An eye-opening, inspiring story of growing up, facing obstacles, and chasing your dreams anyway.

A Japanese American girl pursues her dreams amid the racism of middle school in 1987 Kansas.

Twelve-year-old Aoi Inoue has big dreams. She dreams of playing basketball in the NBA. She dreams of becoming an actress and winning an Oscar. Being one of the only Asian kids isn’t easy, however, and facing endless hassles with her name, she reinvents herself as Annie Enoway. An exciting opportunity arises when the local theater puts on the play Annie—but is it realistic to hope to be cast as the famous redhead? When seventh grade starts, Annie makes the basketball team and gets a more prominent role than she expected in the school play, The King and I, but that in turn brings accusations from peers of an unfair advantage based on race. As Annie takes part in all these activities, she keeps encountering people with opinions and biases about who she is and what she can do as an Asian girl. Navigating middle school also includes the complications of a first crush, strict teachers, and changing friendships. This is a captivating coming-of-age story of determination, as bilingual Annie begins to understand the racism she, her brother, and her immigrant parents face daily. Brown eloquently addresses the history of Asian immigration, microaggressions, the model minority myth, stereotyping, and the impact of the lack of representation.

An eye-opening, inspiring story of growing up, facing obstacles, and chasing your dreams anyway. (author's note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-301716-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021


The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952


An emotional, much-needed historical graphic novel.

Sandy and his family, Japanese Canadians, experience hatred and incarceration during World War II.

Sandy Saito loves baseball, and the Vancouver Asahi ballplayers are his heroes. But when they lose in the 1941 semifinals, Sandy’s dad calls it a bad omen. Sure enough, in December 1941, Japan bombs Pearl Harbor in the U.S. The Canadian government begins to ban Japanese people from certain areas, moving them to “dormitories” and setting a curfew. Sandy wants to spend time with his father, but as a doctor, his dad is busy, often sneaking out past curfew to work. One night Papa is taken to “where he [is] needed most,” and the family is forced into an internment camp. Life at the camp isn’t easy, and even with some of the Asahi players playing ball there, it just isn’t the same. Trying to understand and find joy again, Sandy struggles with his new reality and relationship with his father. Based on the true experiences of Japanese Canadians and the Vancouver Asahi team, this graphic novel is a glimpse of how their lives were affected by WWII. The end is a bit abrupt, but it’s still an inspiring and sweet look at how baseball helped them through hardship. The illustrations are all in a sepia tone, giving it an antique look and conveying the emotions and struggles. None of the illustrations of their experiences are overly graphic, making it a good introduction to this upsetting topic for middle-grade readers.

An emotional, much-needed historical graphic novel. (afterword, further resources) (Graphic historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0334-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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