A rigorous, relatable text about one of America’s all-time entertainers and social activists.

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SING AND SHOUT

THE MIGHTY VOICE OF PAUL ROBESON

Focuses on Robeson’s rich, multifaceted legacy, including how his love for song served as a touchpoint throughout his historic life.

A veteran author for younger readers, Rubin provides a meticulously researched biography that integrates numerous archival images. This offering foregrounds Robeson as a powerful, studied voice of Negro spirituals, a black folk music tradition rich in religious symbolism that arose in response (and resistance to) enslavement in the U.S. Lyrics from Robeson’s repertoire form the titles of chapters, which cover his birth in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1898; his childhood and youth; his triumphant global following in the 1930s and ’40s; the turbulent 1950s, when he became a primary target of Cold War McCarthyism; and his final years in Philadelphia. Harry Belafonte, Robeson’s mentee, provides a preface, declaring his significance as a champion of the oppressed as being on par with that of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. With such an exceptional man, it would be easy to simply submit to hero worship, but Rubin lays out Robeson’s lifelong evolution on a number of personal and political issues in dialogue with his wife, Eslanda, and other noteworthy figures. Readers can expect to sit with these lessons from the committed life of one of the 20th century’s most resonant voices.

A rigorous, relatable text about one of America’s all-time entertainers and social activists. (preface, foreword, note on terminology, personal note, bibliography, Robeson’s music, Harlem walking tour, source notes, index, picture credits, text and song permissions) (Biography. 12-adult)

Pub Date: today

ISBN: 978-1-62979-857-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

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DRAGON HOOPS

The trials of a high school basketball team trying to clinch the state title and the graphic novelist chronicling them.

The Dragons, Bishop O’Dowd High School’s basketball team, have a promising lineup of players united by the same goal. Backed by Coach Lou Richie, an alumnus himself, this could be the season the Oakland, California, private Catholic school breaks their record. While Yang (Team Avatar Tales, 2019, etc.), a math teacher and former National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, is not particularly sporty, he is intrigued by the potential of this story and decides to focus his next graphic novel on the team’s ninth bid for the state championship. Yang seamlessly blends a portrait of the Dragons with the international history of basketball while also tying in his own career arc as a graphic novelist as he tries to balance family, teaching, and comics. Some panels directly address the creative process, such as those depicting an interaction between Yang and a Punjabi student regarding the way small visual details cue ethnicity in different ways. This creative combination of memoir and reportage elicits questions of storytelling, memory, and creative liberty as well as addressing issues of equity and race. The full-color illustrations are varied in layout, effectively conveying intense emotion and heart-stopping action on the court. Yang is Chinese American, Richie is black, and there is significant diversity among the team members.

A winner. (notes, bibliography) (Graphic nonfiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62672-079-4

Page Count: 448

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A powerful reminder of a history that is all too timely today.

THEY CALLED US ENEMY

A beautifully heart-wrenching graphic-novel adaptation of actor and activist Takei’s (Lions and Tigers and Bears, 2013, etc.) childhood experience of incarceration in a World War II camp for Japanese Americans.

Takei had not yet started school when he, his parents, and his younger siblings were forced to leave their home and report to the Santa Anita Racetrack for “processing and removal” due to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066. The creators smoothly and cleverly embed the historical context within which Takei’s family’s story takes place, allowing readers to simultaneously experience the daily humiliations that they suffered in the camps while providing readers with a broader understanding of the federal legislation, lawsuits, and actions which led to and maintained this injustice. The heroes who fought against this and provided support to and within the Japanese American community, such as Fred Korematsu, the 442nd Regiment, Herbert Nicholson, and the ACLU’s Wayne Collins, are also highlighted, but the focus always remains on the many sacrifices that Takei’s parents made to ensure the safety and survival of their family while shielding their children from knowing the depths of the hatred they faced and danger they were in. The creators also highlight the dangerous parallels between the hate speech, stereotyping, and legislation used against Japanese Americans and the trajectory of current events. Delicate grayscale illustrations effectively convey the intense emotions and the stark living conditions.

A powerful reminder of a history that is all too timely today. (Graphic memoir. 14-adult)

Pub Date: July 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-60309-450-4

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Top Shelf Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 5, 2019

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