For good or for bad, Pope Francis’ life and papacy cannot be separated from the tarnish on today’s Catholic Church, and...

POPE FRANCIS

FIRST POPE FROM THE AMERICAS

From the Gateway Biographies series

A serviceable biography introduces readers to the first pope from the Americas.

Beginning with the long wait in Saint Peter’s Square for the white smoke signaling the election of the new pope, the text moves to an exploration of the childhood of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the boy who would become Pope Francis. Facts that bring his story to life (he loved soccer and dancing the tango and has a master’s degree in chemistry) alternate with background details that help readers understand the events that shaped him, including those surrounding his native Argentina’s “dirty war.” Throughout, Watson presents a balanced view of the young Jesuit priest: While the humble man is celebrated for his work with the poor and sick, there are also those who feel he did not do enough to fight the oppressors or aid others. Watson’s portraits of Pope Benedict XVI and the scandals that swirled around him are not as nuanced. And some of her facts about the Catholic Church are incomplete or erroneous; she states the Sistine Chapel is the home to the pope (he lives in the Vatican Palace, not in a church) and that the cardinals are in charge of electing the new pope (they also advise the current pope).

For good or for bad, Pope Francis’ life and papacy cannot be separated from the tarnish on today’s Catholic Church, and readers may end up with more questions than answers, though their respect for Pope Francis should grow. (Biography. 9-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4677-2176-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Lerner

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats.

50 IMPRESSIVE KIDS AND THEIR AMAZING (AND TRUE!) STORIES

From the They Did What? series

Why should grown-ups get all the historical, scientific, athletic, cinematic, and artistic glory?

Choosing exemplars from both past and present, Mitchell includes but goes well beyond Alexander the Great, Anne Frank, and like usual suspects to introduce a host of lesser-known luminaries. These include Shapur II, who was formally crowned king of Persia before he was born, Indian dancer/professional architect Sheila Sri Prakash, transgender spokesperson Jazz Jennings, inventor Param Jaggi, and an international host of other teen or preteen activists and prodigies. The individual portraits range from one paragraph to several pages in length, and they are interspersed with group tributes to, for instance, the Nazi-resisting “Swingkinder,” the striking New York City newsboys, and the marchers of the Birmingham Children’s Crusade. Mitchell even offers would-be villains a role model in Elagabalus, “boy emperor of Rome,” though she notes that he, at least, came to an awful end: “Then, then! They dumped his remains in the Tiber River, to be nommed by fish for all eternity.” The entries are arranged in no evident order, and though the backmatter includes multiple booklists, a personality quiz, a glossary, and even a quick Braille primer (with Braille jokes to decode), there is no index. Still, for readers whose fires need lighting, there’s motivational kindling on nearly every page.

A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats. (finished illustrations not seen) (Collective biography. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-14-751813-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Puffin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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A likable journey that is sensitive to the triumphs and agonies of being a 13-year-old girl.

FRIENDS FOREVER

From the Friends series , Vol. 3

Shannon just wants to get through eighth grade in one piece—while feeling like her own worst enemy.

In this third entry in popular author for young people Hale’s graphic memoir series, the young, sensitive overachiever is crushed by expectations: to be cool but loyal to her tightknit and dramatic friend group, a top student but not a nerd, attractive to boys but true to her ideals. As events in Shannon’s life begin to overwhelm her, she works toward finding a way to love and understand herself, follow her passions for theater and writing, and ignore her cruel inner voice. Capturing the visceral embarrassments of middle school in 1987 Salt Lake City, Shannon’s emotions are vivid and often excruciating. In particular, the social norms of a church-oriented family are clearly addressed, and religion is shown as being both a comfort and a struggle for Shannon. While the text is sometimes in danger of spelling things out a little too neatly and obviously, the emotional honesty and sincerity drawn from Hale’s own life win out. Pham’s artwork is vibrant and appealing, with stylistic changes for Shannon’s imaginings and the leeching out of color and use of creative panel structures as her anxiety and depression worsen.

A likable journey that is sensitive to the triumphs and agonies of being a 13-year-old girl. (author's note, gallery) (Graphic memoir. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-31755-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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