An unusually strong volume—a smorgasbord for young nonfiction readers (both boys and girls) and a good pick for the...

TRUE STORIES

From the Guys Read series , Vol. 5

A stellar lineup of nonfiction writers offers true stories, which, like the previous volumes in the Guys Read series, are written to appeal especially to boys.

Steve Sheinkin leads off with a survival tale, as Capt. James Riley and his crew are shipwrecked off the coast of West Africa in the summer of 1815 and survive the Sahara desert by drinking their own urine and eating their peeling, sunburned skin. Enslaved, they are eventually saved by Muslim traders, and Riley joins the anti-slavery movement upon his return to the United States. Sy Montgomery writes a beautiful ode to the rain forest of French Guiana and profiles tarantulas and Sam Marshall, a scientist who studies them and who is featured in Montgomery’s The Tarantula Scientist (2004). Jim Murphy delivers an unsettling history of dental horrors from 6,500 years ago to the present day (or at least his second visit to the dentist); Candace Fleming profiles Jumbo, the world’s largest elephant; Elizabeth Partridge writes about Alan Lomax and Muddy Waters; and T. Edward Nickens is almost killed canoeing frigid Alaskan waters. The stories—prose, poetry and a graphic story—are full of action and lively, sometimes-gross details that make their subjects come alive.

An unusually strong volume—a smorgasbord for young nonfiction readers (both boys and girls) and a good pick for the classroom. (Short stories. 8-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-196382-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2014

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Newbery Honor Book

  • Coretta Scott King Book Award Winner

  • National Book Award Winner

BROWN GIRL DREAMING

A multiaward–winning author recalls her childhood and the joy of becoming a writer.

Writing in free verse, Woodson starts with her 1963 birth in Ohio during the civil rights movement, when America is “a country caught / / between Black and White.” But while evoking names such as Malcolm, Martin, James, Rosa and Ruby, her story is also one of family: her father’s people in Ohio and her mother’s people in South Carolina. Moving south to live with her maternal grandmother, she is in a world of sweet peas and collards, getting her hair straightened and avoiding segregated stores with her grandmother. As the writer inside slowly grows, she listens to family stories and fills her days and evenings as a Jehovah’s Witness, activities that continue after a move to Brooklyn to reunite with her mother. The gift of a composition notebook, the experience of reading John Steptoe’s Stevie and Langston Hughes’ poetry, and seeing letters turn into words and words into thoughts all reinforce her conviction that “[W]ords are my brilliance.” Woodson cherishes her memories and shares them with a graceful lyricism; her lovingly wrought vignettes of country and city streets will linger long after the page is turned.

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-25251-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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A stellar collaboration that introduces an important and intriguing individual to today’s readers.

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BECOMING MUHAMMAD ALI

From the Becoming Ali series , Vol. 1

Two bestselling authors imagine the boyhood of the man who became the legendary boxing icon Muhammad Ali.

Cassius was a spirited child growing up in segregated Louisville, Kentucky. He had a loving home with his parents and younger brother, Rudy. Granddaddy Herman also was an important figure, imparting life lessons. His parents wanted him to succeed in school, but Cassius had difficulty reading and found more pleasure in playing and exploring outdoors. Early on, he and Rudy knew the restrictions of being African American, for example, encountering “Whites Only” signs at parks, but the brothers dreamed of fame like that enjoyed by Black boxer Joe Louis. Popular Cassius was especially close to Lucius “Lucky” Wakely; despite their academic differences, their deep connection remained after Lucky received a scholarship to a Catholic school. When Cassius wandered into the Columbia Boxing Gym, it seemed to be destiny, and he developed into a successful youth boxer. Told in two voices, with prose for the voice of Lucky and free verse for Cassius, the narrative provides readers with a multidimensional view of the early life of and influences on an important figure in sports and social change. Lucky’s observations give context while Cassius’ poetry encapsulates his drive, energy, and gift with words. Combined with dynamic illustrations by Anyabwile, the book captures the historical and social environment that produced Muhammad Ali.

A stellar collaboration that introduces an important and intriguing individual to today’s readers. (bibliography) (Biographical novel. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-49816-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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