Readers don’t always need another heroine—sometimes a young woman living an ordinary life in extraordinary circumstances...

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AMINA

From the Through My Eyes series

Amina Khalid is a sweet, amiable teenager—and a solid counterexample to Islamophobia and negative notions about Somalis.

The 14-year-old Somali Muslim teenager lives in war-fractured Mogadishu. She shares her grenade-damaged home with pregnant Khadija, elderly Ayeeyo, her older brother, Roble, and her father, political artist Samatar Khalid. Unlike the stereotypes of Muslim men oppressing Muslim women and girls, Amina’s loving father and exasperated brother support the “itch in her fingertips” that “[drives] her to keep creating.” Like her dad, Amina creates renegade art—not paintings on canvas like Samatar, but multimedia street art using bombed-out buildings, hoarded charcoal, poetry, cloth strips, and other pieces of her beloved metropolis. Powers’ prose is honest, though descriptions of events such as giving birth as a circumcised woman, kidnappings by real-life Islamist group al-Shabab, and death are sometimes elliptically described. She leavens Amina’s difficult situation with school, crushes, unexpected friendships, faith, spoken-word face-offs, and real-life context as Amina and her fellow citizens reconfigure what “normal” means for their families, city, and, by extension, country. Taken as a whole, this entry in the Through My Eyes series is solid but not gripping—and that’s OK.

Readers don’t always need another heroine—sometimes a young woman living an ordinary life in extraordinary circumstances will wilt stereotypes better than heroics. (map, author’s note, timeline, glossary, further reading) (Fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: July 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-74331-249-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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GUTS

THE TRUE STORIES BEHIND HATCHET AND THE BRIAN BOOKS

Paulsen recalls personal experiences that he incorporated into Hatchet (1987) and its three sequels, from savage attacks by moose and mosquitoes to watching helplessly as a heart-attack victim dies. As usual, his real adventures are every bit as vivid and hair-raising as those in his fiction, and he relates them with relish—discoursing on “The Fine Art of Wilderness Nutrition,” for instance: “Something that you would never consider eating, something completely repulsive and ugly and disgusting, something so gross it would make you vomit just looking at it, becomes absolutely delicious if you’re starving.” Specific examples follow, to prove that he knows whereof he writes. The author adds incidents from his Iditarod races, describes how he made, then learned to hunt with, bow and arrow, then closes with methods of cooking outdoors sans pots or pans. It’s a patchwork, but an entertaining one, and as likely to win him new fans as to answer questions from his old ones. (Autobiography. 10-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-385-32650-5

Page Count: 150

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2000

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Seuss, with 82 years and 44 books to his credit, is in better than "pretty good shape"; he's in top form with this book...

YOU'RE ONLY OLD ONCE! A BOOK FOR OBSOLETE CHILDREN

Over the past 30 years, Dr. Seuss has endeared himself to millions of youngsters (and harried older types) with his tales of such giggle-producing creatures as "The Cat in the Hat" and "Yertle the Turtle."

Now, finally, he's written a book for those he calls "obsolete children." It's the nicest thing to happen to "senior citizens" since Medicare. This time around, the Doctor enlists his jaunty rhymes and sprightly illustrations to present a not altogether tongue-in-cheek look at that unnerving ritual of aging, "the medical check-up." His reactions to the whole demeaning (and distinctly expensive) process are so wryly knowing he might well have entitled his opus "The Cynic in the Clinic." The medical profession, under Seuss' steady gaze, comes in for some hilarious—and pointed—joshing. The action takes place at the "Golden Years Clinic on Century Square for Spleen Readjustment and Muffler Repair." Here, after first undergoing an "Eyesight and Solvency Test" (the chart reads "Have you any idea how much money these tests are costing you?"), the grey-mustachioed hero meets a battery of specialists including "Von Crandall, the World-Renowned Ear Man" and "Dr. Pollen, the Allergy Whiz." These worthies pinch, prod and poke about in search of such maladies as "Prone Picker's Plight" and "Chimney Sweep's Stupor." Diets are devised—"What you like. . .forget it!" Seuss has a great deal of fun with the "Pill Drill," in which the hero must memorize the dosages of a bewildering medicinal array: "I take the pill with zebra stripes to cure my early evening gripes. . .This long flat one is what I take if I should die before I wake." Having mastered that challenge, he goes from being "properly pilled" to being "properly billed." Finally, socks, coat and pants restored, necktie back under his chin, he's pleased to assure himself, "You're in pretty good shape for the shape you are in."

Seuss, with 82 years and 44 books to his credit, is in better than "pretty good shape"; he's in top form with this book that's sure to delight "obsolete children," and even those of us who are merely obsolescent. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 1986

ISBN: 0394551907

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1986

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