2 Nonfiction YA Anthologies That Offer Hope & More | April 2018 Xpress Reviews

2 Nonfiction YA Anthologies That Offer Hope & More

Blanchard, Rowan. Still Here. 176p. Penguin/Razorbill. Feb. 2018. pap. $17.95. ISBN 9780448494661. POP

Gr 6 Up –In Blanchard’s Tumblr-esque memoir, the young artist is able to genuinely capture the many complexities of being a young adult. With clear inspiration from the Riot Grrrl zines of the early ’90s and Rookie Mag, there is a patchwork quality to Blanchard’s collection, complete with snapshots, quotes, feminist inspiration, midnight scribbles, and verse penned by Blanchard and other artists. Photographs and art are well placed and often paired with complementary text, and the visual component of Blanchard’s work is very compelling. What stands out the most is the writing. Blanchard’s journey in trying to figure out the world and her place within it is a struggle that feels universal and palpable. This volume runs the gamut of existentialist queries and unforgettable nights of joy with friends, but there are shocking moments, too, particularly with tales of children in adult situations. These stories and the angst that follows don’t feel manufactured but absolutely genuine. VERDICT A wonderfully captured snapshot and love letter to the teen experience; stock YA and browsable nonfiction shelves with multiple copies.–Maria Alegre, The Dalton School, New York

Brock, Rose, ed. Hope Nation: YA Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration. 304p. Philomel. Feb. 2018. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781524741679.

Gr 7 Up –This collection of essays from well-known YA authors aims to encourage and inspire young people to fight the feeling of powerlessness that often plagues adolescence. It certainly delivers, with 23 stories that share perspectives on positivity and standing up for one’s beliefs. Readers will be excited to discover true stories from their favorite authors’ lives—coping with the aftermath of a near-fatal car accident from Libba Bray and growing up as an immigrant in the United States from Marie Lu. Although covering global issues, the collection is U.S.–centric. All pieces are well written, with a variation in style and story length that makes the collection easy to pick up and read in short bursts. There’s something in this to suit all tastes, and it is an important and timely read for those in need of confidence. This volume is a great lesson in empathy and understanding. While spanning a range of topics, a repeated message rings through: “Hope is a decision.” VERDICT An important and inspiring read for thoughtful teens; consider for most YA collections.–Lauren Jones, Tauranga City Library, NZ

McCarthy, Patricia. Jon’s Tricky Journey: A Story for Inuit Children with Cancer and Their Families. illus. by Hwei Lim. 70p. Inhabit Media. Sept. 2017. pap. $19.95. ISBN 9781772271454. BL

K-Gr 2 –Jon must leave his home in Nunavut to seek treatment for his tricky cancer. Experiencing bustling city life and a major hospital for the first time leaves Jon feeling overwhelmed. However, with his anaana and the supportive hospital staff, Jon completes his treatments and returns home. McCarthy, who is a cancer care nurse, identified a gap in information resources for Inuit children and their families dealing with cancer. Jon’s story is based on the true journey of a young Inuit boy and his family. A helpful resource guide highlights medical terminology, community resources, common questions, and more. The text is in English and the Inuit language of Inuktitut. Lim’s illustrations are child-friendly and depict the action from Jon’s perspective. Read-a-likes include Courtney Filigenzi’s My Cancer Days and Jennifer May Allen’s I Can Survive. VERDICT Half picture book, half resource guide, this is a valuable addition to nonfiction collections.–Meaghan Nichols, Archaeological Research Associates, Ont.

Peabody, Erin. Unicorns. illus. by Jomike Tejido. 128p. (Behind the Legend). little bee. Jan. 2018. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781499805741; Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781499805758.

Gr 3-5 –This title explores how the legend of the unicorn evolved through time by taking a look back in history, from the biblical myth of Noah’s Ark to scientific writers like Greek scholar and physician Ctesias. Readers will also learn noteworthy bits of history. For example, there is a short section explaining the ancient mode of measurement, a cubit. Kids will also learn the origins of dice. The book shares creatures that observers thought might have been mistaken for unicorns, and there are plenty of illustrations to break up the text and encourage reluctant readers. However, the “Marvelous Land” segment in chapter five is ripe with stereotypical images and discussions of “Africa” (only the entire continent is referred to in the text). For example, “It [Africa] seems to be home to the most astounding beasts.” An accompanying illustration shows a top hat–wearing white person in conversation with “local Africans,” who are depicted wearing loincloths and holding spears. VERDICT Skip it.–Kris Hickey, Columbus Metropolitan Library, OH

Spilsbury, Louise. Vote For Me!: How Governments and Elections Work Around the World. illus. by Mike Gordon. 64p. further reading. glossary. index. Barron’s. Feb. 2018. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781438011424.

Gr 3-8 –This friendly guide for middle schoolers covers the what, why, and how of governments and elections. The author discusses why governments are necessary and broadly covers how laws came into existence. Spilsbury describes several forms of historical and modern governments, their components (branches, ruling documents, etc.), and responsibilities. This information is conveyed in a conversational style and illustrated with numerous cartoons. Colorful text boxes supply specific examples of information covered. The final section encourages students to get involved in an organization, most likely student council. The gentle advice walks students through the campaign and election processes and ends with the assumption they are successful. They are then encouraged to get to work. There is a little bit more emphasis on the United Kingdom. However, there is sufficient information about the United States and other nations to render this useful for reports. VERDICT A visually appealing introduction to a variety of governments—and a refreshing update for nonfiction collections.–Lisa Crandall, formerly at the Capital Area District Library, Holt, MI

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