The visual element gives this memoir particular immediacy for audiences who “don’t understand what is happening right now,...

CHILD SOLDIER

WHEN BOYS AND GIRLS ARE USED IN WAR

From the CitizenKid series

An ex–child soldier tells his horrifying tale, beginning with being kidnapped at the age of 5 and forced to kill his best friend.

Graphic in format but not detail, co-author Chikwanine’s narrative begins with his arrival in Canada, then flashes back to the early 1990s and happy childhood days in the Democratic Republic of Congo. These quickly end in terror as a ragged band of militia snatch him up with schoolmates, blindfold him, put a gun in his hands, and cajole him into pulling the trigger. “Your family will never take you back now. We are your only family.” He escapes and discovers otherwise, but the trauma stays with him through flight to a refugee camp in Uganda and immigration to a strange, snowy country. In her large, paneled illustrations Dávila steers clear of explicit violence, using facial expressions to convey vividly the rebels’ brutality, the shock of their child captives, and the narrator’s emotional scars. His initial impression that North America’s young people seem preoccupied by trivial concerns ultimately broadens into a hopeful note as he goes on to become a speaker and activist. Further information about his work, plus a Q-and-A about child soldiers worldwide and annotated lists of organizations and other resources close this affecting but not strident call to action.

The visual element gives this memoir particular immediacy for audiences who “don’t understand what is happening right now, to kids just like them.” (Graphic memoir. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-77138-126-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: April 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

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A beautiful, powerful reflection on a tragic history.

ON THE HORIZON

In spare verse, Lowry reflects on moments in her childhood, including the bombings of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. 

When she was a child, Lowry played at Waikiki Beach with her grandmother while her father filmed. In the old home movie, the USS Arizona appears through the mist on the horizon. Looking back at her childhood in Hawaii and then Japan, Lowry reflects on the bombings that began and ended a war and how they affected and connected everyone involved. In Part 1, she shares the lives and actions of sailors at Pearl Harbor. Part 2 is stories of civilians in Hiroshima affected by the bombing. Part 3 presents her own experience as an American in Japan shortly after the war ended. The poems bring the haunting human scale of war to the forefront, like the Christmas cards a sailor sent days before he died or the 4-year-old who was buried with his red tricycle after Hiroshima. All the personal stories—of sailors, civilians, and Lowry herself—are grounding. There is heartbreak and hope, reminding readers to reflect on the past to create a more peaceful future. Lowry uses a variety of poetry styles, identifying some, such as triolet and haiku. Pak’s graphite illustrations are like still shots of history, adding to the emotion and somber feeling. He includes some sailors of color among the mostly white U.S. forces; Lowry is white.

A beautiful, powerful reflection on a tragic history. (author’s note, bibliography) (Memoir/poetry. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-12940-0

Page Count: 80

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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An arbitrary assortment of relics not likely to furnish either the insight or the glimpses of wonder that elevate companion...

HISTORIUM

From the Welcome to the Museum series

An oversized album of archaeological treasures, from an early Stone Age hand ax to a 19th-century tiki pendant.

Inviting readers to take a sort of virtual museum tour, Nelson gathers over 140 representative artifacts into geographical “galleries.” She presents them with both broad opening overviews of their cultural contexts and individual descriptive notes on their features and anthropological significance. The large illustrations are not photos but digital images that are drawn in painstaking detail, colored in subdued or neutral hues, and reproduced on smooth but not polished paper. With further antique formality of design, the dimly but evenly lit objects are suspended against monochrome backgrounds, often several to a “plate,” and well-separated from the text. Though the focus is largely on defunct civilizations—Egypt and Mesopotamia to Olmec, Korean Silla, and the Vikings—the author acknowledges survivors such as the Pueblo and indigenous Australians. Readers on this side of the pond may feel slighted, as the gallery devoted to the Americas is the smallest and contains nothing from South America, but both the Torres Strait Islanders and several Polynesian cultures receive nods in the Oceania section. Moreover, rather than usual suspects like the Rosetta Stone or the so-called “Mask of Agamemnon,” the objects on display are often less familiar funerary, religious, or decorative objects. Many of the artifacts, particularly the gold ones, look drab, though, and none are either shown to scale or consistently accompanied by measurements. Furthermore, there are no maps or leads to further information.

An arbitrary assortment of relics not likely to furnish either the insight or the glimpses of wonder that elevate companion volume Animalium (2014). (timeline, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7984-2

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Big Picture/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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