Radical.

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SKATEBOARDS

From the Made by Hand series

Part minibiography, part DIY guide, this engaging book chronicles the making of handmade skateboards by a lifelong aficionado.

“If you’ve got wheels under your feet, you can fly.” A skateboard—composed of three main parts: a deck, trucks, and wheels—promises fast movement. That’s certainly how Californian surfers thought of skateboards in the 1960s. Though no one can definitively pin the origins of these boards-on-wheels to any one location or time, Lakin notes that California seems like a probable birthplace for them, emphasizing the connection between surfing and skateboarding. After a brief history of the skateboard, readers meet Jake Eshelman, a white craftsman whose skateboarding adventures began during his childhood in Virginia. The book then explores Jake’s notion to make handmade skateboards from tossed-out strips of wood like maple, cherry, and walnut and the founding of his company, Side Project Skateboards. The author follows this snapshot with an extensive look at Jake’s weeklong process, which features plenty of up-close, bright photographs detailing each step. The tone of the narrative voice remains upbeat and energetic throughout, while the text, photos, and various figures appear on graph-paper backdrops, keeping everything clean and pleasant. Ultimately, it’s the boards themselves that appeal: a timeline at the end of the book offers a glimpse at a broader view of the skateboard—and the cool world it inspires.

Radical. (timeline, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4833-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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A stellar collaboration that introduces an important and intriguing individual to today’s readers.

BECOMING MUHAMMAD ALI

From the Becoming Ali series , Vol. 1

Two bestselling authors imagine the boyhood of the man who became the legendary boxing icon Muhammad Ali.

Cassius was a spirited child growing up in segregated Louisville, Kentucky. He had a loving home with his parents and younger brother, Rudy. Granddaddy Herman also was an important figure, imparting life lessons. His parents wanted him to succeed in school, but Cassius had difficulty reading and found more pleasure in playing and exploring outdoors. Early on, he and Rudy knew the restrictions of being African American, for example, encountering “Whites Only” signs at parks, but the brothers dreamed of fame like that enjoyed by Black boxer Joe Louis. Popular Cassius was especially close to Lucius “Lucky” Wakely; despite their academic differences, their deep connection remained after Lucky received a scholarship to a Catholic school. When Cassius wandered into the Columbia Boxing Gym, it seemed to be destiny, and he developed into a successful youth boxer. Told in two voices, with prose for the voice of Lucky and free verse for Cassius, the narrative provides readers with a multidimensional view of the early life of and influences on an important figure in sports and social change. Lucky’s observations give context while Cassius’ poetry encapsulates his drive, energy, and gift with words. Combined with dynamic illustrations by Anyabwile, the book captures the historical and social environment that produced Muhammad Ali.

A stellar collaboration that introduces an important and intriguing individual to today’s readers. (bibliography) (Biographical novel. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-49816-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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A deceptively simple, tender tale in which respect, resilience, and hope triumph.

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WISHTREE

Generations of human and animal families grow and change, seen from the point of view of the red oak Wishing Tree that shelters them all.

Most trees are introverts at heart. So says Red, who is over 200 years old and should know. Not to mention that they have complicated relationships with humans. But this tree also has perspective on its animal friends and people who live within its purview—not just witnessing, but ultimately telling the tales of young people coming to this country alone or with family. An Irish woman named Maeve is the first, and a young 10-year-old Muslim girl named Samar is the most recent. Red becomes the repository for generations of wishes; this includes both observing Samar’s longing wish and sporting the hurtful word that another young person carves into their bark as a protest to Samar’s family’s presence. (Red is monoecious, they explain, with both male and female flowers.) Newbery medalist Applegate succeeds at interweaving an immigrant story with an animated natural world and having it all make sense. As Red observes, animals compete for resources just as humans do, and nature is not always pretty or fair or kind. This swiftly moving yet contemplative read is great for early middle grade, reluctant or tentative readers, or precocious younger students.

A deceptively simple, tender tale in which respect, resilience, and hope triumph. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-04322-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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