A worthy coming-of-age story about resilience.


Ofili’s debut teaches readers that moving forward is the only option.

Olivia Evezi wants to find her place in a world where she never wholly belongs. In her home of Warri, Nigeria, her white German immigrant mother is referred to as “Oyinbo,” and Olivia dislikes the way it marks them as different. Sent to boarding school in Lagos, she is immediately othered and treated poorly because of her mixed heritage. Her fantasies of jolly adventures are quickly dashed by the realities of oppression and hazing. Hoping to put that mistreatment behind her, she finds her way to Hamburg, Germany, to attend university. Her arrival is less than pleasant after being questioned by a customs agent and embarrassing herself on an escalator. And she quickly learns that while in Nigeria she wasn’t black enough, in Germany she isn’t white enough. Among her multiethnic co-workers at a bakery she finds a family and a purpose, but it isn’t enough to shield her from harsh realities. Illustrations of birds interspersed throughout the story represent Olivia’s need to escape the familiar and seek what the rest of the world has to offer. Weyhe (Arbeit, 2018, etc.) infuses West African–style figures and art executed in simple lines with an orange, brown, and green color palette. Her expressive faces pair well with the honest, straightforward text, bringing to life the journey of a young woman seeking acceptance and belonging.

A worthy coming-of-age story about resilience. (Graphic fiction. 13-adult)

Pub Date: May 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-911115-61-8

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Cassava Republic Press

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Enlightening and inspiring #ownvoices accounts by young activists.



Personal accounts of 16 young Latin American immigrants told as side-by-side pen-and-ink bilingual comics.

The comic strips and accompanying short bios in Spanish and English came about through an initiative by the Latin American Youth Center in Washington, D.C. The compelling stories shared by these students, all members of the Latino Youth Leadership Council and active in the fight for social justice, signal their desire to serve as beacons or lifelines for other young immigrants. Their testimonies, as Newbery Medal winner Meg Medina (Merci Suárez Changes Gears, 2018, etc.) points out in her foreword, are ultimately about courage. The courage needed to leave behind the familiarity of their home environments—El Salvador, Cuba, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala—is evident throughout, as the stories showcase the many reasons migrants have for coming to the U.S., including seeking better opportunities, fleeing violence, and reuniting with family after years of painful separation. The young authors don’t shy away from tough subjects: There are descriptions of grief, cultural dislocation, cutting, and a suicide attempt. The format doesn’t allow for thorough explorations of the root causes for migration, but the emphasis is on the hopeful and positive paths these young adults have forged. The editorial decision to retain “authentic student voices" in the essays means that some of the writing was not revised, and reflects the code switching and language loss that come with the disruption of lives and education.

Enlightening and inspiring #ownvoices accounts by young activists. (Graphic memoir. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-945434-92-1

Page Count: 316

Publisher: Shout Mouse Press

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Colorful and upbeat graphics, probing questions, and thoughtful exercises come together to promote understanding and...



A debut interactive workbook for teenagers provides an introduction to positive psychology and various applications.

The challenges teens face are particularly unusual and wide-ranging—from new responsibilities and changing bodies to uncertainty about their futures and ever shifting relationships with parents, peers, and authority figures. These are piled on the pressures of schoolwork that many students have difficulty seeing as important. The philosophy of YOUTH Positive is one of self-understanding and personal management during these turbulent years, introducing ideas of mindfulness and practices like meditation as simple-to-comprehend concepts with easy-to–re-create techniques. In addition, there are more common but just as important tips like eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Each section of the workbook presents pointed questions to promote self-discovery, encouraging adolescent readers to answer through writings or drawings. Negative thoughts and their impacts on relationships and achievements are framed not merely in the context of success and failure, but also what was learned and how these lessons can be applied for self-betterment. Questions about what activities and interests foster the individual’s creativity and passion are especially explored as they concern decisions about a young person’s future and the dreams that should be pursued. Dahl’s book is upbeat and engaging, utilizing her 15-plus years of teaching experience in both public and private schools to offer solutions to everyday teen trials through the ideals of positive psychology. Bright colors, photographs, and charts, coupled with debut illustrator Aramanda’s charming and inclusive images, will likely resonate more with younger teens, but the overall effect is still far less stodgy than a typical textbook. The work is well-cited, with a thorough bibliography and index and two useful appendices. The index makes the manual’s meditation and breathing exercises easier to locate while the appendices supply advice and words of thanks to parents and teachers. In academic settings where the focus is solely on grades and test scores, it is easy to see how a philosophy of self-knowledge and positivity would be both appealing and helpful during those tumultuous teen years.

Colorful and upbeat graphics, probing questions, and thoughtful exercises come together to promote understanding and happiness in teens.

Pub Date: July 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9964809-3-2

Page Count: 428

Publisher: YOUTH Positive

Review Posted Online: July 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet