Slickly produced memento of a forgettable road trip.

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CRISS-CROSSING AFRICA

A Slovakian photographer and TV personality plays tourist in the worst way in this 18-day loop through—no, hardly all of Africa, just South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia.

Presented in scrapbook format with brief commentary introducing inset slide shows or, twice, a short video clip, the journey takes Nikodym and a group of unidentified vacationers from the “crime-sodden city of Johannesburg” to a dazzling sunrise over the Namibian desert’s remote Sossus Vlei. In between, the group passes through Zimbabwe (economically devastated, notes the author, since Mugabe’s “complete ousting of the white farmers”), take a mighty spill in a stretch of Zambezi River whitewater dubbed “The Devil’s Toilet Bowl,” sample an “exceptionally disgusting” alcoholic beverage and marvel at native dancers in a Ndebele village. Later stops include two national parks for fetching photos of wildlife and a school for close-ups of African children. A long drive (“Continue 958 kilometers,” advises their GPS) takes them to the Europeanized German enclave of Swakopmund. Readers can opt for a text in either Slovak or occasionally awkward English, and they can pull up a strip of chapter thumbnails from any page. The travelogue looks good, featuring handsome photos aplenty backed by several tracks of lively African music—but a rushed conclusion, not to mention multiple references to the expedition’s corporate sponsor and the author’s superficial observations and colonialist attitudes, give the outing a self-indulgent air.

Slickly produced memento of a forgettable road trip. (iPad nonfiction app. 10 & up)

Pub Date: May 25, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: iAdverti s.r.o.

Review Posted Online: July 18, 2011

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Essential.

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THIS BOOK IS ANTI-RACIST

20 LESSONS ON HOW TO WAKE UP, TAKE ACTION, AND DO THE WORK

A guidebook for taking action against racism.

The clear title and bold, colorful illustrations will immediately draw attention to this book, designed to guide each reader on a personal journey to work to dismantle racism. In the author’s note, Jewell begins with explanations about word choice, including the use of the terms “folx,” because it is gender neutral, and “global majority,” noting that marginalized communities of color are actually the majority in the world. She also chooses to capitalize Black, Brown, and Indigenous as a way of centering these communities’ voices; "white" is not capitalized. Organized in four sections—identity, history, taking action, and working in solidarity—each chapter builds on the lessons of the previous section. Underlined words are defined in the glossary, but Jewell unpacks concepts around race in an accessible way, bringing attention to common misunderstandings. Activities are included at the end of each chapter; they are effective, prompting both self-reflection and action steps from readers. The activities are designed to not be written inside the actual book; instead Jewell invites readers to find a special notebook and favorite pen and use that throughout. Combining the disruption of common fallacies, spotlights on change makers, the author’s personal reflections, and a call to action, this powerful book has something for all young people no matter what stage they are at in terms of awareness or activism.

Essential. (author’s note, further reading, glossary, select bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4521-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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SMILE

Telgemeier has created an utterly charming graphic memoir of tooth trauma, first crushes and fickle friends, sweetly reminiscent of Judy Blume’s work. One night, Raina trips and falls after a Girl Scout meeting, knocking out her two front teeth. This leads to years of painful surgeries, braces, agonizing root canals and other oral atrocities. Her friends offer little solace through this trying ordeal, spending more of their time teasing than comforting her. After years of these girls’ constant belittling, Raina branches out and finds her own voice and a new group of friends. Young girls will relate to her story, and her friend-angst is palpable. Readers should not overlook this seemingly simply drawn work; the strong writing and emotionally expressive characters add an unexpected layer of depth. As an afterword, the author includes a photo of her smiling, showing off the results of all of the years of pain she endured. Irresistible, funny and touching—a must read for all teenage girls, whether en-braced or not. (Graphic memoir. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-13205-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Bantam Discovery

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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