An important work that is immensely personal, powerful, and heart-wrenching.

THE MISSING

THE TRUE STORY OF MY FAMILY IN WORLD WAR II

Born in England just after World War II, young Rosen grew up hearing references about relatives who existed before the war but had disappeared by the time it ended.

There were great-aunts and great-uncles and their families who had lived in France and Poland. His dad knew their names and a bit about them. He assumed they died “in the camps.” At first the child Michael didn’t understand what that meant. As he learned more about the Holocaust, he became determined to find out about his lost relatives. He did extensive research, gathered small clues, and began to dig deeper, becoming consumed by the quest throughout his life. His account includes lots of disappointments and dead ends as well as some remarkable finds that led to information and some answers about missing relatives from both France and Poland. He provides photos and letters that bring these lost souls to life. Speaking in the first person, directly to readers, Rosen explains the unexplainable in simple but not simplistic language, presenting facts without sugarcoating them or underestimating children’s ability to comprehend. He includes poems, some written over many years and some written for this book, expressing his deeper feelings regarding his long search and its mostly devastating results. He links history to modern-day hatreds and reminds his readers of the exhortation “Never again.” “Today; One Day,” a poem of pain and hope, makes a poignant close.

An important work that is immensely personal, powerful, and heart-wrenching. (foreword, family tree, photos, documents, bibliography, index, acknowledgements) (Memoir/history. 10-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1289-1

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images.

THURGOOD

The life journey of the first African American to serve on the United States Supreme Court and the incidents that formed him.

Thurgood Marshall grew up in segregated Baltimore, Maryland, with a family that encouraged him to stand for justice. Despite attending poor schools, he found a way to succeed. His father instilled in him a love of the law and encouraged him to argue like a lawyer during dinner conversations. His success in college meant he could go to law school, but the University of Maryland did not accept African American students. Instead, Marshall went to historically black Howard University, where he was mentored by civil rights lawyer Charles Houston. Marshall’s first major legal case was against the law school that denied him a place, and his success brought him to the attention of the NAACP and ultimately led to his work on the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education, which itself led to his appointment to the Supreme Court. This lively narrative serves as an introduction to the life of one of the country’s important civil rights figures. Important facts in Marshall’s life are effectively highlighted in an almost staccato fashion. The bold watercolor-and-collage illustrations, beginning with an enticing cover, capture and enhance the strong tone set by the words.

A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images. (author’s note, photos) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6533-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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Lovely illustrations wasted on this misguided project.

LUNAR NEW YEAR

From the Celebrate the World series

The Celebrate the World series spotlights Lunar New Year.

This board book blends expository text and first-person-plural narrative, introducing readers to the holiday. Chau’s distinctive, finely textured watercolor paintings add depth, transitioning smoothly from a grand cityscape to the dining room table, from fantasies of the past to dumplings of the present. The text attempts to provide a broad look at the subject, including other names for the celebration, related cosmology, and historical background, as well as a more-personal discussion of traditions and practices. Yet it’s never clear who the narrator is—while the narrative indicates the existence of some consistent, monolithic group who participates in specific rituals of celebration (“Before the new year celebrations begin, we clean our homes—and ourselves!”), the illustrations depict different people in every image. Indeed, observances of Lunar New Year are as diverse as the people who celebrate it, which neither the text nor the images—all of the people appear to be Asian—fully acknowledges. Also unclear is the book’s intended audience. With large blocks of explication on every spread, it is entirely unappealing for the board-book set, and the format may make it equally unattractive to an older, more appropriate audience. Still, readers may appreciate seeing an important celebration warmly and vibrantly portrayed.

Lovely illustrations wasted on this misguided project. (Board book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3303-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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