Essential. (Nonfiction. 12-16)

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THE FREEDOM SUMMER MURDERS

A 50th-anniversary examination of the Mississippi murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner and their aftermath.

An introduction describes the legally entrenched racism of Mississippi and the inception of the Freedom Summer campaign. Following this, Mitchell drops readers right in with the events that led up to the murder of the three young men, evoking the hostility and fear that covered Neshoba County like a blanket. He pulls back to sketch the victims’ biographies in separate chapters, then takes readers through the investigation and the steps toward the 1967 trial that infamously failed to deliver justice. That account alone, illustrated with ample archival photographs and memorabilia, makes riveting reading. He clearly states the legal intricacies and thoroughly incorporates the players’ own voices, with often breathtaking effect: “They killed one nigger, one Jew, and a white man. I gave them all what I thought they deserved,” said the presiding judge later. Mitchell takes the story into the present day, describing how the families of the victims continue to fight for civil rights and how both locals and state officials kept the case alive, simultaneously working toward legal and emotional resolution. He leaves open the question whether now “the killing of a black mother’s son is as important as the killing of a white mother’s son”—but the country is getting closer to that goal. The book includes a map, endnotes, bibliographic essay, bibliography and index.

Essential. (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 29, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-47725-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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Broad, deep, and on a significant topic but more utilitarian than inspirational.

DRAWING THE VOTE

A GRAPHIC NOVEL HISTORY FOR FUTURE VOTERS

A history of U.S. voting rights and the unrelenting barrage of challenges to them, with a chapter that updates the original 2020 edition.

Despite an occasional bobble (no, all the states did not send representatives to the Constitutional Convention, and the Shelby County vs. Holder decision, devastating as it was, was not responsible for “overturning” the Voting Rights Act), college professor Jenkins delivers a broadly comprehensive overview that takes readers from “No taxation without representation!” to the events of Jan. 6, 2021 and beyond, with updates covering the failure of the Arizona recount and the recent flurry of legislation designed to further depress our already chronically low levels of voter participation. The additions lend currency to the story, but apathetic readers are more likely to catch a spark from other histories, such as Susan Goldman Rubin’s Give Us the Vote! (2020). The graphic format does little to animate this account, as aside from some redrawn historical news photos, the drably duotone art runs to clumsily rendered portraits of figures in static poses stiffly restating talking points, uttering (in)famous quotes (“Why do we want all these people from shithole countries?”)—or in a running conceit, imitating game show announcers: “Congratulations! John Adams, you’ve won the presidency!” The color scheme also minimizes differences in skin color, and visual elements frequently look crammed in among the fulsome blocks of lecture-y narrative.

Broad, deep, and on a significant topic but more utilitarian than inspirational. (voting information, source notes) (Graphic nonfiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3999-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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A touching portrait of a remarkable celebrity influencer who used her exposure to inspire herself and others.

ALWAYS SMILE

CARLEY ALLISON'S SECRETS FOR LAUGHING, LOVING AND LIVING

When the late Canadian figure skater and singer/songwriter Carley Allison, was diagnosed with a rare and deadly cancer at 17, she shared her difficult journey through treatment.

This authorized biography draws from Carley’s blog, text messages, photos on social media, and interviews with family and friends. All testify to Carley’s popularity, upbeat personality, athleticism, competitive drive, and generosity throughout her brief life. She set and met tough goals for herself through surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation. Medical intervention exhausted, she tried residential treatment at an alternative Florida institute claiming cancer cures via a raw, vegan diet. Against her parents’ wishes, doctors told then-19-year-old Carley that she was dying. The timing of events isn’t always clear, and interviews are undated, but the clear intention is to inspire others to remain optimistic and positive: When an effort fails, there’s always something else to try. Contradicting that message is the equally strong portrait of someone exceptional afflicted with an exceedingly rare cancer. Carley, who was of European and Iranian descent, was supported by a loving, financially comfortable family and a loyal network of friends. It’s when the mask of cheery optimism falters that readers truly connect with Carley; then her journey becomes ours. Readers comfortable with social media will be drawn in by the large number of photographs, varied formats, and brief segments.

A touching portrait of a remarkable celebrity influencer who used her exposure to inspire herself and others. (Biography. 12-16)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0040-0

Page Count: 392

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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