ON THE MOVE

HOME IS WHERE YOU FIND IT

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. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

BIG APPLE DIARIES

An authentic and moving time capsule of middle school angst, trauma, and joy.

Through the author’s own childhood diary entries, a seventh grader details her inner life before and after 9/11.

Alyssa’s diary entries start in September 2000, in the first week of her seventh grade year. She’s 11 and dealing with typical preteen concerns—popularity and anxiety about grades—along with other things more particular to her own life. She’s shuffling between Queens and Manhattan to share time between her divorced parents and struggling with thick facial hair and classmates who make her feel like she’s “not a whole person” due to her mixed White and Puerto Rican heritage. Alyssa is endlessly earnest and awkward as she works up the courage to talk to her crush, Alejandro; gushes about her dreams of becoming a shoe designer; and tries to solve her burgeoning unibrow problem. The diaries also have a darker side, as a sense of impending doom builds as the entries approach 9/11, especially because Alyssa’s father works in finance in the World Trade Center. As a number of the diary entries are taken directly from the author’s originals, they effortlessly capture the loud, confusing feelings middle school brings out. The artwork, in its muted but effective periwinkle tones, lends a satisfying layer to the diary’s accessible and delightful format.

An authentic and moving time capsule of middle school angst, trauma, and joy. (author's note) (Graphic memoir. 8-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-77427-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

GUTS

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 11, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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