A child-friendly book about Islamic figures’ names that speaks mainly to the initiated.

THE NAME CHRONICLES

What’s in a name when it belongs to an important figure in Islam? A nonfiction book uses a graphic novel format to demystify the subject for older children.

“Our names are a very special part of us,” Mir writes. “Many times, they shape our personalities and even explain who we are or the person we would like to become.” So it’s fitting that this book pays close attention to names as it profiles 14 important figures in Islam, beginning with the Prophet Muhammad and moving chronologically through to Imam Al-Mahdi. Each chapter focuses on a different person and includes key facts about its subject’s life and a timeline of its religiously and historically significant events. But comic book–style stories about the figures—and how their words and deeds exemplify their names—form the heart of the collection. Mir, the author of Tales of the Messenger (2019), uses eye-catching pages to describe people like Imam Al-Kadhim, whose name means “the one who swallows his anger.” One day a farmer insults Imam Al-Kadhim, based on falsehoods he’s heard, and the imam’s companions want to use violence to teach the farmer a lesson. But the imam treats the man kindly, asking what he hopes to earn off his land. When the farmer says “Two hundred gold coins!,” Imam Al-Kadhim gives him 300, changing the man’s opinion of his character. As the book tells such stories, it abounds with undefined Arabic words and phrases—and references to events in Islamic history—which only readers who understand Arabic may be able to appreciate. Although some word bubbles have confusing placement, the engaging illustrations nonetheless may appeal to preteen and older children.

A child-friendly book about Islamic figures’ names that speaks mainly to the initiated.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-68312-132-9

Page Count: 191

Publisher: Kisa Kids Publications

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2020

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Give this a pass: much clearer pictures of what DNA does and the strong personalities who were involved in winkling out its...

THEY CHANGED THE WORLD

CRICK & WATSON—THE DISCOVERY OF DNA

From the Campfire Heroes series

The story of the discovery of the structure of DNA, in graphic format.

Failing to take advantage of either the format or the historic search’s drama, this rendition presents a portentous account heavy on explication and melodramatic rhetoric and featuring a cast of grimacing or pinched-looking figures spouting wooden dialogue. Watson: “So if we combine our research with Rosalind’s data and…” Crick: “And Linus’s approach of building models. We might be able to figure this out.” Helfand diffuses the focus by paying nearly as much attention to the childhoods and early careers of Linus Pauling, Maurice Wilkins, and Rosalind Franklin as he does to Watson and Crick but downplays the rivalries that drove the race. Also, for all the technical detail he injects (“the phosphates would have to be on the outside”) and further explanations in the back, readers will be left in the dark about the role of genes, how DNA actually works, or even the significance of its double helix structure. A closing note about the contributions of Indian-born Nobelist Har Gobind Khorana adds a note of diversity to the all-white cast.

Give this a pass: much clearer pictures of what DNA does and the strong personalities who were involved in winkling out its secrets are available. (Graphic nonfiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-93-81182-21-5

Page Count: 92

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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A safe, readable book on a challenging topic that offers conservative, prayerful advice for young teens.

THE WHOLE GUY THING

Rue, who maintains a Christian teen blog, has gathered questions from female preteens and young teens on a variety of topics related to interactions with boys, and here she expands that into an advice resource.

Chapters follow the same general format but focus on slightly different topics. First she quotes from a few young women and then presents a brief quiz so girls can identify where they fall on an emotional spectrum. She follows with a few comments from young men summarizing their group perspective, some related scriptural material and topics for conversations with parents. Finally, she includes a blank section where girls can record their feelings. Most of the topics seem to center around how to comfortably interact with boys or how to accept not being able or willing to do so. The chapter entitled “Do They Really Just Want One Thing?” addresses the issue of sexual activity, with a caveat: “We’re not going to discuss any of the actual details of the act.” For girls that have already engaged in sex, she offers this comfort: “[P]lease don't feel like you’re damaged goods. You are a human being who has made a mistake, and who among us hasn’t messed up somewhere?” Most of the gently but unapologetically preachy advice steers girls toward parental guidance and soulful conversations with God.

A safe, readable book on a challenging topic that offers conservative, prayerful advice for young teens. (Nonfiction. 11-15)

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-310-72684-5

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Zondervan

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2012

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