A well-organized, informative overview.

EBOLA

FEARS AND FACTS

This brief overview of the history and nature of this deadly disease offers readers context for recent news headlines.

Named for a long, winding river in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Ebola virus first appeared in 1976, killing over 100 people. Since the first outbreak, Ebola has appeared in central Africa without warning and at no consistent intervals. It seems to reappear in villages after some significant disturbance in the jungle, such as brush clearing or hunting. Newman explains how subsequent outbreaks have enabled scientists to identify patterns of Ebola symptoms and how the disease is transmitted. There is discussion of the limited options for treatment of infected people and the potential risks to health care workers treating victims. A good deal of attention is devoted to the most recent outbreak, which Newman compares and contrasts with notable outbreaks of other diseases, such as the 1918 flu pandemic, SARS, and bird flu, a strategy intended to alleviate fears readers may have. Good advice is offered on how readers can judge the reliability of information they see about widely reported stories such as the recent Ebola outbreak. Newman concludes with a list of frequently asked questions.

A well-organized, informative overview. (diagrams, maps, photos, glossary, source notes, bibliography, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4677-9240-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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Not your typical kid-with-cancer book.

WINK

A rare form of cancer takes its toll in this novel based on the author’s experience.

Seventh grader Ross Maloy wants nothing more than to be an average middle schooler, hanging out with his best friends, Abby and Isaac, avoiding the school bully, and crushing on the popular girl. There’s just one thing keeping Ross from being completely ordinary: the rare form of eye cancer that’s reduced him to the kid with cancer at school. Ross’ eye is closed in a permanent wink, and he constantly wears a cowboy hat to protect his eyes. The doctors are hopeful that Ross will be cancer free after treatment, but his vision will be impaired, and the treatments cause him to lose his hair and require the application of a particularly goopy ointment. This isn’t a cancer book built upon a foundation of prayer, hope, and life lessons. The driving force here is Ross’ justifiable anger. Ross is angry at the anonymous kids making hurtful memes about him and at Isaac for abandoning him when he needs a friend most. Ross funnels his feelings into learning how to play guitar, hoping to make a splash at the school’s talent show. The author balances this anger element well against the typical middle-grade tropes. Misunderstood bully? Check. Well-meaning parents? Check. While some of these elements will feel familiar, the novel’s emotional climax remains effectively earned. Characters are paper-white in Harrell’s accompanying cartoons.

Not your typical kid-with-cancer book. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1514-9

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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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