Gentle handling of a difficult but important subject.

Journey Home

A THANK YOU TO AMERICAN VETERANS

Lyrical text and soaring imagery give school-age children a taste of war, peace, freedom, and military service.

The opening spread of author/illustrator Meyer’s debut mentions clouds floating as young Lee and her mother walk in the park to a tree where a red bird lands. Somewhat oddly, the impressionistic first illustration doesn’t show the girl or her mother; in fact, the textured paintings regularly evoke feelings rather than the simple storyline, a setup that works better in some places than others. The next spread focuses on the girl, the bird, and the tree opposite an indistinct soldier on a bench. Lee strikes up a conversation with the soldier about the bird. Their dialogue is rather stilted: after looking at his duffel bag, Lee asks the soldier where he’s going, to which the soldier responds: “I’m going to war in another country, little one….I sure will miss my home and family, but my job to protect our country is an important one.” The mother thanks him for his service, and walking off, Lee asks, “What is war, mommy?” After defining “war” and “the military,” her mother says, “The military protects countries, people, land, seas, and freedoms.” When Lee asks, “What is freedom?” her mother points out people enjoying the park. The dreamy art, meanwhile, features few humans, but rather kites and a butterfly floating over a blue-green backdrop of skyscrapers. As the bird flies after the soldier, “Lee imagined seeing the soldier’s journey through the eyes of the bird. She remembered what he had said”: “We’ll protect your seas. We’ll protect your skies. We’ll protect your lands. And we’ll protect your freedoms.” (Curiously, that’s instead what her mother had said.) Each realm of protection gets a spread featuring an abstract depiction of what’s being protected: a boat at sea, a rainbow-colored plane, flowers and grass, and, for freedom, the Constitution, children playing, and the American flag. The bird, which travels across these varied realms, “was tossed above countries at war”—fiery paint suggest an explosion—“and drifted over the countries at peace,” where the bird coasts through deep-blue skies. Leaving the park, Lee wonders, “Will the soldier be okay?’ ” and her mother explains how her grandfather returned with worn boots, a limp, and tales of missing home. “That’s why we thank soldiers and veterans for keeping us safe,” she says. “They have sacrificed so much.” Though the text/illustration couplings are often inadequate and indirect, they succeed in several instances, as in the impressive painting of the bird perched upon a worn combat boot. In the final, most moving spread, Lee stands beside rows of soldiers’ graves, telling the bird, “You’re home, you’re protected, and you’re free.” Though that message isn’t superbly conveyed here, Meyer’s visually striking book opens the door to a deeper conversation.

Gentle handling of a difficult but important subject.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2015

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A persuasive, valuable addition to the ongoing immigration reform debate.

SHOW TRIALS

HOW PROPERTY GETS MORE LEGAL PROTECTION THAN PEOPLE IN OUR FAILED IMMIGRATION SYSTEM

A highly organized, informative discussion of the immigration system in the United States.

In this politically charged environment, Afrasiabi manages to broach the volatile issue of immigration in a well-rounded, surprisingly effective framework that combines case studies, historical research, statistical analysis and personal anecdotes to detail the current issues and propose solutions. Invocations of Kafka, “The Twilight Zone” and “Alice in Wonderland” prove warranted as illustrations of the often surreal circumstances that confront immigrants facing deportation. Immigrants usually lack access to quality legal representation, while their situation can be made doubly difficult due to language barriers and significant cultural differences. Afrasiabi incorporates his work with colleagues and students at the Chapman University School of Law to deftly weave together the facts of several compelling cases and their underlying legal issues, with a genuine sense of suspense as readers wonder if justice will be truly be served. Occasionally, though, the narrative becomes overwrought—two federal laws passed in 1996 are “dark storm clouds depositing their sleet”—although, considering the life-changing effects of court decisions, it’s difficult to overstate the ramifications: extralegal rendition of individuals with pending cases and the de facto deportation of native-born children whose parents are deported. Afrasiabi also addresses the legacy of various anti-alien laws in California, as well as marriage equality for same-sex couples when one partner is a noncitizen. As the subtitle asserts, Afrasiabi employs his additional experience in the field of property law to contrast the stark differences between immigration judges and constitutional judges, like their qualifications, vetting processes and even the oaths they take. His arguments culminate in seven concrete reforms proposed in the conclusion. In order to make the immigration system more just and effective, Afrasiabi claims the solutions are closer than we may think; we can implement procedures and safeguards already in place within the constitutional courts.

A persuasive, valuable addition to the ongoing immigration reform debate.

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 249

Publisher: Kurti Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.

NO REMORSE

Walkley pits CIA agents against a maniacal Saudi prince intent on starting World War III in this debut thriller.

Delta Force operative Lee McCloud, aka Mac, finds himself in Mexico, trying to rescue two teenage girls kidnapped by a drug cartel. But things go from bad to worse when the villains don’t play by the rules. Framed for two murders he didn’t commit, Mac has two options: go to prison or go to work for a CIA black-op group run by the devious Wisebaum, who hacks into terrorists’ bank accounts and confiscates millions of dollars. However, there’s more going on than meets the eye; Saudi Prince Khalid is in possession of nuclear canisters, with which he hopes to alter world history. Khalid also dabbles in trafficking young women, and harvesting and selling human organs. When Wisebaum’s black-op team targets Khalid’s father, the action becomes even more intense. With so many interweaving subplots—kidnapped girls, Israeli undercover agents, nuclear weapons and a secret underwater hideout—it could be easy to lose track of what’s going on. But the author’s deft handling of the material ensures that doesn’t occur; subplots are introduced at the appropriate junctures and, by story’s end, all are accounted for and neatly concluded. Mac is portrayed as a rough and ready action-hero, yet his vulnerabilities will evoke empathy in readers. He finds a love interest in Tally, a hacker whose personality is just quirky enough to complement his own. All Walkley’s primary characters are fleshed out and realistic, with the exception of Wisebaum—a malicious, double-dealing, back-stabber of the worst ilk; the reader is left wondering about Wisebaum’s motivations behind such blatant treachery.

Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0980806601

Page Count: 412

Publisher: Marq Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2012

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