KIDS WITHOUT HOMES

Emotional writing and an excess of poorly integrated quotes from popular news sources do little to provide an adequate introduction to a complex social problem. Johnson discusses the lack of affordable housing, welfare hotels, temporary shelters, and government projects, presenting health and education implications for homeless children as well as short- and long-term, public and private solutions. The book averages more than one footnote per page, requiring constant flipping to source notes in the back, but many of the quotes are of little use in elucidating the problem: ``Yet while Westchester children are among the wealthiest children in the nation, Westchester has more homeless persons per capita than any other place in the nation.'' Johnson also misleads by oversimplifying: ``...when the demand for something increases, its supply decreases...The demand for rental apartments has increased, decreasing the supply.'' Overgeneralizations abound: ``Poverticians undermine every effort made by honest government officials to help the homeless.'' While the topic is important and urgent, this is of marginal value. Muddy b&w photos; bibliography; index. (Nonfiction. 12+)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-531-15228-6

Page Count: 192

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1991

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A change of pace from the teeming swarms of fantasy and paranormal romance but too underpowered to achieve escape velocity.

FUTUREDAZE

AN ANTHOLOGY OF YA SCIENCE FICTION

A low-wattage collection of original stories and poems, as unmemorable as it is unappealingly titled.

The collection was inspired by a perceived paucity of short science fiction for teen readers, and its production costs were covered by a Kickstarter campaign. The editors gather a dozen poems and 21 stories from a stable of contributors who, after headliners Jack McDevitt and Nancy Holder, will be largely unknown even to widely read fans of the genre. The tales place their characters aboard spacecraft or space stations, on other worlds or in future dystopias, but only rarely do the writers capture a credibly adolescent voice or sensibility. Standouts in this department are the Heinlein-esque “The Stars Beneath Our Feet,” by Stephen D. Covey & Sandra McDonald, about a first date/joyride in space gone wrong, and Camille Alexa’s portrait of a teen traumatized by a cyberspace assault (“Over It”). Along with a few attempts to craft futuristic slang, only Lavie Tidhar’s fragmentary tale of Tel Aviv invaded by successive waves of aliens, doppelgangers, zombies and carnivorous plants (“The Myriad Dangers”) effectively lightens the overall earnest tone. Aside from fictional aliens and modified humans, occasional references to dark skin (“Out of the Silent Sea,” Dale Lucas) are the only signs of ethnic diversity. Most of the free-verse poetry makes only oblique, at best, references to science-fictional themes.

A change of pace from the teeming swarms of fantasy and paranormal romance but too underpowered to achieve escape velocity. (author bios) (Science fiction/short stories. 12-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-9847824-0-8

Page Count: 290

Publisher: Underwords

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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STORIES FROM WHERE WE LIVE

THE GULF COAST

A century ago, collections of intelligent anthologies for children graced bookshelves, encompassing titles like The World and Its People and The Outdoor Book. This fourth installment of the similarly minded literary series mapping the eco-regions of the US treats the Gulf Coast. All edited by St. Antoine, each seeks to give its readers a true impression of its proscribed region through memoirs, fiction, poetry, and finally exposition. It doesn’t fail, even if some authors’ connections with the Gulf Coast at times are a bit of a stretch, like equating a Po Boy with a Hero sandwich. No matter, for much of the collection is lively and evocative. Audubon and John Muir, with slightly archaic language, line up here with contemporary, earnest-sounding lesser-knowns. The poetry is uneven and sometimes clearly serving the political topic, like “Migration Midpoint,” making the excellent “Eulogy for a Hermit Crab” and “My Mother Returns to Calaboz” stand out the better. The Kathy Starr selection, “The Soul of Southern Cooking” is out of place here because a Gulf Coaster would never accept writing from the Delta Country as appropriately proximate, no matter what boundaries the scientists define. Better choices would have been writing by Jessica Harris or even memories culled from Leah Chase’s cookbook. But two of the best stories, “Fig Picking,” and “Mosquito Blues,” are perfectly pitched for this anthology, although the authors are also technically not Gulf Coasters. The canny inclusion of fables of mythic proportions by the late J.J. Reneaux and the great Zora Neale Hurston add the right atmosphere and spice. So mixed with the obligatory manatee and Key Deer stories, newcomers to the Gulf Coast will materially experience the poignant diversity of this dwindling coast of marshes, beaches, and bayous as if they were walking its circumference, no mean editorial feat. Locals will glow at the inclusion of “Buried Christmas Tree,” concerning what is becoming a necessary Gulf Coast custom: the recycling of Christmas trees to create new barrier islands. An extensive essay on the ecological makeup, habitats, plants, and animals wraps it all up. (bibliography, author’s notes, list of parks and preserves, map, not seen) (Anthology. 12+)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2002

ISBN: 1-57131-636-1

Page Count: 280

Publisher: Milkweed

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2002

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