A lovely encouragement to young writers to persist.

HOW TO WRITE A STORY

This follow-up to How To Read a Story (2005) shows a child going through the steps of creating a story, from choosing an idea through sharing with friends.

A young black child lies in a grassy field writing in a journal, working on “Step 1 / Search for an Idea— / a shiny one.” During a walk to the library, various ideas float in colorful thought bubbles, with exclamation points: “playing soccer! / dogs!” Inside the library, less-distinct ideas, expressed as shapes and pictures, with question marks, float about as the writer collects ideas to choose from. The young writer must then choose a setting, a main character, and a problem for that protagonist. Plotting, writing with detail, and revising are described in child-friendly terms and shown visually, in the form of lists and notes on faux pieces of paper. Finally, the writer sits in the same field, in a new season, sharing the story with friends. The illustrations feature the child’s writing and drawing as well as images of imagined events from the book in progress bursting off the page. The child’s main character is an adventurous mermaid who looks just like the child, complete with afro-puff pigtails, representing an affirming message about writing oneself into the world. The child’s family, depicted as black, moves in the background of the setting, which is also populated by a multiracial cast.

A lovely encouragement to young writers to persist. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-5666-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Energetic enough to carry younger rocketeers off the launch pad if not into a very high orbit.

PROFESSOR ASTRO CAT'S SPACE ROCKETS

From the Professor Astro Cat series

The bubble-helmeted feline explains what rockets do and the role they have played in sending people (and animals) into space.

Addressing a somewhat younger audience than in previous outings (Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space, 2013, etc.), Astro Cat dispenses with all but a light shower of “factoroids” to describe how rockets work. A highly selective “History of Space Travel” follows—beginning with a crew of fruit flies sent aloft in 1947, later the dog Laika (her dismal fate left unmentioned), and the human Yuri Gagarin. Then it’s on to Apollo 11 in 1969; the space shuttles Discovery, Columbia, and Challenger (the fates of the latter two likewise elided); the promise of NASA’s next-gen Orion and the Space Launch System; and finally vague closing references to other rockets in the works for local tourism and, eventually, interstellar travel. In the illustrations the spacesuited professor, joined by a mouse and cat in similar dress, do little except float in space and point at things. Still, the art has a stylish retro look, and portraits of Sally Ride and Guion Bluford diversify an otherwise all-white, all-male astronaut corps posing heroically or riding blocky, geometric spacecraft across starry reaches.

Energetic enough to carry younger rocketeers off the launch pad if not into a very high orbit. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-911171-55-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flying Eye Books

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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Though this has more of a religious bent than most biographies, children should gain an understanding of the new pope as a...

JORGE FROM ARGENTINA

THE STORY OF POPE FRANCIS FOR CHILDREN

Beginning with the emigration of Jorge’s grandparents from Italy to Argentina, this biography traces Bergoglio’s life, concluding with his attendance at World Youth Day in July 2013, as Pope Francis.

This is a much more personal biography (meant for a slightly younger audience) than Pope Francis by Stephanie Watson (2013). Only briefly mentioning Argentina’s “Dirty War” and entirely leaving out the scandals of the Catholic Church and the more publicized examples of Bergoglio’s humility, Monge and Wolfe focus instead on the experiences that shaped Bergoglio’s faith and led him to the priesthood. The text’s lack of a bibliography may lead readers (or their parents) to wonder how the more intimate details of Bergoglio’s life were uncovered, especially with regard to the rather stilted and unnatural-sounding dialogue and internal monologues. Simple, short sentences make this accessible for young readers, though more contextual definitions (or a glossary) would have been helpful, especially for those unfamiliar with the Catholic faith. Also, commas that could help young readers with comprehension are frequently missing, and there are some awkward sentence constructions: “There was always studying or homework to do for school, or help needed around the house.” Kizlauskas’ illustrations are quite realistic looking (if stiff), though they do not always appear on the same spread as the text that accompanies them.

Though this has more of a religious bent than most biographies, children should gain an understanding of the new pope as a person. (Biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8198-4006-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Pauline Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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