The paranormal is a popular topic, and this slender volume will likely be an easy sell.

GHOSTLY EVIDENCE

EXPLORING THE PARANORMAL

An unexpected voice caught on a baby monitor. The strange face of someone who wasn’t seen captured in a photo. An object that moves by itself. Could these be evidence of ghosts?

Halls here turns her attention to the world of the paranormal. This brief effort examines five aspects of the ghostly world, offering an explanation of ghosts of different types; descriptions of some haunted places; information about a few famous ghost hunters, along with tools of the trade and techniques; a history of some hoaxes that at first appeared to be unexplainable hauntings; and a few people’s descriptions of their own paranormal experiences, including those of children’s authors Bruce Coville and Vivian Vande Velde. Large, generally satisfyingly creepy color photos accompany the high-interest text. Although this effort includes descriptions of photos of a couple of houses that were purported to include ghostly images, frustratingly, they are not included. The information is presented with an attitude of mild skepticism; Halls isn’t seeking converts. At the conclusion, techniques for faking two types of ghostly photos are appended. A bibliography and a list of suggested further reading, along with websites of numerous haunted places to visit, may inspire further research.

The paranormal is a popular topic, and this slender volume will likely be an easy sell. (Nonfiction. 10-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4677-0593-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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Ultimately adds little to conversations about race.

UNCOMFORTABLE CONVERSATIONS WITH A BLACK BOY

A popular YouTube series on race, “Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man,” turns how-to manual and history lesson for young readers.

Acho is a former NFL player and second-generation Nigerian American who cites his upbringing in predominantly White spaces as well as his tenure on largely Black football teams as qualifications for facilitating the titular conversations about anti-Black racism. The broad range of subjects covered here includes implicit bias, cultural appropriation, and systemic racism. Each chapter features brief overviews of American history, personal anecdotes of Acho’s struggles with his own anti-Black biases, and sections titled “Let’s Get Uncomfortable.” The book’s centering of Whiteness and White readers seems to show up, to the detriment of its subject matter, both in Acho’s accounts of his upbringing and his thought processes regarding race. The overall tone unfortunately conveys a sense of expecting little from a younger generation who may have a greater awareness than he did at the same age and who, therefore, may already be uncomfortable with racial injustice itself. The attempt at an avuncular tone disappointingly reads as condescending, revealing that, despite his online success with adults, the author is ill-equipped to be writing for middle-grade readers. Chapters dedicated to explaining to White readers why they shouldn’t use the N-word and how valuable White allyship is may make readers of color (and many White readers) bristle with indignation and discomfort despite Acho’s positive intentions.

Ultimately adds little to conversations about race. (glossary, FAQ, recommended reading, references) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-80106-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2021

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A slim volume big on historical information and insight.

COME ON IN, AMERICA

THE UNITED STATES IN WORLD WAR I

A wide-ranging exploration of World War I and how it changed the United States forever.

Students who know anything about history tend to know other wars better—the Civil War, World War II, Vietnam. But it was World War I that changed America and ushered in a new role for the United States as a world political and economic leader. Two million Americans were sent to the war, and in the 19 months of involvement in Europe, 53,000 Americans were killed in battle, part of the staggering total death toll of 10 million, a war of such magnitude that it transformed the governments and economies of every major participant. Osborne’s straightforward text is a clear account of the war itself and various related topics—African-American soldiers, the Woman’s Peace Party, the use of airplanes as weapons for the first time, trench warfare, and the sinking of the Lusitania. Many archival photographs complement the text, as does a map of Europe (though some countries are lost in the gutter). A thorough bibliography includes several works for young readers. A study of World War I offers a context for discussing world events today, so this volume is a good bet for libraries and classrooms—a well-written treatment that can replace dry textbook accounts.

A slim volume big on historical information and insight. (timeline, source notes, credits) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2378-0

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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