A necessarily sorrowful but insightful view of a war whose horrors are ongoing.

Having explored her German family’s part in World War II, Krug now turns to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

When war in Ukraine broke out in February 2022, Krug turned to two acquaintances, a Ukrainian journalist and an artist from St. Petersburg, and asked about their feelings. From their answers, set in two columns, she developed this 52-week illustrated narrative. Both respondents, “K.” and “D.,” greeted the first moments of war with shock. K. took her children from Kyiv to the relative safety of Lviv, while D. discussed emigrating with his wife and children. “It’s impossible to breathe freely here,” he says. “You live with the fear that they might come for you.” As time passed, D. documented the increasing repression that accompanied the demand that Russian citizens support Putin’s war; meanwhile, K. chronicled the increasing resolve of her compatriots to resist. “I saw the photographs of the massacres in Bucha and Irpin,” she notes. “The only thought I have in my mind is that I don’t know how to live in a world where something like this happens.” Krug’s thought experiment might have been more meaningful had the two respondents not been so like-minded: Both decry the war and oppose Putin while insisting on Ukraine’s sovereignty, and both liken Russia’s invasion to that of Nazi Germany 80 years earlier. D., visiting neighboring Latvia, was surprised to discover that many Russians in that country supported the war, but he notes that they were in the minority overall, even as, back at home, “the place where Russian culture is most actively canceled is Russia itself.” Both of them hope for peace, but, as K. writes, realistically, “The animosity between Ukrainians and Russians will remain for years, decades even.”

A necessarily sorrowful but insightful view of a war whose horrors are ongoing.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2023

ISBN: 9781984862440

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023


An accessible, informative journey through complex issues during turbulent times.

Immersion journalism in the form of a graphic narrative following a Syrian family on their immigration to America.

Originally published as a 22-part series in the New York Times that garnered a Pulitzer for editorial cartooning, the story of the Aldabaan family—first in exile in Jordan and then in New Haven, Connecticut—holds together well as a full-length book. Halpern and Sloan, who spent more than three years with the Aldabaans, movingly explore the family’s significant obstacles, paying special attention to teenage son Naji, whose desire for the ideal of the American dream was the strongest. While not minimizing the harshness of the repression that led them to journey to the U.S.—or the challenges they encountered after they arrived—the focus on the day-by-day adjustment of a typical teenager makes the narrative refreshingly tangible and free of political polemic. Still, the family arrived at New York’s JFK airport during extraordinarily political times: Nov. 8, 2016, the day that Donald Trump was elected. The plan had been for the entire extended family to move, but some had traveled while others awaited approval, a process that was hampered by Trump’s travel ban. The Aldabaans encountered the daunting odds that many immigrants face: find shelter and employment, become self-sustaining quickly, learn English, and adjust to a new culture and climate (Naji learned to shovel snow, which he had never seen). They also received anonymous death threats, and Naji wanted to buy a gun for protection. He asked himself, “Was this the great future you were talking about back in Jordan?” Yet with the assistance of selfless volunteers and a community of fellow immigrants, the Aldabaans persevered. The epilogue provides explanatory context and where-are-they-now accounts, and Sloan’s streamlined, uncluttered illustrations nicely complement the text, consistently emphasizing the humanity of each person.

An accessible, informative journey through complex issues during turbulent times.

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-30559-6

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020


A sharp compendium of dreamy visions that could only have come from the iconic cartoonist’s sleeping mind.

The renowned cartoonist taps into Freud, Jung, and Kabbalah to discuss what happens when the head hits the pillow.

Chast, famed New Yorker cartoonist and winner of the inaugural Kirkus Prize for Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? makes it clear that while your own dreams may be inherently interesting, listening to other’ dreams is markedly not. Thankfully, the author’s thumbnail depictions of dreams that span a cross section of her bedside dream journal bring just enough humor and wit for readers to be charmed instantly. “This book is dedicated to the Dream District of our brains,” writes the author, “that weird and uncolonized area where anything can happen, from the sublime to the mundane to the ridiculous to the off-the-charts bats.” Familiar classics—“alone at a party,” “teeth falling out”—sit alongside the bizarre and hilarious—e.g., “too many birds not enough cages.” Even actor Wallace Shawn, son of former New Yorker editor William Shawn, makes an appearance: “He and I were walking down Main Street in a town in Connecticut and I needed to point something out to him: ‘Look, It’s a Broccoli Patch!’ ” From “Recurring Dreams” to “Nightmares” to “Dream Fragments or Ones That Got Away,” Chast explores beyond the first blush of the strange and personal in dreams. She writes, “here’s what’s interesting: dreams come out of my brain…as I sleep, I am creating them…so why, as they unfold, am I always so surprised?!??” The author reaches for answers beyond Freud and Jung to a wider range of insights from Kabbalah, Aristotle, neuroscientists, molecular biologists, and more. Illustrations and visual storytelling weave together a broad range of content on dreams that offers insight while never feeling burdensome or overly analytical. Easy on the eyes and witty, this book will have readers reaching for their own dream journals.

A sharp compendium of dreamy visions that could only have come from the iconic cartoonist’s sleeping mind.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2023

ISBN: 9781620403228

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2023

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