A change in perspective about what art can be and an exhortation to undertake projects with a purpose.

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ART IN ACTION

MAKE A STATEMENT, CHANGE YOUR WORLD

A children’s guide to doing projects with a purpose in the home, school, or community.

Author Chavez, the creator of Subway Therapy, offers a guide for kids who want to make art with purpose, to make a statement, or to start change. Writing conversationally, he begins with his own story of Subway Therapy and his motivation for making a difference. He puts into perspective what it means to be an artist and what art is. Encouraging readers to think about who they are as artists in new ways—maybe they’d rather think of themselves as scientists, creators, or change-makers—he gives tips and advice on creativity, passions, and discovering a cause. In the following chapters, he describes examples of different projects and how they can be executed in homes, schools, and neighborhoods. The projects range from talking to family members and making a family tree to going out into the community and setting up a photo booth to capture portraits of people. Chavez gives tips on how to reach strangers and share projects online safely. Specific projects are laid out in numbered steps with lists of necessary materials and/or equipment along with abundant encouragement to experiment and have fun. Sometimes the language used feels dated, and the chapters on projects at home are not inclusive of those who may not have a family or steady home life.

A change in perspective about what art can be and an exhortation to undertake projects with a purpose. (Nonfiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-756-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Maybe it’s “awesome” to be average.

YOU ARE AWESOME

Champion table tennis player Syed begins this encouragement book by chronicling his own story of how he grew up believing he was average until he began to master the sport.

The goal of this book is to help kids realize that they needn’t necessarily be born with a certain gift or talent—that maybe success is a combination of hard work, the right mentors, and a strong support system. In the chapter “What’s Holding Me Back?” Syed offers a variety of ways a young person can begin to reflect on who they really are and define what their true passion may be. The following chapters stress the importance of practice, coping with pressure, and honoring mistakes as human rather than failure. Throughout the book, Syed highlights those he terms “Famous Failures,” including Steve Jobs, Jay-Z, and Jennifer Lawrence, while also providing a spotlight for those who mastered their talent by perseverance, such as Serena Williams, the Brontë sisters, and David Beckham. Though this self-help book has good intentions, however, it is a little heavy-handed on the perpetuation of an achievement-oriented life. Perhaps it is also good to acknowledge that not everybody need aspire to someone else’s definition of greatness.

Maybe it’s “awesome” to be average. (Nonfiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8753-5

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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Occasionally mannered but heartfelt throughout and indisputably timely.

HER RIGHT FOOT

Everyone knows what the Statue of Liberty stands for—but, as Eggers notes, she’s not actually “standing” at all.

Taking his time, as usual, at getting to the point, Eggers opens with the often told tale of the monument’s origins, preliminary construction, deconstruction, and shipping to “a city called New York, which is in a state also called New York.” He describes the statue’s main features, from crown to gown (“a very heavy kind of garment,” likely to cause “serious lower back issues”)—and points out that her right heel is not planted but lifted. What does this signify? That “…she is walking! This 150 foot woman is on the go!” She’s stepping out into the harbor, he suggests, to give new arrivals from Italy and Norway, Cambodia and Estonia, Syrians, Liberians, and all who have or will come an eager welcome. After all, he writes, she’s an immigrant too, and: “She is not content to wait.” In Harris’ ink-and–construction-paper collages, Parisian street scenes give way to close-up views of the brown (later green) ambulatory statue, alternating with galleries of those arrivals and their descendants, who are all united in their very diversity of age, sex, dress, and skin color. Photos, including one of the Emma Lazarus poem, cap this urgent defense of our “Golden Door.”

Occasionally mannered but heartfelt throughout and indisputably timely. (bibliography, source list) (Picture book. 9-13, adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-6281-2

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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