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

THE MISSING

THE TRUE STORY OF MY FAMILY IN WORLD WAR II

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 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images.

THURGOOD

The life journey of the first African American to serve on the United States Supreme Court and the incidents that formed him.

Thurgood Marshall grew up in segregated Baltimore, Maryland, with a family that encouraged him to stand for justice. Despite attending poor schools, he found a way to succeed. His father instilled in him a love of the law and encouraged him to argue like a lawyer during dinner conversations. His success in college meant he could go to law school, but the University of Maryland did not accept African American students. Instead, Marshall went to historically black Howard University, where he was mentored by civil rights lawyer Charles Houston. Marshall’s first major legal case was against the law school that denied him a place, and his success brought him to the attention of the NAACP and ultimately led to his work on the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education, which itself led to his appointment to the Supreme Court. This lively narrative serves as an introduction to the life of one of the country’s important civil rights figures. Important facts in Marshall’s life are effectively highlighted in an almost staccato fashion. The bold watercolor-and-collage illustrations, beginning with an enticing cover, capture and enhance the strong tone set by the words.

A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images. (author’s note, photos) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6533-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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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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