A pleasing visit with an occasionally—if justifiably—immodest world-changer.

BOOK

MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY

Book chattily narrates its memoir, as "transcribed" by Guyanese-English poet Agard.

From oral storytelling to e-books, Book provides a succinct overview of the past 5,000 years of its development. Referring to itself alternately in the third person and the first, it covers cuneiform, hieroglyphics, and the rise of alphabets, along with tracing the technological advances that took it from clay tablets through papyrus and parchment to paper and through scrolls to the codex. Though Book waxes lyrical about Western innovations ("I was flying on the wings of Gutenberg's movable type"), it takes pains to give credit to the many other cultures of the book, including the Aztecs, the Kashmiri, and the Chinese: "from Cai Lun's mushy mash, presto, paper was born." Packer's witty, black-and-white graphics complement Book's story, offering images that range widely, including botanical drawings of plants used in the making of paper and delicate towers of type. Occasional book-related quotations punctuate Book's account: from Emily Dickinson, Bertolt Brecht, Malorie Blackman, and others. It's a highly idiosyncratic account, and it's not a little twee—Book is not beyond self-aggrandizement—but for all its brevity, it covers a lot of territory accurately and with verve. Book includes a bibliography but not specific direction for readers who'd like to know more about, for instance, rotary presses or bookbinding.

A pleasing visit with an occasionally—if justifiably—immodest world-changer. (Nonfiction. 10 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7236-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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A riveting novel that will have readers rooting for its star.

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DAUGHTER OF THE DEEP

A teenager faces seemingly insurmountable challenges in this riveting modern-day spinoff of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

For Ana Dakkar and her fellow ninth graders at Harding-Pencroft Academy, there is nothing more momentous than the weekend trials each student must ace at the end of freshman year. Students who fail to showcase their survival skills are asked to leave the academy, a heavily guarded place Ana has thought of as home since the mysterious deaths of her parents. Though Ana’s brother, Dev, is a senior, what happens at trials is such a closely guarded secret that no one in her year knows what to expect. While her group is out on the water for their trials, Harding-Pencroft is demolished in an attack orchestrated by a rival school. As Ana and her classmates discover that the events depicted in Jules Verne’s classic novels were real, Riordan’s lifelong love of the source material is clear—especially when Ana learns information that will help her find a way to protect the group. A foreword by Roshani Chokshi introduces this adventure that is both great entertainment and centers a well-developed protagonist who is thoughtfully shown dealing with loss. Ana is of Bundeli Indian descent, and her group of peers, who are diverse in various ways, experience losses and struggles of their own. (Final illustrations not seen.)

A riveting novel that will have readers rooting for its star. (Harding-Pencroft Academy guide, cast list) (Adventure. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-07792-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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An impressive sequel.

PAX, JOURNEY HOME

Boy and fox follow separate paths in postwar rebuilding.

A year after Peter finds refuge with former soldier Vola, he prepares to leave to return to his childhood home. He plans to join the Junior Water Warriors, young people repurposing the machines and structures of war to reclaim reservoirs and rivers poisoned in the conflict, and then to set out on his own to live apart from others. At 13, Peter is competent and self-contained. Vola marvels at the construction of the floor of the cabin he’s built on her land, but the losses he’s sustained have left a mark. He imposes a penance on himself, reimagining the story of rescuing the orphaned kit Pax as one in which he follows his father’s counsel to kill the animal before he could form a connection. He thinks of his heart as having a stone inside it. Pax, meanwhile, has fathered three kits who claim his attention and devotion. Alternating chapters from the fox’s point of view demonstrate Pax’s care for his family—his mate, Bristle; her brother; and the three kits. Pax becomes especially attached to his daughter, who accompanies him on a journey that intersects with Peter’s and allows Peter to not only redeem his past, but imagine a future. This is a deftly nuanced look at the fragility and strength of the human heart. All the human characters read as White. Illustrations not seen.

An impressive sequel. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-293034-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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