From the Race to the Truth series

A poignant and powerful look at identity, change, and resiliency.

An Indigenous perspective on the impact of European settlement.

Coombs (Aquinnah Wampanoag) uses two distinct voices to share information. The alternating chapters prefaced with “When Life Was Our Own” demonstrate the intergenerational sharing of knowledge about Wampanoag life based on oral traditions and research. Within these narratives, she teaches specific lessons: For example, readers learn how cedar was harvested with respect, “in a way that encouraged the growth of new saplings.” Later, they hear about how a sachem, or tribal leader, would resolve conflicts through a football game in order to avoid fighting. The voice of the remaining chapters “is inclusive of all tribal nations in southern New England,” covering history from the 1400s to the present. These chapters define and explore racism and provide facts about the devastating effects of the Europeans’ presence. Explorers’ 1524 arrival in present-day Rhode Island was followed by the Great Dying that wiped out entire Indigenous villages between 1616 and 1618. Europeans then proceeded to extract profits from natural resources, in contrast to Indigenous beliefs that “only the Creator who made the land could own it.” The epilogue describes the situation for Wampanoag people and other southern New England tribes in their territories today. Text boxes labeled “Let’s Think About This” pose critical thinking questions about the communities’ opposing viewpoints and engage readers. Black-and-white photos and artwork support the text. Together, the two intertwined narratives form a cohesive, engaging whole.

A poignant and powerful look at identity, change, and resiliency. (bibliography, resources, image credits) (Nonfiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023

ISBN: 9780593480434

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023


A retro yet timeless story of family and identity.

Martín brings his successful Mexikid Stories online comic series to print.

Living in California’s Central Coast as a first-generation Mexican American, Pedro (or the “American-style” Peter) struggles to find his place. As an American kid growing up in the 1970s, he loves Star Wars and Happy Days but dislikes the way his five oldest siblings, who were born in Mexico, make him feel less Mexican just because he and the three other younger siblings were born after his parents immigrated to the U.S. to work picking strawberries. A family trip to Jalisco to bring their abuelito back to California to live with them presents Pedro with an opportunity to get in touch with his roots and learn more about the places his family calls home. Told from Pedro’s perspective, the panels read as a stream-of-consciousness travelogue as he regales readers with his adventures from the road. Along the way, Pedro has fresh encounters with Mexican culture and experiences some unexpected side quests. Full of humor, heart, and a decent amount of gross-out moments, Martín’s coming-of-age memoir hits all the right notes. Though the family’s travels took place decades ago, the struggles with establishing identity, especially as a child of immigrants whose identity straddles two cultures, feel as current as ever. The vibrant, action-packed panels offer plentiful details for readers to pore over, from scenes of crowded family chaos to the sights of Mexico.

A retro yet timeless story of family and identity. (family photos, author’s note) (Graphic memoir. 9-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2023

ISBN: 9780593462287

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2023



A powerful resource for young people itching for change.

Soccer star and activist Wambach adapts Wolfpack (2019), her New York Times bestseller for adults, for a middle-grade audience.

YOU. ARE. THE. WOLVES.” That rallying cry, each word proudly occupying its own line on the page, neatly sums up the fierce determination Wambach demands of her audience. The original Wolfpack was an adaptation of the viral 2018 commencement speech she gave at Barnard College; in her own words, it was “a directive to unleash [the graduates’] individuality, unite the collective, and change the world.” This new adaption takes the themes of the original and recasts them in kid-friendly terms, the call to action feeling more relevant now than ever. With the exception of the introduction and closing remarks, each short chapter presents a new leadership philosophy, dishing out such timeless advice as “Be grateful and ambitious”; “Make failure your fuel”; “Champion each other”; and “Find your pack.” Chapters utilize “rules” as a framing device. The first page of each presents a generalized “old” and “new” rule pertaining to that chapter’s guiding principle, and each chapter closes with a “Call to the Wolfpack” that sums up those principles in more specific terms. Some parts of the book come across as somewhat quixotic or buzzword-heavy, but Wambach deftly mitigates much of the preachiness with a bluff, congenial tone and refreshing dashes of self-deprecating humor. Personal anecdotes help ground each of the philosophies in applicability, and myriad heavy issues are respectfully, yet simply broached.

A powerful resource for young people itching for change. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-76686-1

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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