An enthralling, spooky, diverse collection of Oceanian legends in comic form.

THE NIGHT MARCHERS AND OTHER OCEANIAN TALES

From the Cautionary Fables and Fairytales series , Vol. 4

Seventeen traditional Oceanian tales are reimagined in this graphic anthology.

Iole Marie Rabor opens the volume with a Filipino story centered around the consequences of ignoring the tradition of “Tabi po,” or politely excusing yourself in order to show respect to the spirits and supernatural beings. DJ Keawekane and Kel McDonald tell the Hawaiian legend of the intense Papa Holua sledding race and resulting rivalry between Pele, goddess of fire, and Poliahu, goddess of snow. Even after hearing the warnings about not looking at the spirits of the honored dead, a child goes out in search of her father’s ghost, who is said to be among their number in Jonah Cabudol-Chalker and Kate Ashwin’s “The Night Marchers.” Paolo Chikiamco and Tintin Pantoja add a science-fiction twist to the Filipino folktale about the pineapple fruit’s origin in “Thousand Eyes.” The remaining stories are from Hawaii and the Philippines, with one from Fiji, but there is no representation of other Pacific Islander groups. Nevertheless, this is a captivating and important collection. All the artwork is black and white, and with a wide variety of artistic styles, each story has its own feel, providing a varied and enriching reading experience. The contributors are primarily Filipino and Pacific Islander creators.

An enthralling, spooky, diverse collection of Oceanian legends in comic form. (about the artists) (Graphic folklore. 9-13)

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-945820-79-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Iron Circus Comics

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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This engaging, heartwarming story does everything one can ask of a book, and then some.

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WHEN STARS ARE SCATTERED

A Somali boy living in a refugee camp in Kenya tries to make a future for himself and his brother in this near memoir interpreted as a graphic novel by collaborator Jamieson.

Omar Mohamed lives in Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya with his younger brother, Hassan, who has a seizure disorder, and Fatuma, an elderly woman assigned to foster them in their parents’ absence. The boys’ father was killed in Somalia’s civil war, prompting them to flee on foot when they were separated from their mother. They desperately hope she is still alive and looking for them, as they are for her. The book covers six years, during which Omar struggles with decisions about attending school and how much hope to have about opportunities to resettle in a new land, like the United States. Through Omar’s journey, and those of his friends and family members, readers get a close, powerful view of the trauma and uncertainty that attend life as a refugee as well as the faith, love, and support from unexpected quarters that get people through it. Jamieson’s characteristically endearing art, warmly colored by Geddy, perfectly complements Omar’s story, conjuring memorable and sympathetic characters who will stay with readers long after they close the book. Photographs of the brothers and an afterword provide historical context; Mohamed and Jamieson each contribute an author’s note.

This engaging, heartwarming story does everything one can ask of a book, and then some. (Graphic memoir. 9-13)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-55391-5

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Falters in its oversimplified portrayal of a complicated region and people.

GROUND ZERO

Parallel storylines take readers through the lives of two young people on Sept. 11 in 2001 and 2019.

In the contemporary timeline, Reshmina is an Afghan girl living in foothills near the Pakistan border that are a battleground between the Taliban and U.S. armed forces. She is keen to improve her English while her twin brother, Pasoon, is inspired by the Taliban and wants to avenge their older sister, killed by an American bomb on her wedding day. Reshmina helps a wounded American soldier, making her village a Taliban target. In 2001, Brandon Chavez is spending the day with his father, who works at the World Trade Center’s Windows on the World restaurant. Brandon is heading to the underground mall when a plane piloted by al-Qaida hits the tower, and his father is among those killed. The two storylines develop in parallel through alternating chapters. Gratz’s deeply moving writing paints vivid images of the loss and fear of those who lived through the trauma of 9/11. However, this nuance doesn’t extend to the Afghan characters; Reshmina and Pasoon feel one-dimensional. Descriptions of the Taliban’s Afghan victims and Reshmina's gentle father notwithstanding, references to all young men eventually joining the Taliban and Pasoon's zeal for their cause counteract this messaging. Explanations for the U.S. military invasion of Afghanistan in the author’s note and in characters’ conversations too simplistically present the U.S. presence.

Falters in its oversimplified portrayal of a complicated region and people. (author’s note) (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-24575-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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