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Wide-ranging and accessible, this is a rich resource for musical exploration.

Music approached from many angles.

Richards and Schweitzer ask young readers to think about many different ways we can make and appreciate music, including creating, feeling, performing, and listening, peppering their invitation with a profusion of examples. Early on, they ask the question, When is a sound considered music? This is answered, in part, with an extensive, eclectic Spotify playlist, tracks from 155 albums including such disparate music as the dawn chorus of birds, John Cage’s silent “4’33”,” and music composed by artificial intelligence. But the text, set among appealing graphics, including some photographs and art reproductions, stands alone. What distinguishes this approach is its breadth. In a single, early page about the inspiration of bird songs, the authors bring up Bob Marley, Ludwig van Beethoven, Camille Saint-Saëns, Amy Beach, and Olivier Messiaen and his wife, Yvonne Loriod. (In the accompanying playlist that theme continues with selections from Ladysmith Black Mambazo, an anonymous medieval songwriter, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, and Charlie Parker.) They offer examples from jazz, popular and classical music from many ages, folk music, background music for movies and video games, and music from many countries. They include vocalists, instrumentalists, composers, instruments, emotional effects, storytelling, and different ways we can listen to music. Each chapter is divided into shorter segments; topics are sometimes covered in a paragraph or two and sometimes fill a page.

Wide-ranging and accessible, this is a rich resource for musical exploration. (timeline, glossary, listening ideas, sources, list of illustrations, index) (Nonfiction. 9-15)

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65247-3

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: Aug. 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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A sincere, genuine, and uplifting book that affirms the importance of being true to yourself.

Middle school drama hits hard in this coming-of-age graphic memoir.

Natural competitor Misty has faced off against the boys for years, always coming out on top, but now they’re moving on without her into the land of full-contact football. Never one to back away from a challenge, Misty resolves to join the team and convinces her best friend, Bree, to join her. While Misty pours herself into practicing, obviously uninterested Bree—who was motivated more by getting to be around boys than doing sports—drifts toward popular queen bee Ava, creating an uneasy dynamic. Feeling estranged from Bree, Misty, who typically doesn’t think much about her appearance, tries to navigate seventh grade—even experimenting with a more traditionally feminine gender expression—while also mastering her newfound talent for tackling and facing hostility from some boys on the team. Readers with uncommon interests will relate to the theme of being the odd one out. Social exclusion and cutting remarks can be traumatic, so it’s therapeutic to see Misty begin to embrace her differences instead of trying to fit in with frenemies who don’t value her. The illustrations are alive with color and rich emotional details, pairing perfectly with the heartfelt storytelling. The husband-and-wife duo’s combined efforts will appeal to fans of Raina Telgemeier and Shannon Hale. Main characters present as White; some background characters read as Black.

A sincere, genuine, and uplifting book that affirms the importance of being true to yourself. (Graphic memoir. 9-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-306469-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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From the Race to the Truth series

Deftly written and informative; a call for vigilance and equality.

An examination of the history of Chinese American experiences.

Blackburn opens with a note to readers about growing up feeling invisible as a multicultural, biracial Chinese American. She notes the tremendous diversity of Chinese American history and writes that this book is a starting point for learning more. The evenly paced narrative starts with the earliest recorded arrival of the Chinese in America in 1834. A teenage girl, whose real name is unknown, arrived in New York Harbor with the Carnes brothers, merchants who imported Chinese goods and put her on display “like an animal in a circus.” The author then examines shifting laws, U.S. and global political and economic climates, and changing societal attitudes. The book introduces the highlighted people—including Yee Ah Tye, Wong Kim Ark, Mabel Ping-Hua Lee, and Vincent Chen—in relation to lawsuits or other transformative events; they also stand as examples for explaining concepts such as racial hierarchy and the model minority myth. Maps, photos, and documents are interspersed throughout. Chapters close with questions that encourage readers to think critically about systems of oppression, actively engage with the material, and draw connections to their own lives. Although the book covers a wide span of history, from the Gold Rush to the rise in anti-Asian hate during the Covid-19 pandemic, it thoroughly explains the various events. Blackburn doesn’t shy away from describing terrible setbacks, but she balances them with examples of solidarity and progress.

Deftly written and informative; a call for vigilance and equality. (resources, bibliography, image credits) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 26, 2024

ISBN: 9780593567630

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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