An extraordinary life memorably and evocatively presented.

NICKY & VERA

A QUIET HERO OF THE HOLOCAUST AND THE CHILDREN HE RESCUED

One man made a difference as the full horror of the Holocaust began.

In late 1938, a young Englishman of German Jewish descent named Nicholas Winton, known as Nicky, visited Prague, where he saw the many Jewish refugees from Germany’s Sudetenland annexation and Kristallnacht. Using means both legal and illegal, he organized paperwork and arranged for eight trains to transport 669 children to safety in Great Britain. Veruška “Vera” Diamantova was a 10-year-old Jewish girl whose parents made the wrenching decision to send her away on one of those trains. After the war, Nicky never spoke of it and put the papers in his attic. Fifty years would pass before his wife found them. A TV show with a reunion of Nicky and the surviving children followed. Sís, Czech-born, tells the story in straightforward declarative sentences that drive the narrative. His brilliantly conceived paintings are an emotional anchor. With varying palettes—blue for Nicky, gold for Vera, and gray for the war scenes—the art flows easily from full-page vistas to miniature scenes that swirl and circle around the pages and even within the outlines of figures and buildings. Readers can pore over the details as Vera stands alone in a London train station awaiting her new family and then count the trains that were able to depart.

An extraordinary life memorably and evocatively presented. (author's note) (Picture book. 7-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-324-01574-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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With young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many.

GUTS

Young Raina is 9 when she throws up for the first time that she remembers, due to a stomach bug. Even a year later, when she is in fifth grade, she fears getting sick.

Raina begins having regular stomachaches that keep her home from school. She worries about sharing food with her friends and eating certain kinds of foods, afraid of getting sick or food poisoning. Raina’s mother enrolls her in therapy. At first Raina isn’t sure about seeing a therapist, but over time she develops healthy coping mechanisms to deal with her stress and anxiety. Her therapist helps her learn to ground herself and relax, and in turn she teaches her classmates for a school project. Amping up the green, wavy lines to evoke Raina’s nausea, Telgemeier brilliantly produces extremely accurate visual representations of stress and anxiety. Thought bubbles surround Raina in some panels, crowding her with anxious “what if”s, while in others her negative self-talk appears to be literally crushing her. Even as she copes with anxiety disorder and what is eventually diagnosed as mild irritable bowel syndrome, she experiences the typical stresses of school life, going from cheer to panic in the blink of an eye. Raina is white, and her classmates are diverse; one best friend is Korean American.

With young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many. (Graphic memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-545-85251-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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IF YOU LIVED DURING THE PLIMOTH THANKSGIVING

A measured corrective to pervasive myths about what is often referred to as the “first Thanksgiving.”

Contextualizing them within a Native perspective, Newell (Passamaquoddy) touches on the all-too-familiar elements of the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving and its origins and the history of English colonization in the territory now known as New England. In addition to the voyage and landfall of the Mayflower, readers learn about the Doctrine of Discovery that arrogated the lands of non-Christian peoples to European settlers; earlier encounters between the Indigenous peoples of the region and Europeans; and the Great Dying of 1616-1619, which emptied the village of Patuxet by 1620. Short, two- to six-page chapters alternate between the story of the English settlers and exploring the complex political makeup of the region and the culture, agriculture, and technology of the Wampanoag—all before covering the evolution of the holiday. Refreshingly, the lens Newell offers is a Native one, describing how the Wampanoag and other Native peoples received the English rather than the other way around. Key words ranging from estuary to discover are printed in boldface in the narrative and defined in a closing glossary. Nelson (a member of the Leech Lake Band of Minnesota Chippewa) contributes soft line-and-color illustrations of the proceedings. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Essential. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-72637-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Scholastic Nonfiction

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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