America Redux: Visual Stories from Our Dynamic History

HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. May 2023. 304p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9780063057531.
Gr 8 Up–Aberg-Riger makes American history come alive in this powerful and innovative book. With vivid illustrations and unconventional text formatting, the book covers a wide variety of topics in 21 chapters. Some subjects will be familiar, such as the Japanese-American incarceration camps and racism in early Major League Baseball. Many are lesser known topics, such as the travels of Mustafa Al-Azemmouri, an enslaved man forced to explore the Southwest for the Spanish in the early 1500s. Another chapter chronicles how American businessmen conspired to overthrow the kingdom of Hawaii and annex their lands. Aberg-Riger frequently and skillfully demonstrates how these events have long-lasting consequences that we are still dealing with today. The chapter about the outlawing of boarding houses and SROs in the mid-20th century and its correlation to the current housing crisis and homelessness is particularly enlightening. Whether a new topic to readers or well-known, each chapter is informative and compelling. What really makes this work outstanding is the imaginative use of colorful images on every page, incorporating bold, handwritten text into the pictures. This dramatic and captivating format keeps the pages turning quickly and will engage the most reluctant readers. Perhaps equally important as the history brought to life is that Aberg-Riger includes several stories of social activism against the injustice, bringing a sense of empowerment to the narrative. An excellent resource for kicking off classroom discussions. The work is well documented with extensive source notes leading the curious to additional resources.
VERDICT Truly remarkable! A must for every library.

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