A graceful tapestry weaving together personal and global perspectives and a heart-rending memoir of human endurance.



Former U.K. Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen illuminates issues of human migration by attempting to fill the gaps in his Jewish family history.

His introduction explains the distinctions between migrant and refugee and divides the collection of mostly free-verse poems into four thematic sections. In the first section, “Family and Friends,” Rosen explores his immigrant roots by reflecting on significant experiences and people from his childhood. In one deceptively simple poem, “The Songs My Father Sings,” he ponders his paternal ancestry: “Where has my father been? / Who sang the songs that he now sings / and what do the songs mean?” Two poems recall antisemitic slights by Rosen’s childhood classmates. The second section, “The War,” pieces together parental reminiscences of World War II and of family travels in postwar Europe. In “The Migrants in Me,” the potent third section, Rosen investigates missing family members. His father testifies, “I had two French uncles. / They were in France / at the beginning of the war. / They weren’t there at the end.” In the narrative poem “Finding Out,” Rosen painstakingly unearths information about these uncles—Oscar and Martin—and discovers old photos of them in a long-hidden box of family memorabilia. A duad of wrenching poems directly address Oscar and his wife, Rachel, imagining their emotions during escape, discovery by Nazis, and shipment to Auschwitz. Yet another poignant elegy, “Cousin Michael,” memorializes Rosen’s father’s cousin, evacuated to safety as a teen by parents he’d never see again. The final section, “On the Move Again,” explores the disruptions that uproot people and bring different cultures into contact. In Blake’s blue-washed watercolors, faceless figures trek beneath glowering, threatening skies.

A graceful tapestry weaving together personal and global perspectives and a heart-rending memoir of human endurance. (resources) (Poetry. 8-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1810-7

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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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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A measured corrective to pervasive myths about what is often referred to as the “first Thanksgiving.”

Contextualizing them within a Native perspective, Newell (Passamaquoddy) touches on the all-too-familiar elements of the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving and its origins and the history of English colonization in the territory now known as New England. In addition to the voyage and landfall of the Mayflower, readers learn about the Doctrine of Discovery that arrogated the lands of non-Christian peoples to European settlers; earlier encounters between the Indigenous peoples of the region and Europeans; and the Great Dying of 1616-1619, which emptied the village of Patuxet by 1620. Short, two- to six-page chapters alternate between the story of the English settlers and exploring the complex political makeup of the region and the culture, agriculture, and technology of the Wampanoag—all before covering the evolution of the holiday. Refreshingly, the lens Newell offers is a Native one, describing how the Wampanoag and other Native peoples received the English rather than the other way around. Key words ranging from estuary to discover are printed in boldface in the narrative and defined in a closing glossary. Nelson (a member of the Leech Lake Band of Minnesota Chippewa) contributes soft line-and-color illustrations of the proceedings. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Essential. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-72637-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Scholastic Nonfiction

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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