The earnest and thoughtful Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, has cast a wide net: she offers prayers for both young children and teens, for special occasions, for “Struggle and Strength,” and a small selection of traditional prayers like the Prayer of St Francis and selected psalms. While the slant is definitely Christian, there is a real effort toward inclusiveness, and the special-occasion prayers include ones for Hanukkah and Passover. Most are brief. While it is impossible to avoid self-consciousness in a collection like this, the language tends to be strong and simple, and might give children a path into prayer that could be difficult to find on their own. A prayer for protection begs to be delivered from “goblins . . . under the bed” as well as bullies and guns and “the low expectations of others”; another says, “Dear God, / I am so afraid of the dark. / Please bring morning soon.” Teen cries for guidance and respect end in questions rather than answers. Collier’s (Visiting Langston, p. 186, etc.) brilliant collage-and-watercolor images are set with vertical bands of color on the children’s faces. He writes that they represent blessings falling upon them. They also provide a unity of vision and an otherworldly effect of rainbow shadows. This may have some difficulty finding its audience, but the strength of author and illustrator will help draw them in. (preface, introduction) (Nonfiction. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-7868-0597-8

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2002

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With young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many.


Young Raina is 9 when she throws up for the first time that she remembers, due to a stomach bug. Even a year later, when she is in fifth grade, she fears getting sick.

Raina begins having regular stomachaches that keep her home from school. She worries about sharing food with her friends and eating certain kinds of foods, afraid of getting sick or food poisoning. Raina’s mother enrolls her in therapy. At first Raina isn’t sure about seeing a therapist, but over time she develops healthy coping mechanisms to deal with her stress and anxiety. Her therapist helps her learn to ground herself and relax, and in turn she teaches her classmates for a school project. Amping up the green, wavy lines to evoke Raina’s nausea, Telgemeier brilliantly produces extremely accurate visual representations of stress and anxiety. Thought bubbles surround Raina in some panels, crowding her with anxious “what if”s, while in others her negative self-talk appears to be literally crushing her. Even as she copes with anxiety disorder and what is eventually diagnosed as mild irritable bowel syndrome, she experiences the typical stresses of school life, going from cheer to panic in the blink of an eye. Raina is white, and her classmates are diverse; one best friend is Korean American.

With young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many. (Graphic memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-545-85251-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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Budding billionaire Greg Kenton has a knack for making money and a serious rival. When he issues his first Chunky Comic Book at the beginning of sixth grade, his neighbor and classmate Maura Shaw produces an alternative. Their quarrel draws the attention of the principal, who bans comics from the school. But when they notice all the other commercial messages in their school, they take their cause to the local school committee. Without belaboring his point, Clements takes on product placement in schools and the need for wealth. “Most people can only use one bathroom at a time,” says Greg’s math teacher, Mr. Z. Greg gets the message; middle-grade readers may ignore it in favor of the delightful spectacle of Greg’s ultimate economic success, a pleasing result for the effort this up-and-coming young businessman puts into his work. Clements weaves intriguing information about comic book illustration into this entertaining, smoothly written story. Selznick’s accompanying black-and-white drawings have the appearance of sketches Greg might have made himself. This hits the jackpot. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: July 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-689-86683-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2005

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