WE ARE AMERICA

A TRIBUTE FROM THE HEART

Stunning.

The Myers team shares their heartfelt and stirring vision of an America flawed but filled with promises and dreams.

Like weavers connecting warp and woof, father threads lofty words and son paints seamless pictures. Each double-page spread contains a brief poem and usually a quote from a relevant document or person. A mural rendered in pastels spans both pages. Homage is paid to young people; Native Americans; immigrants from Europe, Africa and Asia; laborers, protesters, soldiers and performers. "We were willing to die to forge our dream" writes Walter Dean Myers while Chris Myers paints snarling dogs attacking civil rights protesters and colonial patriots throwing tea into Boston Harbor. Juxtaposed with this are the opening line to the Constitution and King George's words granting independence. In another tableau, a slave shows his terribly scarred back, Indians lie dead at Wounded Knee and Japanese-American citizens stand behind barbed wire, but Americans learned to "light the darkness with the blazing torch that is the Constitution." Backmatter credits each quotation and identifies the people in each painting. The poetry and the paintings will be an excellent jumping-off point for discussions. Readers will take every opportunity to pause and reflect and trace their fingers along the glorious artwork.

Stunning. (Picture book/poetry. 8 & up)

Pub Date: May 3, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-052310-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

Categories:

BIG APPLE DIARIES

An authentic and moving time capsule of middle school angst, trauma, and joy.

Through the author’s own childhood diary entries, a seventh grader details her inner life before and after 9/11.

Alyssa’s diary entries start in September 2000, in the first week of her seventh grade year. She’s 11 and dealing with typical preteen concerns—popularity and anxiety about grades—along with other things more particular to her own life. She’s shuffling between Queens and Manhattan to share time between her divorced parents and struggling with thick facial hair and classmates who make her feel like she’s “not a whole person” due to her mixed White and Puerto Rican heritage. Alyssa is endlessly earnest and awkward as she works up the courage to talk to her crush, Alejandro; gushes about her dreams of becoming a shoe designer; and tries to solve her burgeoning unibrow problem. The diaries also have a darker side, as a sense of impending doom builds as the entries approach 9/11, especially because Alyssa’s father works in finance in the World Trade Center. As a number of the diary entries are taken directly from the author’s originals, they effortlessly capture the loud, confusing feelings middle school brings out. The artwork, in its muted but effective periwinkle tones, lends a satisfying layer to the diary’s accessible and delightful format.

An authentic and moving time capsule of middle school angst, trauma, and joy. (author's note) (Graphic memoir. 8-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-77427-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

IF YOU LIVED DURING THE PLIMOTH THANKSGIVING

Essential.

A measured corrective to pervasive myths about what is often referred to as the “first Thanksgiving.”

Contextualizing them within a Native perspective, Newell (Passamaquoddy) touches on the all-too-familiar elements of the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving and its origins and the history of English colonization in the territory now known as New England. In addition to the voyage and landfall of the Mayflower, readers learn about the Doctrine of Discovery that arrogated the lands of non-Christian peoples to European settlers; earlier encounters between the Indigenous peoples of the region and Europeans; and the Great Dying of 1616-1619, which emptied the village of Patuxet by 1620. Short, two- to six-page chapters alternate between the story of the English settlers and exploring the complex political makeup of the region and the culture, agriculture, and technology of the Wampanoag—all before covering the evolution of the holiday. Refreshingly, the lens Newell offers is a Native one, describing how the Wampanoag and other Native peoples received the English rather than the other way around. Key words ranging from estuary to discover are printed in boldface in the narrative and defined in a closing glossary. Nelson (a member of the Leech Lake Band of Minnesota Chippewa) contributes soft line-and-color illustrations of the proceedings. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Essential. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-72637-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Scholastic Nonfiction

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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