A fascinating treatment of a key civil rights moment.

FREEDOM SUMMER

THE 1964 STRUGGLE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS IN MISSISSIPPI

In time for the 50th anniversary of the pivotal civil rights event, Rubin presents heroes, villains and everyday people in 1964 Mississippi.

Freedom schools, voter-registration drives and murders drew national attention to Mississippi during the Freedom Summer, and actions there affected the civil rights movement elsewhere, all culminating in the Voting Rights Act, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965. The number of eligible black voters rose from 6.4 percent prior to Freedom Summer to 60 percent by the end of 1966. Two threads weave through Rubin’s narrative—a detailed story of the murders of civil rights workers Mickey Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman and a less focused, anecdotal picture of freedom schools and voter registration, drawing on extensive personal interviews. Though archival material and many photographs are included, too many pages of dense text are unrelieved by visuals. The extensive research is well-documented, and young readers may find much of interest in the websites recommended. Overall, the account is accessible and passionate, taking the events of that violent summer into the present, when, in 2005, 80-year-old, wheelchair-bound Edgar Ray Killen was found guilty of the murders of Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman and sentenced to three 20-year jail terms.

A fascinating treatment of a key civil rights moment. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2920-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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A rich and deeply felt slice of life.

JUST PRETEND

Crafting fantasy worlds offers a budding middle school author relief and distraction from the real one in this graphic memoir debut.

Everyone in Tori’s life shows realistic mixes of vulnerability and self-knowledge while, equally realistically, seeming to be making it up as they go. At least, as she shuttles between angrily divorced parents—dad becoming steadily harder to reach, overstressed mom spectacularly incapable of reading her offspring—or drifts through one wearingly dull class after another, she has both vivacious bestie Taylor Lee and, promisingly, new classmate Nick as well as the (all-girl) heroic fantasy, complete with portals, crystal amulets, and evil enchantments, taking shape in her mind and on paper. The flow of school projects, sleepovers, heart-to-heart conversations with Taylor, and like incidents (including a scene involving Tori’s older brother, who is having a rough adolescence, that could be seen as domestic violence) turns to a tide of change as eighth grade winds down and brings unwelcome revelations about friends. At least the story remains as solace and, at the close, a sense that there are still chapters to come in both worlds. Working in a simple, expressive cartoon style reminiscent of Raina Telgemeier’s, Sharp captures facial and body language with easy naturalism. Most people in the spacious, tidily arranged panels are White; Taylor appears East Asian, and there is diversity in background characters.

A rich and deeply felt slice of life. (afterword, design notes) (Graphic memoir. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-53889-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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A powerful resource for young people itching for change.

WOLFPACK (YOUNG READERS EDITION)

HOW YOUNG PEOPLE WILL FIND THEIR VOICE, UNITE THEIR PACK, AND CHANGE THE WORLD

Soccer star and activist Wambach adapts Wolfpack (2019), her New York Times bestseller for adults, for a middle-grade audience.

YOU. ARE. THE. WOLVES.” That rallying cry, each word proudly occupying its own line on the page, neatly sums up the fierce determination Wambach demands of her audience. The original Wolfpack was an adaptation of the viral 2018 commencement speech she gave at Barnard College; in her own words, it was “a directive to unleash [the graduates’] individuality, unite the collective, and change the world.” This new adaption takes the themes of the original and recasts them in kid-friendly terms, the call to action feeling more relevant now than ever. With the exception of the introduction and closing remarks, each short chapter presents a new leadership philosophy, dishing out such timeless advice as “Be grateful and ambitious”; “Make failure your fuel”; “Champion each other”; and “Find your pack.” Chapters utilize “rules” as a framing device. The first page of each presents a generalized “old” and “new” rule pertaining to that chapter’s guiding principle, and each chapter closes with a “Call to the Wolfpack” that sums up those principles in more specific terms. Some parts of the book come across as somewhat quixotic or buzzword-heavy, but Wambach deftly mitigates much of the preachiness with a bluff, congenial tone and refreshing dashes of self-deprecating humor. Personal anecdotes help ground each of the philosophies in applicability, and myriad heavy issues are respectfully, yet simply broached.

A powerful resource for young people itching for change. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-76686-1

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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