An upbeat and engaging guide to literature for English teachers working with young readers.

READ REVIEW

HOW TO READ LITERATURE LIKE A PROFESSOR

FOR KIDS

The New York Times–best-selling How to Read Literature Like a Professor is redacted for teachers of young readers.

The premise behind Foster’s works is that there’s a “grammar of literature…a certain set of patterns, codes, and rules that we can learn to use when we’re reading a piece of writing.” If students learn that grammar, they can read better and appreciate more about what’s going on in the books they read. Short essays offer insights into myth, symbols, setting, Shakespeare, the Bible, quests and various themes. The author shares a “big secret: there’s only one story”—all stories grow out of other stories and contribute to the mix, and what students are doing as they learn to read more widely and insightfully is joining a conversation between old books and new. The title and cover, though—actually, the whole premise of this volume—are misleading: This will work best as a guide for teachers of young people, providing many interesting insights into a range of children’s and young-adult literature, from Green Eggs and Ham to Twilight, along with adult literature accessible to younger readers, such as Dracula, A Raisin in the Sun, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

An upbeat and engaging guide to literature for English teachers working with young readers. (reading list, acknowledgments, index) (Nonfiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: April 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-220086-0

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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BETWEEN TWO FIRES

BLACK SOLDIERS IN THE CIVIL WAR

Brought together in what novelist Hansen (Which Way Freedom?, 1986) calls a ``great experiment,'' black troops in the Civil War faced not only enemy armies but their own side's vicious racism while proving their ability. They had already fought in every previous American war, but never in permanent units; faced with a manpower shortage, Lincoln overcame his reluctance and allowed black companies to form—though some had to assemble and march in secret to avoid civilian riots. Quoting frequently from contemporary sources, Hansen describes their recruitment, their struggle for proper pay, supplies, and training, and their heroic performance in dozens of actions. She contends that, for them, the war had no complex causes: first, last and always, it was a crusade against slavery. Her methodical, well-documented study is ranges wider than Cox's Undying Glory (about the Massachusetts 54th Regiment). Murky b&w photos and reproductions; notes; substantial bibliography; index. (Nonfiction. 12+)

Pub Date: April 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-531-11151-2

Page Count: 160

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1993

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A change of pace from the teeming swarms of fantasy and paranormal romance but too underpowered to achieve escape velocity.

FUTUREDAZE

AN ANTHOLOGY OF YA SCIENCE FICTION

A low-wattage collection of original stories and poems, as unmemorable as it is unappealingly titled.

The collection was inspired by a perceived paucity of short science fiction for teen readers, and its production costs were covered by a Kickstarter campaign. The editors gather a dozen poems and 21 stories from a stable of contributors who, after headliners Jack McDevitt and Nancy Holder, will be largely unknown even to widely read fans of the genre. The tales place their characters aboard spacecraft or space stations, on other worlds or in future dystopias, but only rarely do the writers capture a credibly adolescent voice or sensibility. Standouts in this department are the Heinlein-esque “The Stars Beneath Our Feet,” by Stephen D. Covey & Sandra McDonald, about a first date/joyride in space gone wrong, and Camille Alexa’s portrait of a teen traumatized by a cyberspace assault (“Over It”). Along with a few attempts to craft futuristic slang, only Lavie Tidhar’s fragmentary tale of Tel Aviv invaded by successive waves of aliens, doppelgangers, zombies and carnivorous plants (“The Myriad Dangers”) effectively lightens the overall earnest tone. Aside from fictional aliens and modified humans, occasional references to dark skin (“Out of the Silent Sea,” Dale Lucas) are the only signs of ethnic diversity. Most of the free-verse poetry makes only oblique, at best, references to science-fictional themes.

A change of pace from the teeming swarms of fantasy and paranormal romance but too underpowered to achieve escape velocity. (author bios) (Science fiction/short stories. 12-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-9847824-0-8

Page Count: 290

Publisher: Underwords

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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