A fine collection.

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WATCH OUT FOR CLEVER WOMEN / CUIDADO CON LAS MUJERES ASTUTAS

Doubled in size from its original 1994 edition, this dual-language collection of classic folktales from the Southwestern United States will entertain and aid those studying Spanish.

An old lady tricks the thieves who would steal from her. A young girl teaches her dishonest father a lesson in manners. A wife outwits her foolish husband along with the gold robbers who would hurt him. A lawyer’s subterfuge is turned against him by an Indigenous mother. A beautiful teenager hounded by suitors scares them away and earns herself a bit of freedom. All 10 of these tales have two things in common—the Southwestern culture from which they hail and the comeuppance meted out by determined women seeking to survive and thrive in the face of adversity. At once a fun language lesson and a feminist story collection, this serves as a good introduction to folklore that celebrates the poor in the face of hardship. The stories are simple and sparse. Their settings are vague (long ago and faraway). The characters are stereotypical. Yet this is the style of folktales; the cautionary stories are meant to leave stark images and simple themes that teach a moral lesson. Author Hayes does a fine job researching the oral traditions (endnotes speak to the variations, echoes, and origins of each theme). His Spanish translations are rich, well-recorded, and easy to cross-reference, as they face English pages. Quaint black-and-white illustrations by Hill are a nice bonus at the beginning of each story.

A fine collection. (Folktales. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-947627-01-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2019

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With young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many.

GUTS

Young Raina is 9 when she throws up for the first time that she remembers, due to a stomach bug. Even a year later, when she is in fifth grade, she fears getting sick.

Raina begins having regular stomachaches that keep her home from school. She worries about sharing food with her friends and eating certain kinds of foods, afraid of getting sick or food poisoning. Raina’s mother enrolls her in therapy. At first Raina isn’t sure about seeing a therapist, but over time she develops healthy coping mechanisms to deal with her stress and anxiety. Her therapist helps her learn to ground herself and relax, and in turn she teaches her classmates for a school project. Amping up the green, wavy lines to evoke Raina’s nausea, Telgemeier brilliantly produces extremely accurate visual representations of stress and anxiety. Thought bubbles surround Raina in some panels, crowding her with anxious “what if”s, while in others her negative self-talk appears to be literally crushing her. Even as she copes with anxiety disorder and what is eventually diagnosed as mild irritable bowel syndrome, she experiences the typical stresses of school life, going from cheer to panic in the blink of an eye. Raina is white, and her classmates are diverse; one best friend is Korean American.

With young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many. (Graphic memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-545-85251-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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A painful and painfully recognizable tale of one girl’s struggle to make and keep “one good friend.” (author’s note)...

REAL FRIENDS

A truth-telling graphic memoir whose theme song could be Johnny Lee’s old country song “Lookin’ for Love in all the Wrong Places.”

Shannon, depicted in Pham’s clear, appealing panels as a redheaded white girl, starts kindergarten in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1979, and her story ends just before sixth grade. Desperately longing to be in “the group” at school, Shannon suffers persistent bullying, particularly from a mean girl, Jenny, which leads to chronic stomachaches, missing school, and doctor visits. Contemporary readers will recognize behaviors indicative of obsessive-compulsive disorder, but the doctor calls it anxiety and tells Shannon to stop worrying. Instead of being a place of solace, home adds to Shannon’s stress. The middle child of five, she suffers abuse from her oldest sibling, Wendy, whom Pham often portrays as a fierce, gigantic bear and whom readers see their mother worrying about from the beginning. The protagonist’s faith (presented as generically Christian) surfaces overtly a few times but mostly seems to provide a moral compass for Shannon as she negotiates these complicated relationships. This episodic story sometimes sticks too close to the truth for comfort, but readers will appreciate Shannon’s fantastic imagination that lightens her tough journey toward courage and self-acceptance.

A painful and painfully recognizable tale of one girl’s struggle to make and keep “one good friend.” (author’s note) (Graphic memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-416-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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