As so many of our children are immigrants or children of immigrants, we need more of these stories, especially when they are...

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ENCHANTED AIR

TWO CULTURES, TWO WINGS: A MEMOIR

“It really is possible to feel / like two people / at the same time, / when your parents / grandparents / memories / words / come from two / different / worlds.”

Poet and novelist Engle has won a Newbery Honor, the Pura Belpré Award, and the Américas Award, among others. Of Cuban-American descent, she has mostly written about Cuba and Cuban history. This time she brings readers her own childhood. Employing free verse, she narrates growing up in Los Angeles in the 1950s and early ’60s torn by her love of two countries: the United States, where she was born and raised, and Cuba, where her mother was from and where she spent vacations visiting family. Woven into the fabric of her childhood is the anxiety of deteriorating relations between the two countries as the Cuban revolution takes place, affecting both her family and the two countries at large. This is also the time when Engle discovers books and her own poetry as safe places to retreat to. Though it is a very personal story, it is also one that touches on issues affecting so many immigrants, as when she wonders: “Is there any way that two people / from faraway places / can ever really / understand each other’s / daydreams?”

As so many of our children are immigrants or children of immigrants, we need more of these stories, especially when they are as beautifully told as this one. (Cold War timeline, author’s note) (Poetry/memoir. 10 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3522-2

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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Ephemeral—unlike the art here (some of it, at least) and those fondly remembered little books.

EVERYTHING I NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED FROM A LITTLE GOLDEN BOOK

Chicken soup for fans of Golden Books, from the line’s editorial director.

Reasoning that hard times have come to America (“The chickens have come home to roost, and their names are Debt, Depression, and Diabetes”), Muldrow offers this book as palliative. She gathers single illustrations from 61 Little Golden Books and adds pithy captions as anodynes, such as “Don’t panic…” (beneath Tibor Gergely’s 1948 image of a dismayed child holding detached braids) or “Have some pancakes” (Richard Scarry, 1949). Though some of her advice has a modern inflection (“Don’t forget your antioxidants!”), the pictures all come from titles published between 1942 and 1964 and so, despite the great diversity of artistic styles, have a quaint period look. Not to mention quaint period values, from views of apron-wearing housewives and pipe-smoking men (or bears) to, with but two exceptions, an all-white cast of humans. Furthermore, despite the title’s implication, the exhortations don’t always reflect the original story’s lesson or theme; rather than “Make a budget—and stick to it!” the lad in Miriam Young’s 5 Pennies To Spend (illustrated by Corinne Malvern, 1955) actually used his hoard to help others in need.

Ephemeral—unlike the art here (some of it, at least) and those fondly remembered little books. (Picture book. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-307-97761-8

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Golden Books/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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This small but firm step on an artist’s journey is both inspiration to his fellows and an informative window into a...

THE INKER'S SHADOW

In this continuation of Say’s graphic memoir, Drawing from Memory (2011), he travels to the United States and receives a decidedly mixed welcome.

Arriving in southern California in 1953, 15-year-old Allen first settles in a military academy but is soon asked to leave because his sponsor comes to believe that he won’t be (as Say’s own openly hostile father puts it) “a wholesome American.” Never quite fitting in, he goes on to acquire an apartment and a job, take art classes, and, after high school graduation, set off in relief for San Francisco. “I will never,” he concludes emphatically, “come back.” Though his personal voice, his gratitude for the support he does receive, and occasional flashes of rueful humor are evident enough, overall his sense of isolation from people and events around him colors his entire experience. The many quick sketches, caricatures, practice pieces, and even the relatively finished scenes of significant incidents or encounters with which his account is interspersed, though, add life and feeling in abundance to the often spare narrative. Moreover, all along the way, his determination to become a cartoonist never fades, and at low moments Kyusuke, the free-spirited alter ego created for him back in Japan by his mentor and sensei, Noro Shinpei, pops into view to remind him that it’s all an adventure.

This small but firm step on an artist’s journey is both inspiration to his fellows and an informative window into a particular slice of the nation’s history. (afterword, with photos) (Graphic memoir. 10 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-43776-9

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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