MOUNTAINS BEYOND MOUNTAINS

THE QUEST OF DR. PAUL FARMER, A MAN WHO WOULD CURE THE WORLD

An important story that feels like it breathes a dose of virtuous oxygen right into readers' heads. (Nonfiction. 12-16)

The story of a doctor’s quest to heal the sick in a poor Haitian community and beyond.

Dr. Paul Farmer is one of those characters the world could use a few more of, which is why it is great to have this book to put in as many young hands as possible. He saw something his conscience simply could not abide—the medical neglect of poor people—and then went and did something about it, setting up a clinic to serve the medical needs of an impoverished Haitian neighborhood. But he is everywhere else as well, from Peru to Russia, a powerhouse for medical good. He has a wonderful way of screwing down on some of the worst behaviors of humanity—how we habituate ourselves to the misery of others, the absurd self-regard of the medical profession—while (mostly) not coming across as churlish or self-righteous. French has done a fine job of adapting Kidder's book for young readers, almost invisibly tinkering with the original storytelling while not dodging any of Farmer’s obsessive characteristics or forceful arguments. The power of the story, of the need to just get things done since there are always resources to tap if the cause is just, pours forth as Kidder intended.

An important story that feels like it breathes a dose of virtuous oxygen right into readers' heads. (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 9, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-385-74318-1

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

ENDANGERED

From the Ape Quartet series , Vol. 1

Congolese-American Sophie makes a harrowing trek through a war-torn jungle to protect a young bonobo.

On her way to spend the summer at the bonobo sanctuary her mother runs, 14-year-old Sophie rescues a sickly baby bonobo from a trafficker. Though her Congolese mother is not pleased Sophie paid for the ape, she is proud that Sophie works to bond with Otto, the baby. A week before Sophie's to return home to her father in Miami, her mother must take advantage
of a charter flight to relocate some apes, and she leaves Sophie with Otto and the sanctuary workers. War breaks out, and after missing a U.N. flight out, Sophie must hide herself and Otto from violent militants and starving villagers. Unable to take Otto out of the country, she decides finding her mother hundreds of miles to the north is her only choice. Schrefer jumps from his usual teen suspense to craft this well-researched tale of jungle survival set during a fictional conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Realistic characters (ape and human) deal with disturbing situations described in graphic, but never gratuitous detail. The lessons Sophie learns about her childhood home, love and what it means to be endangered will resonate with readers.

Even if some hairbreadth escapes test credulity, this is a great next read for fans of our nearest ape cousins or survival adventure. (map, author's note, author Q&A) (Adventure. 12-16)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-16576-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

HOW TO FEEL GOOD

20 THINGS TEENS CAN DO

Unhappy teens in need of a lecture on thinking positively and being more in touch with one’s emotions need look no further.

Mangan presents in as many chapters a 20-point strategy that ranges from “Have a Positive Attitude” and “Cut Your Problems Into Pieces” to “Practice Being Patient” and “Appreciate the Value of Your Hard Work.” She blends private exercises like visualizing forgiveness with comments on selective attention, “problematic procrastination” and other bad habits, reframing situations to put them in different lights, “changing shoes” to understand others better and subjecting feelings to rational analysis. Though the author has a graduate degree and years of practice in clinical psychology, she offers generalities and generic situations rather than specific cases from her experience, and the book is devoid of references to further resources or even an index. Superficial advice (“If you are unsafe or are around kids that you know are bullies, just walk away”) combines with techniques that are unlikely to interest readers (“Make a song verse out of your list of helpful thoughts”). The author also makes questionable claims about the mind-body connection (“When you smile, your body sends a signal to your brain that you are happy”) and fails to make a case for regarding side forays into food habits and environmental concerns as relevant to her topic. Obvious issues and common-sense advice, unpersuasively presented. (Self-help. 12-15)

 

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4338-1040-4

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Magination/American Psychological Association

Review Posted Online: Aug. 9, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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