Timely, essential reading.



“Knowing the story of why freedom of the press was important to the founding fathers…and how it has stayed a strong principle in American law and culture can help us understand its value today.”

This efficient text (an introduction and nine short chapters, buttressed by a timeline) offers an excellent foray into the hows and whys of U.S. press freedom, beginning just prior to nationhood. The accessible, mostly chronological text is full of short quotations from both primary and secondary sources. It includes excellent definitions, informative sidebars, and archival photographs. The ebb and flow of press freedoms over the course of the country’s history are combined with succinct history of the means of communication, from printing on paper all the way through to today’s social media. Careful scholarship links big questions about balancing transparency and national security to wartime reporting, the Pentagon Papers, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, and more. The text warns about today’s citizens’ reading and listening only to outlets that support their own views and how that endangers democracy. President Donald Trump’s media provocations are discussed along with the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the work of Reporters Without Borders. Two cases involving high schoolers’ freedoms are explored. A particularly noteworthy sidebar offers guidance on how readers can determine the accuracy of their news. For optimal use, readers should first have a rudimentary understanding of U.S. civics, which perhaps makes it better suited to middle and high school than elementary readers.

Timely, essential reading. (index, select bibliography) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3689-6

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist.



One of the world’s most celebrated creators of civic architecture is profiled in this accessible, engaging biography.

Similar in style and format to her Everybody Paints!: The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family (2014) and Wideness and Wonder: The Life and Art of Georgia O’Keeffe (2011), Rubin’s well-researched profile examines the career, creative processes, and career milestones of Maya Lin. Rubin discusses at length Lin’s most famous achievement, designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Chinese-American Lin was a reserved college student who entered and won the competition to design and build the memorial. Her youth and ethnicity were subjects of great controversy, and Rubin discusses how Lin fought to ensure her vision of the memorial remained intact. Other notable works by Lin, including the Civil Rights Memorial for the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, a library and chapel for the Children’s Defense Fund, the Museum of Chinese in America, and the outdoor Wave Field project are examined but not in as much depth as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Attractively designed, the book is illustrated extensively with color photos and drawings.

An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist. (bibliography, source notes, index) (Biography. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0837-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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Though there are plenty of issues worthy of attention not addressed here, this lively effort serves well as a revealing,...



From the Visual Exploration series

The word “Orwellian” is oddly absent in this chilling look at how we now live in a world of near-constant surveillance and data collection.

Kyi examines how information and data about almost everyone are collected and used by individuals, government agencies, companies, and other organizations. She poses three questions to readers: who’s watching, and why? Where is the line between public and private? How can you keep your secrets to yourself? These questions are addressed in chapters exploring such subjects as computer surveillance, cyberbullying, data mining, and personal privacy. There is discussion of such surveillance technologies as drones, GPS, and RFID tags. Although there is little here that does not seem creepy, “Creepy Line” sidebars in each chapter highlight controversial real-life scenarios and ask readers where they would set their own boundaries. That label refers to a statement from former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who said the company’s policy was “to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it.” There are also ongoing arguments posed for both increased security and increased privacy, encouraging readers to think critically about the issues.

Though there are plenty of issues worthy of attention not addressed here, this lively effort serves well as a revealing, thoughtful, and provocative introduction to a complex subject and alarming realities. (further reading, source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-55451-911-8

Page Count: 140

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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