A gorgeous and personal tribute to Mandela’s legacy.

READ REVIEW

GRANDAD MANDELA

Zindzi Mandela tells her curious grandchildren Zazi and Ziwelene the story of their great-grandfather Nelson Mandela.

When Nelson Mandela’s great-grandchildren Zazi and Ziwelene find a photo of their great-grandfather, that sparks an honest discussion about apartheid and race relations in South Africa. Answering her grandchildren’s questions, Zindzi Mandela shares her experience as a child of apartheid, what her mother’s and father’s lives were like and how dedicated Mandela was to his people; “Grandad was fighting for us all to be equal.” In clear and emotional language, the authors discuss the history of apartheid and Mandela’s fight to end it, even while locked away in prison. One of the story’s central messages is the importance of living a life of service, as did Mandela, “a man who was able to forgive all the people who made him and his family and his people suffer.” Qualls’ pencil, collage, and acrylic illustrations are evocative; powerful spreads depict police brutality, incarceration, protest, segregation, and hope. Qualls showcases his command of color, emotion, and style on every page. Readers might come away from this informational book wanting better documentation of historical facts; there is no authors’ note or other backmatter. Nevertheless, this is a beautiful and inspiring reflection on Nelson Mandela’s life and his impact on the world.

A gorgeous and personal tribute to Mandela’s legacy. (Picture book/biography. 6-12)

Pub Date: June 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-78603-136-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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With young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many.

GUTS

Young Raina is 9 when she throws up for the first time that she remembers, due to a stomach bug. Even a year later, when she is in fifth grade, she fears getting sick.

Raina begins having regular stomachaches that keep her home from school. She worries about sharing food with her friends and eating certain kinds of foods, afraid of getting sick or food poisoning. Raina’s mother enrolls her in therapy. At first Raina isn’t sure about seeing a therapist, but over time she develops healthy coping mechanisms to deal with her stress and anxiety. Her therapist helps her learn to ground herself and relax, and in turn she teaches her classmates for a school project. Amping up the green, wavy lines to evoke Raina’s nausea, Telgemeier brilliantly produces extremely accurate visual representations of stress and anxiety. Thought bubbles surround Raina in some panels, crowding her with anxious “what if”s, while in others her negative self-talk appears to be literally crushing her. Even as she copes with anxiety disorder and what is eventually diagnosed as mild irritable bowel syndrome, she experiences the typical stresses of school life, going from cheer to panic in the blink of an eye. Raina is white, and her classmates are diverse; one best friend is Korean American.

With young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many. (Graphic memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-545-85251-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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This glimpse into middle school is insightful, introspective, and important

BEST FRIENDS

After traveling the rocky road of elementary school friendship in Real Friends (2017), Hale returns with another graphic memoir delving even deeper into preteen tribulations.

Now in sixth grade, young Shannon is a member of “the Group,” an assortment of popular and pretty girls that most notably includes best friend and group ringleader Jen and unrelenting mean-girl Jenny. However, infighting and treachery proliferate, leaving Shannon feeling frequently off balance as she strives to fit in and suppresses things she enjoys. She captures the dynamic brilliantly: “Sixth grade friendships were like a game… / only as soon as I’d figure out the rules… / they’d change again.” In addition to laying bare the back-stabbing and cattiness, Hale also examines her struggles with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive tendencies with openness and honesty. Shannon’s story is ultimately empowering, showing the satisfaction she feels following her own path. Hale and illustrator Pham (working with colorist Sycamore) capture the nuances of a typical middle school life, balancing Shannon’s public woes with her inner conflicts and adding a fun dose of 1980s nostalgia. Pham’s art is evocative in its simplicity; detailed facial expressions add emotional depth and accessibility for even the most reluctant readers. An author’s note talks earnestly and age-appropriately about anxiety. Consider this a must-read for fans of Raina Telegmeier or Victoria Jamieson. Hale and her friends are predominately white, although students of color are present throughout.

This glimpse into middle school is insightful, introspective, and important . (Graphic memoir. 7-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-31745-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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