Beneath the goofiness, an earnest call for logic and better judgement.

KILLER UNDERWEAR INVASION!

HOW TO SPOT FAKE NEWS, DISINFORMATION & CONSPIRACY THEORIES

Basic principles for distinguishing facts from alternate facts.

Gravel may insist that “fake news is not funny at all,” but with the best will in the world she can’t keep a straight face for long—and readers certainly won’t either. Relying on made-up examples, Gravel explores how a doctored photo can spark widespread fears of scorpions swarming out of toilets, clickbait headlines like “Governor Marries a Turtle” can raise ad revenues for a website or spread the conviction that underwear is dangerous, and a politician’s claim that an opponent pinches puppies can gain more traction through repetition than any denials, no matter how heated. Her cartoon illustrations of googly-eyed jelly beans looking panicked or greasily confident as they spread mis- or disinformation heard on “Wolf News” don’t exactly underscore the seriousness of the topic either. Still, even though in pitting reason against human nature she’s taken on a tall order, her insights into how fake news are fueled by a combination of fear and confirmation bias but can be countered by common sense and by careful evaluation of actual sources are spot-on. And, had she chosen to use real-world examples, at least half of her potential audience (or at least the adult voters) would have shrugged her off as just another liberal whiner.

Beneath the goofiness, an earnest call for logic and better judgement. (Graphic nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-79721-491-7

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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Go adventuring with a better guide.

50 ADVENTURES IN THE 50 STATES

From the The 50 States series

Find something to do in every state in the U.S.A.!

This guide highlights a location of interest within each of the states, therefore excluding Washington, D.C., and the territories. Trivia about each location is scattered across crisply rendered landscapes that background each state’s double-page spread while diminutive, diverse characters populate the scenes. Befitting the title, one “adventure” is presented per state, such as shrimping in Louisiana’s bayous, snowshoeing in Connecticut, or celebrating the Fourth of July in Boston. While some are stereotypical gimmes (surfing in California), others have the virtue of novelty, at least for this audience, such as viewing the sandhill crane migration in Nebraska. Within this thematic unity, some details go astray, and readers may find themselves searching in vain for animals mentioned. The trivia is plentiful but may be misleading, vague, or incorrect. Information about the Native American peoples of the area is often included, but its brevity—especially regarding sacred locations—means readers are floundering without sufficient context. The same is true for many of the facts that relate directly to expansion and colonialism, such as the unexplained near extinction of bison. Describing the genealogical oral history of South Carolina’s Gullah community as “spin[ning] tales” is equally brusque and offensive. The book tries to do a lot, but it is more style than substance, which may leave readers bored, confused, slightly annoyed—or all three. (This book was reviewed digitally with 12.2-by-20.2-inch double-page spreads viewed at 80% of actual size.)

Go adventuring with a better guide. (tips on local adventuring, index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-5445-9

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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An interesting portrait of an American mover and shaker refreshingly presented in graphic novel format.

SHIRLEY CHISHOLM: A GRAPHIC NOVEL

From the It's Her Story series

“Fighting Shirley” was no ordinary politician.

The story opens in Barbados, where Shirley Chisolm spent a relatively carefree early childhood with her sister, Muriel, on their grandparents’ farm. Upon being sent to live with her parents in Brooklyn, Shirley had to adjust to much stricter household rules. She excelled academically throughout her school years, and after graduating from Brooklyn College, began her teaching career in early childhood education. As an administrator of child care centers, Chisolm devoted herself to child welfare and community affairs. Her work put her in touch with the needs of working people and their families, and she labored ceaselessly to get candidates elected who would make meaningful changes. Eventually, she decided to run for office herself and became the second Black woman elected to the New York Assembly and, after that, the country’s first Black congresswoman. Aggs relates how Chisholm dedicated her efforts to improving the lives of her constituents, often finding herself at loggerheads with colleagues. Chisholm’s boldness and desire for change led her to seek the Democratic Party nomination for president of the United States. Although she was unsuccessful, her groundbreaking campaign was a momentous sociopolitical event. This lively, optimistic biography is an accessible introduction to Chisholm’s life for younger readers, highlighting her determination to stay true to herself and her ideals. The illustrations aren’t particularly original, but the colorful panels effectively propel the narrative.

An interesting portrait of an American mover and shaker refreshingly presented in graphic novel format. (Graphic biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5037-6241-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Sunbird Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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