An important work that is immensely personal, powerful, and heart-wrenching.

Born in England just after World War II, young Rosen grew up hearing references about relatives who existed before the war but had disappeared by the time it ended.

There were great-aunts and great-uncles and their families who had lived in France and Poland. His dad knew their names and a bit about them. He assumed they died “in the camps.” At first the child Michael didn’t understand what that meant. As he learned more about the Holocaust, he became determined to find out about his lost relatives. He did extensive research, gathered small clues, and began to dig deeper, becoming consumed by the quest throughout his life. His account includes lots of disappointments and dead ends as well as some remarkable finds that led to information and some answers about missing relatives from both France and Poland. He provides photos and letters that bring these lost souls to life. Speaking in the first person, directly to readers, Rosen explains the unexplainable in simple but not simplistic language, presenting facts without sugarcoating them or underestimating children’s ability to comprehend. He includes poems, some written over many years and some written for this book, expressing his deeper feelings regarding his long search and its mostly devastating results. He links history to modern-day hatreds and reminds his readers of the exhortation “Never again.” “Today; One Day,” a poem of pain and hope, makes a poignant close.

An important work that is immensely personal, powerful, and heart-wrenching. (foreword, family tree, photos, documents, bibliography, index, acknowledgements) (Memoir/history. 10-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1289-1

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020


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


A retro yet timeless story of family and identity.

Martín brings his successful Mexikid Stories online comic series to print.

Living in California’s Central Coast as a first-generation Mexican American, Pedro (or the “American-style” Peter) struggles to find his place. As an American kid growing up in the 1970s, he loves Star Wars and Happy Days but dislikes the way his five oldest siblings, who were born in Mexico, make him feel less Mexican just because he and the three other younger siblings were born after his parents immigrated to the U.S. to work picking strawberries. A family trip to Jalisco to bring their abuelito back to California to live with them presents Pedro with an opportunity to get in touch with his roots and learn more about the places his family calls home. Told from Pedro’s perspective, the panels read as a stream-of-consciousness travelogue as he regales readers with his adventures from the road. Along the way, Pedro has fresh encounters with Mexican culture and experiences some unexpected side quests. Full of humor, heart, and a decent amount of gross-out moments, Martín’s coming-of-age memoir hits all the right notes. Though the family’s travels took place decades ago, the struggles with establishing identity, especially as a child of immigrants whose identity straddles two cultures, feel as current as ever. The vibrant, action-packed panels offer plentiful details for readers to pore over, from scenes of crowded family chaos to the sights of Mexico.

A retro yet timeless story of family and identity. (family photos, author’s note) (Graphic memoir. 9-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2023

ISBN: 9780593462287

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2023

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