A kindhearted, engaging story of helping modern immigrant children via a 400-year-old classic text.

KID QUIXOTES

A GROUP OF STUDENTS, THEIR TEACHER, AND THE ONE-ROOM SCHOOL WHERE EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE

The story of an after-school program that helps immigrant children adjust to their new American life.

What does reading and translating Don Quixote, published in the early 17th century, have to do with modern-day life for immigrant children in Bushwick, Brooklyn? Quite a lot, according to Haff, a theater director and former high school English teacher, who set up Still Waters in a Storm for children of undocumented immigrants. As he writes, the author chose Cervantes’ work because “that book is everything human—it is funny and tragic and beautiful and disgusting and smart and stupid—and because it was written in Spanish, the native language of my students and their families.” By reading the quirky tale of a man who never gave up his dreams, Haff’s students have found new meaning in their own lives despite the constant fear of deportation amid the current toxic landscape surrounding immigration, an atmosphere inflamed by the current presidential administration. Not only did the students read the book and translate it out loud; they also adapted it into a series of musicals that they wrote. They became Kid Quixotes, acting out their own versions of the story, which they performed in multiple venues. Haff also includes his own story of being an educator suffering from bipolar depression and how this project has positively impacted his life as well. This is a decidedly upbeat book full of compassion and an attentiveness to language, and Haff imparts pertinent lessons regarding truth, hope, thoughtfulness, awareness, friendships, and what it means to be genuine. The narrative also carries the weight of what each child must endure as an immigrant, including racism, distrust, and fear, and shows how they have worked to overcome these obstacles via songs, acting, drawings, and imaginative retellings of their lives.

A kindhearted, engaging story of helping modern immigrant children via a 400-year-old classic text.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-293406-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: HarperOne

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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