while shielding their children from knowing the depths of the hatred they faced and danger they were in. The creators also highlight the dangerous parallels between the hate speech, stereotyping, and legislation used against Japanese Americans and the trajectory of current events. Delicate grayscale illustrations effectively convey the intense emotions and the stark living conditions.

A powerful reminder of a history that is all too timely today. (Graphic memoir. 14-adult)

Pub Date: July 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-60309-450-4

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Top Shelf Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 5, 2019

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A remarkable biography.

THE RISE AND FALL OF CHARLES LINDBERGH

The story of a flawed, complicated man.

The son of a distant Minnesota congressman and a demanding, well-educated mother, young Charles Lindbergh grew up shuttling among the family farm, his grandfather’s Detroit home, and Washington, D.C. Intelligent but uninterested in school, he began flying at age 19, getting involved in barnstorming and becoming an Air Service Reserve Corps officer. He used a combination of mechanical aptitude and moxie to successfully cross the Atlantic in a 1927 solo nonstop flight and was instantly propelled into worldwide celebrity. Success came at tremendous cost, however, when his infant son was kidnapped and murdered. Lindbergh was also his own enemy: His infatuation with eugenics led him into overt racism, open admiration for Hitler, and public denunciation of Jews. Fallen from grace, he nonetheless flew 50 clandestine combat missions in the South Pacific. He became an advocate for animal conservation but also had three secret families in addition to his acknowledged one. Fleming (Eleanor Roosevelt's in My Garage!, 2018, etc.) expertly sources and clearly details a comprehensive picture of a well-known, controversial man. Her frequent use of diaries allows much of the story to come through in Charles’ and his wife Anne’s own words. The man who emerges is hateable, pitiable, and admirable all at the same time, and this volume measures up to the best Lindbergh biographies for any audience.

A remarkable biography. (bibliography, source notes, picture credits, index) (Biography. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-64654-9

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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