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FREEDOM WALKERS

THE STORY OF THE MONTGOMERY BUS BOYCOTT

Beginning with the story of a college professor’s frightening experience on a Montgomery bus, Freedman brings this oft-told story to an audience ready to move beyond the popular legend. Civil-rights activist E.D. Nixon was looking for the best person to be the standard-bearer in a constitutional challenge to the segregated bus system of Montgomery, Ala. Though several others had been confronted or arrested on the buses, Rosa Parks was the perfect choice. Intelligent and quiet, the 42-year-old Parks had been involved in civil-rights work for years. Her arrest was used to launch the modern Civil Rights movement, resulting in a successful strike of 381 days and the eventual U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Alabama’s bus segregation laws were unconstitutional. Freedman does a masterful job of making a complex point in history—with so many key players and pivotal events—accessible and interesting to a young audience. The focus is on everyday people acting on behalf of what was right, even before they knew it would become a movement, people who became “actors in an historical drama that changed a nation.” Clear prose, well-chosen photographs and superb source notes and bibliography make this an essential source on the topic. (Nonfiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2006

ISBN: 0-8234-2031-0

Page Count: 114

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2006

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BIG APPLE DIARIES

An authentic and moving time capsule of middle school angst, trauma, and joy.

Through the author’s own childhood diary entries, a seventh grader details her inner life before and after 9/11.

Alyssa’s diary entries start in September 2000, in the first week of her seventh grade year. She’s 11 and dealing with typical preteen concerns—popularity and anxiety about grades—along with other things more particular to her own life. She’s shuffling between Queens and Manhattan to share time between her divorced parents and struggling with thick facial hair and classmates who make her feel like she’s “not a whole person” due to her mixed White and Puerto Rican heritage. Alyssa is endlessly earnest and awkward as she works up the courage to talk to her crush, Alejandro; gushes about her dreams of becoming a shoe designer; and tries to solve her burgeoning unibrow problem. The diaries also have a darker side, as a sense of impending doom builds as the entries approach 9/11, especially because Alyssa’s father works in finance in the World Trade Center. As a number of the diary entries are taken directly from the author’s originals, they effortlessly capture the loud, confusing feelings middle school brings out. The artwork, in its muted but effective periwinkle tones, lends a satisfying layer to the diary’s accessible and delightful format.

An authentic and moving time capsule of middle school angst, trauma, and joy. (author's note) (Graphic memoir. 8-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-77427-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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WONDER

A memorable story of kindness, courage and wonder.

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After being home-schooled for years, Auggie Pullman is about to start fifth grade, but he’s worried: How will he fit into middle school life when he looks so different from everyone else?

Auggie has had 27 surgeries to correct facial anomalies he was born with, but he still has a face that has earned him such cruel nicknames as Freak, Freddy Krueger, Gross-out and Lizard face. Though “his features look like they’ve been melted, like the drippings on a candle” and he’s used to people averting their eyes when they see him, he’s an engaging boy who feels pretty ordinary inside. He’s smart, funny, kind and brave, but his father says that having Auggie attend Beecher Prep would be like sending “a lamb to the slaughter.” Palacio divides the novel into eight parts, interspersing Auggie’s first-person narrative with the voices of family members and classmates, wisely expanding the story beyond Auggie’s viewpoint and demonstrating that Auggie’s arrival at school doesn’t test only him, it affects everyone in the community. Auggie may be finding his place in the world, but that world must find a way to make room for him, too.

A memorable story of kindness, courage and wonder. (Fiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-86902-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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