Though Andraka’s test and other inventions remain years away from real-world use, his evident delight in science and his...

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BREAKTHROUGH

HOW ONE TEEN INNOVATOR IS CHANGING THE WORLD

Meet the gay geeky high school genius who won top prize at the world’s most prestigious science fair with a revolutionary test for early signs of pancreatic cancer.

Andraka organizes his memoir around two main strands. One is the string of middle and high school science-fair triumphs in various fields leading to and beyond his 2012 win at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. The other is his progress from “What is wrong with me?” to inner acceptance and public coming out. For the former, he points to supportive parents and sibling competition as initial influences, and the death of a revered family friend from pancreatic cancer is the impulse for his interest in finding a cheap and reliable diagnostic test. For the latter strand, he charts a familiar course, in which growing confusion and self-doubt exacerbated by bullying in middle school led to a suicide attempt—but culminated in an announcement and enough self-possession to cope with the resultant flack. Having described his major projects and research before and after 2012 with the glib clarity of a true science-fair veteran, he leaves off partway through his junior year with a stimulating flurry of further notions. He then tacks on ten low-tech science experiments, several math tricks, and quick leads to anti-bullying, LGBTQ, and suicide-awareness resources.

Though Andraka’s test and other inventions remain years away from real-world use, his evident delight in science and his rocky adolescence furnish plenty of role-model material—and not just for STEM savants. (Memoir. 11-15)

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-236965-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

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Sympathetic in tone, optimistic in outlook, not heavily earnest: nothing to be afraid of.

SCARED STIFF

50 PHOBIAS THAT FREAK US OUT

Part browsing item, part therapy for the afflicted, this catalog of irrational terrors offers a little help along with a lot of pop psychology and culture.

The book opens with a clinical psychologist’s foreword and closes with a chapter of personal and professional coping strategies. In between, Latta’s alphabetically arranged encyclopedia introduces a range of panic-inducers from buttons (“koumpounophobia”) and being out of cellphone contact (“nomophobia”) to more widespread fears of heights (“acrophobia”), clowns (“coulroiphobia”) and various animals. There’s also the generalized “social anxiety disorder”—which has no medical name but is “just its own bad self.” As most phobias have obscure origins (generally in childhood), similar physical symptoms and the same approaches to treatment, the descriptive passages tend toward monotony. To counter that, the author chucks in references aplenty to celebrity sufferers, annotated lists of relevant books and (mostly horror) movies, side notes on “joke phobias” and other topics. At each entry’s end, she contributes a box of “Scare Quotes” such as a passage from Coraline for the aforementioned fear of buttons.

Sympathetic in tone, optimistic in outlook, not heavily earnest: nothing to be afraid of. (end notes, resource list) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-936976-49-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Zest Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist.

MAYA LIN

THINKING WITH HER HANDS

One of the world’s most celebrated creators of civic architecture is profiled in this accessible, engaging biography.

Similar in style and format to her Everybody Paints!: The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family (2014) and Wideness and Wonder: The Life and Art of Georgia O’Keeffe (2011), Rubin’s well-researched profile examines the career, creative processes, and career milestones of Maya Lin. Rubin discusses at length Lin’s most famous achievement, designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Chinese-American Lin was a reserved college student who entered and won the competition to design and build the memorial. Her youth and ethnicity were subjects of great controversy, and Rubin discusses how Lin fought to ensure her vision of the memorial remained intact. Other notable works by Lin, including the Civil Rights Memorial for the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, a library and chapel for the Children’s Defense Fund, the Museum of Chinese in America, and the outdoor Wave Field project are examined but not in as much depth as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Attractively designed, the book is illustrated extensively with color photos and drawings.

An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist. (bibliography, source notes, index) (Biography. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0837-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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