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From the Show Me History! series

An uncritical account.

In this graphic biography, Libby (the future Statue of Liberty, depicted as a young Black woman) and the future Uncle Sam (a young White man) narrate the life story of Mohandas K. Gandhi, India’s most famous freedom fighter.

The book begins with Gandhi’s birth in 1860s India, at the time under British rule. Young Gandhi’s highly religious mother instilled in him a dedication to Hinduism that would famously last his entire life. The book continues with a description of Gandhi’s wedding to Kasturba Makanji at the age of 13, his departure to England to study law, and his eventual move to South Africa. In South Africa, Gandhi developed the tactics that would make him famous in India, including the practices of satyagraha and ahimsa—truth seeking and nonviolence, respectively—and the founding of ashrams where he could live a life of simplicity. Following a survey of Gandhi’s leadership in the Indian independence movement, such as the founding of the noncooperation movement and the organization of salt marches, the book ends with Gandhi’s assassination and his influence on civil rights movements throughout modern history. While the book is thorough, it is entirely laudatory, never addressing Gandhi’s well-documented early anti-Blackness or his misogyny. Additionally, while the book mentions leaders Jawaharlal Nehru and Muhammad Ali Jinnah, it mentions no female or Dalit leaders, erasing the contributions of hundreds of freedom fighters who made Indian independence possible. Series companion Frida Kahlo: The Revolutionary Painter! publishes simultaneously.

An uncritical account. (Graphic biography. 10-15)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64517-409-7

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Portable Press

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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From the They Did What? series

A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats.

Why should grown-ups get all the historical, scientific, athletic, cinematic, and artistic glory?

Choosing exemplars from both past and present, Mitchell includes but goes well beyond Alexander the Great, Anne Frank, and like usual suspects to introduce a host of lesser-known luminaries. These include Shapur II, who was formally crowned king of Persia before he was born, Indian dancer/professional architect Sheila Sri Prakash, transgender spokesperson Jazz Jennings, inventor Param Jaggi, and an international host of other teen or preteen activists and prodigies. The individual portraits range from one paragraph to several pages in length, and they are interspersed with group tributes to, for instance, the Nazi-resisting “Swingkinder,” the striking New York City newsboys, and the marchers of the Birmingham Children’s Crusade. Mitchell even offers would-be villains a role model in Elagabalus, “boy emperor of Rome,” though she notes that he, at least, came to an awful end: “Then, then! They dumped his remains in the Tiber River, to be nommed by fish for all eternity.” The entries are arranged in no evident order, and though the backmatter includes multiple booklists, a personality quiz, a glossary, and even a quick Braille primer (with Braille jokes to decode), there is no index. Still, for readers whose fires need lighting, there’s motivational kindling on nearly every page.

A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats. (finished illustrations not seen) (Collective biography. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-14-751813-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Puffin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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A rich and deeply felt slice of life.

Crafting fantasy worlds offers a budding middle school author relief and distraction from the real one in this graphic memoir debut.

Everyone in Tori’s life shows realistic mixes of vulnerability and self-knowledge while, equally realistically, seeming to be making it up as they go. At least, as she shuttles between angrily divorced parents—dad becoming steadily harder to reach, overstressed mom spectacularly incapable of reading her offspring—or drifts through one wearingly dull class after another, she has both vivacious bestie Taylor Lee and, promisingly, new classmate Nick as well as the (all-girl) heroic fantasy, complete with portals, crystal amulets, and evil enchantments, taking shape in her mind and on paper. The flow of school projects, sleepovers, heart-to-heart conversations with Taylor, and like incidents (including a scene involving Tori’s older brother, who is having a rough adolescence, that could be seen as domestic violence) turns to a tide of change as eighth grade winds down and brings unwelcome revelations about friends. At least the story remains as solace and, at the close, a sense that there are still chapters to come in both worlds. Working in a simple, expressive cartoon style reminiscent of Raina Telgemeier’s, Sharp captures facial and body language with easy naturalism. Most people in the spacious, tidily arranged panels are White; Taylor appears East Asian, and there is diversity in background characters.

A rich and deeply felt slice of life. (afterword, design notes) (Graphic memoir. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-53889-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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