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

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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A rich and deeply felt slice of life.

JUST PRETEND

Crafting fantasy worlds offers a budding middle school author relief and distraction from the real one in this graphic memoir debut.

Everyone in Tori’s life shows realistic mixes of vulnerability and self-knowledge while, equally realistically, seeming to be making it up as they go. At least, as she shuttles between angrily divorced parents—dad becoming steadily harder to reach, overstressed mom spectacularly incapable of reading her offspring—or drifts through one wearingly dull class after another, she has both vivacious bestie Taylor Lee and, promisingly, new classmate Nick as well as the (all-girl) heroic fantasy, complete with portals, crystal amulets, and evil enchantments, taking shape in her mind and on paper. The flow of school projects, sleepovers, heart-to-heart conversations with Taylor, and like incidents (including a scene involving Tori’s older brother, who is having a rough adolescence, that could be seen as domestic violence) turns to a tide of change as eighth grade winds down and brings unwelcome revelations about friends. At least the story remains as solace and, at the close, a sense that there are still chapters to come in both worlds. Working in a simple, expressive cartoon style reminiscent of Raina Telgemeier’s, Sharp captures facial and body language with easy naturalism. Most people in the spacious, tidily arranged panels are White; Taylor appears East Asian, and there is diversity in background characters.

A rich and deeply felt slice of life. (afterword, design notes) (Graphic memoir. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-53889-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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Street makes a better critic than comedian, but he has some solid insights to share.

HOW TO BE AN ART REBEL

How to make looking at art more fun—or at least not staid.

Led by a marmalade cat in a beret and leather jacket, the museum tour is largely designed to encourage “rebels” to look for symbols, metaphors, and messages, hidden or otherwise, in select art reproductions exemplifying various genres, subjects, media, and styles. Efforts to lighten the load with, for instance, references to “butts” and “boobies” in a chapter on “Nude Art,” a cartoon fart added by Wright to the Mona Lisa, and a 17th-century still life not of fruit or flowers but hunks of cheese by Clara Peeters (“one of the best cheese painters ever”) really only distract from Street’s often acute comments. Readers who look beyond the yuks will learn that the necklace of thorns Frida Kahlo placed about her neck in a self portrait evokes her chronic physical ills and the importance of understanding that abstract art isn’t about things but feelings. Refreshingly, though the genitalia in the Nude Art section are discreetly covered, the bodies on display include one with dwarfism, another that is pregnant and has no arms, and a third that is identified as the artist’s “coming-out.” Young viewers in need of a systematic course in how to see art had best look elsewhere, but they will come away with new tools, ideas worth mulling…and at least two bits of universal life wisdom: “Always have fun. And be weird.”

Street makes a better critic than comedian, but he has some solid insights to share. (glossary, list of artworks) (Nonfiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65164-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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