I WILL NOT

"I will not": this brief book shows the positive power in a negative.

A heartfelt lament by a Palestinian writer is paired to evocative images by an Israeli illustrator.

The recurring image of a dead bird appears on the book's cover and twice again within this call for a halt to violence. The speaker appeals to common humanity in urging readers to join her in the titular refusal to kill: "I see mothers wailing for the loss of their children. / I see children grasping the air seeking the comforting arms of their slain mothers. / I see fathers burying their babies in white cloths." Eitan's mixed-media paintings play with symbolism and, appropriately, negative space. A tank faces a flowering cactus; the silhouette of a child holds a doll in her lap, blood streaming down from her scalp. While Farouky's verse is uneven, rhymed portions featuring some clumsy wording and halting rhythms, it is nevertheless sincere, and Eitan's art speaks volumes itself. In paired closing images, two women reach out to each other: in the first, dark silhouettes appear against a red sky and a leafless tree; with the turn of the page, they appear in full color under a blue sky and pink-blossoming tree. Translations of the poem in Hebrew and Arabic follow the text in the English edition along with background on the poem, and there are separate Hebrew and Arabic editions as well.

"I will not": this brief book shows the positive power in a negative. (Picture book. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-63083-540-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: StarWalk Kids Media

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

BETWEEN SISTERS

Ghanaian teenager Gloria Bampo has hit a rough patch. She failed most of her school exams, her long-unemployed father has lost himself to religion and her mother is ravaged by a mysterious sickness. Her one consolation, her older sister Effie, has discovered boys and all but disappeared. Gloria is offered a job in a distant city with Christine, a doctor who needs househelp. Her father is quick to assent, with one condition: In lieu of payment, Christine must take responsibility for Gloria's future and adopt her as a sister. Gloria adjusts easily, studies hard and explores her newfound freedom. But when the temptations of her new life—brand-name clothes and handsome doctors—prove hard to resist, a misunderstanding cuts a rift between Gloria and Christine. Each must confront class stereotypes and re-examine the meaning of family. Badoe's sharp and engaging prose unfolds the story with spryness, deftly navigating readers through heady social issues. But she wastes readers' goodwill at the end with a conclusion both haphazard and overly moralistic, jarringly out of place in this otherwise thoughtful and well-excuted novel. (Ghanaian glossary) (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-88899-996-2

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2010

WHEN I WAS JOE

When 14-year-old Ty witnesses a brutal murder involving neighborhood thugs, he and his mom are put into a witness-protection program in a small town far away from their East London home. Now named Joe, Ty enters a new school a year behind and finds himself haunted by his past and torn between two girls: Ellie, a physically disabled teen who trains able-bodied runners, and her sister, Ashley. Despite lots of Briticisms and the occasional longwinded spells of narration, David pens a mostly fast-moving page-turner. Her characterizations feel mostly fully fleshed, and their dialogue rings true. The staunchly un-Americanized text results in some odd, culturally specific references that could confuse some readers unfamiliar with the milieu: Kissing Ashley makes Ty's body sizzle like sausages in a pan, for instance. The contemplative pages within the blood-spattered cover may disappoint readers more drawn to gore than to the self-reflection the experience renders in Ty. However, if teens can move past these speed bumps, they’ll find a complex, engaging read about a boy starting a new life by escaping his past. (Thriller. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84580-131-9

Page Count: 358

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2010

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