A handy go-to for teachers and students that offers a variety of methods for all different types of learners.

MEMORY SUPERPOWERS!

AN ADVENTUROUS GUIDE TO REMEMBERING WHAT YOU DON'T WANT TO FORGET

There is, apparently, an actual Grandmaster of Memory.

Dellis, a memory record holder and four-time winner at the U.S. Memory Championship, has crafted a book that offers exercises to improve memory. The book begins by setting a goal: defeating a mythical character called Memory Thief, who lurks at the summit of Mount Foreverest. The illustrations in each section are used as visual cues and act as memory guides to help readers navigate a variety of engaging memory exercises. In a section headed “Foreign Words,” for instance, the French “chou” (cabbage) is given a graphic mnemonic of a shoe crushing a head of cabbage. Even though the book’s overall goal is to follow the journey to the summit of Mount Foreverest, each chapter is individually accessible, such that readers don’t need to make their way through the book in a linear fashion. For example, if readers are having trouble memorizing lists, one chapter covers that particular skill. Another chapter coaches readers on how to remember names and faces. For help with schoolwork, there are memory tools for spelling and definitions as well as for how to remember numbers. These trickier sections may work best with a teacher or tutor on hand to defeat the Memory Thief, as the mnemonics gradually become more complicated.

A handy go-to for teachers and students that offers a variety of methods for all different types of learners. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3187-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats.

50 IMPRESSIVE KIDS AND THEIR AMAZING (AND TRUE!) STORIES

From the They Did What? series

Why should grown-ups get all the historical, scientific, athletic, cinematic, and artistic glory?

Choosing exemplars from both past and present, Mitchell includes but goes well beyond Alexander the Great, Anne Frank, and like usual suspects to introduce a host of lesser-known luminaries. These include Shapur II, who was formally crowned king of Persia before he was born, Indian dancer/professional architect Sheila Sri Prakash, transgender spokesperson Jazz Jennings, inventor Param Jaggi, and an international host of other teen or preteen activists and prodigies. The individual portraits range from one paragraph to several pages in length, and they are interspersed with group tributes to, for instance, the Nazi-resisting “Swingkinder,” the striking New York City newsboys, and the marchers of the Birmingham Children’s Crusade. Mitchell even offers would-be villains a role model in Elagabalus, “boy emperor of Rome,” though she notes that he, at least, came to an awful end: “Then, then! They dumped his remains in the Tiber River, to be nommed by fish for all eternity.” The entries are arranged in no evident order, and though the backmatter includes multiple booklists, a personality quiz, a glossary, and even a quick Braille primer (with Braille jokes to decode), there is no index. Still, for readers whose fires need lighting, there’s motivational kindling on nearly every page.

A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats. (finished illustrations not seen) (Collective biography. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-14-751813-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Puffin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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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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