CHILD OF THE DREAM

A MEMOIR OF 1963

A lovingly honest memoir of a racial—and social activist—past that really hasn’t passed.

“Sharon, I cannot promise you that the passage of any law will eliminate hate. But the laws will give Negroes full citizenship and bring us closer to equality.”

Legendary baseball player Jackie Robinson—most famously known for breaking baseball’s racial barrier when he played with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947—gave this nuanced benediction to his only daughter, 13-year-old Sharon, as the family heard the disheartening news of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. What the memoirist also beautifully and accessibly conveys is how her parents succeeded—and, by their admission, sometimes failed—in rooting her and her two brothers, 10-year-old David and 16-year-old Jackie Jr., in the realities of pater Robinson’s renown, Connecticut’s 1960s-style racial microaggressions, and the seismic social and political shifts augured by the emerging civil rights movement. Thanks to the author’s deft and down-to-earth style, readers understand how the personal and political converge: When her brother runs away from home in order to get away from his father’s shadow, she muses on the social pressures of a school dance in the midst of midcentury U.S. racism; it is at a jazz fundraiser her parents coordinate for the Southern Christian Leadership conference that she finally meets Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

A lovingly honest memoir of a racial—and social activist—past that really hasn’t passed. (Memoir. 8-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-28280-1

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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

GUTS

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

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 11, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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