Inspiring.

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M IS FOR MOVEMENT

A fictionalized memoir depicts an Indonesian child developing consciousness of activism on both local and global scales.

In episodic chapters, the narrator, born in Indonesia to an Indonesian father and a possibly American mother, recounts their upbringing in Indonesia and their growing awareness of activism against a corrupt authoritarian regime. (The narrator, possibly assumed to be the author, is never indicated by gendered pronoun and similarly does not mention any ethnic identity markers of their mother.) Nagara introduces young readers to many political concepts, including corruption, collusion, and nepotism, juxtaposed with dissidence, free speech, and populism. While those in power are mostly represented by the sinister, unnamed “Minister,” readers may infer the time period from the “NO KKN” slogan protesting the New Order of the Suharto period and mentions of the Soweto uprising in South Africa and activist groups such as the Black Panthers and the American Indian Movement in the United States. Nagara introduces broader concepts of diversity using the example of multicultural Indonesia, celebrating unity while not shying away from discrimination against the ethnic Chinese or those falling outside traditional gender roles. The extremely ambitious text sometimes feels disjointed, especially within the framework of a story that is not exactly true, though is still a powerful narrative that encourages long-term awareness, work, sacrifice, and patience in order to effect change for all people.

Inspiring. (Fiction/memoir. 9-13)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-60980-935-5

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Triangle Square Books for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers.

DON'T READ THIS BOOK BEFORE BED

THRILLS, CHILLS, AND HAUNTINGLY TRUE STORIES

A compendium of paranormal doings, natural horrors, and eerie wonders worldwide and (in several senses) beyond.

Maladroit title aside (“…in Bed” would make more sense, cautionwise), this collection of hauntings, cryptids, natural and historical mysteries, and general titillation (“Vampire bats might be coming for you!”) offers a broad array of reasons to stay wide awake. Arranged in no discernible order the 60-plus entries include ghostly sightings in the White House and various castles, body-burrowing guinea worms, the Nazca lines of Peru, Mothman and Nessie, the hastily abandoned city of Pripyat (which, thanks to the Chernobyl disaster, may be habitable again…in 24,000 years), monarch-butterfly migrations, and diverse rains of fish, frogs, fireballs, and unidentified slime. Each is presented in a busy whirl of narrative blocks, photos, graphics, side comments, and arbitrary “Fright-O-Meter” ratings (Paris’ “Creepy Catacombs” earn just a “4” out of 10 and black holes a “3,” but the aforementioned aerial amphibians a full “10”). The headers tend toward the lurid: “Jelly From Space,” “Zombie Ants,” “Mongolian Death Worm.” Claybourne sprinkles multiple-choice pop quizzes throughout for changes of pace.

A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2841-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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THE ARABIAN NIGHTS

In a large, handsome format, Tarnowska offers six tales plus an abbreviated version of the frame story, retold in formal but contemporary language and sandwiched between a note on the Nights’ place in her childhood in Lebanon and a page of glossary and source notes. Rather than preserve the traditional embedded structure and cliffhanger cutoffs, she keeps each story discrete and tones down the sex and violence. This structure begs the question of why Shahriyar lets Shahrazade [sic] live if she tells each evening’s tale complete, but it serves to simplify the reading for those who want just one tale at a time. Only the opener, “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp,” is likely to be familiar to young readers; in others a prince learns to control a flying “Ebony Horse” by “twiddling” its ears, contending djinn argue whether “Prince Kamar el Zaman [or] Princess Boudour” is the more beautiful (the prince wins) and in a Cinderella tale a “Diamond Anklet” subs for the glass slipper. Hénaff’s stylized scenes of domed cityscapes and turbaned figures add properly whimsical visual notes to this short but animated gathering. (Folktales. 10-12)

 

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84686-122-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Barefoot

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2010

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