WE ARE AMERICA

A TRIBUTE FROM THE HEART

The Myers team shares their heartfelt and stirring vision of an America flawed but filled with promises and dreams.

Like weavers connecting warp and woof, father threads lofty words and son paints seamless pictures. Each double-page spread contains a brief poem and usually a quote from a relevant document or person. A mural rendered in pastels spans both pages. Homage is paid to young people; Native Americans; immigrants from Europe, Africa and Asia; laborers, protesters, soldiers and performers. "We were willing to die to forge our dream" writes Walter Dean Myers while Chris Myers paints snarling dogs attacking civil rights protesters and colonial patriots throwing tea into Boston Harbor. Juxtaposed with this are the opening line to the Constitution and King George's words granting independence. In another tableau, a slave shows his terribly scarred back, Indians lie dead at Wounded Knee and Japanese-American citizens stand behind barbed wire, but Americans learned to "light the darkness with the blazing torch that is the Constitution." Backmatter credits each quotation and identifies the people in each painting. The poetry and the paintings will be an excellent jumping-off point for discussions. Readers will take every opportunity to pause and reflect and trace their fingers along the glorious artwork.

Stunning. (Picture book/poetry. 8 & up)

Pub Date: May 3, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-052310-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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IF YOU LIVED DURING THE PLIMOTH THANKSGIVING

A measured corrective to pervasive myths about what is often referred to as the “first Thanksgiving.”

Contextualizing them within a Native perspective, Newell (Passamaquoddy) touches on the all-too-familiar elements of the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving and its origins and the history of English colonization in the territory now known as New England. In addition to the voyage and landfall of the Mayflower, readers learn about the Doctrine of Discovery that arrogated the lands of non-Christian peoples to European settlers; earlier encounters between the Indigenous peoples of the region and Europeans; and the Great Dying of 1616-1619, which emptied the village of Patuxet by 1620. Short, two- to six-page chapters alternate between the story of the English settlers and exploring the complex political makeup of the region and the culture, agriculture, and technology of the Wampanoag—all before covering the evolution of the holiday. Refreshingly, the lens Newell offers is a Native one, describing how the Wampanoag and other Native peoples received the English rather than the other way around. Key words ranging from estuary to discover are printed in boldface in the narrative and defined in a closing glossary. Nelson (a member of the Leech Lake Band of Minnesota Chippewa) contributes soft line-and-color illustrations of the proceedings. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Essential. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-72637-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Scholastic Nonfiction

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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This first book in the Fighting for Justice series is a must-read for all civics classrooms.

FRED KOREMATSU SPEAKS UP

From the Fighting for Justice series

When Fred Korematsu, a young Japanese-American man, defied U.S. governmental orders by refusing to report to prison camps during World War II, he and his allies set in motion a landmark civil liberties case.

Like any American, Fred dreams of marriage and raising a family with his sweetheart, Ida, a daughter of Italian immigrants. But after the attack on Pearl Harbor, wartime hysteria spreads, and Japanese natives and Japanese-Americans on the West Coast are ordered to prison camps. Knowing this is unjust, Fred changes his name and calls himself "Spanish Hawaiian" but becomes dismayed knowing others are imprisoned in camps. His identity ultimately discovered, he is jailed following his arrest for his refusal to report to the camps and there meets Ernest Besig, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union. Together, they begin a long and against-all-odds fight against injustice. Written in free verse, Fred’s story engages in powerful bursts and shows how speaking out brings complex consequences. Enhanced with pictures and archival materials, well-researched and approachable historical essays interspersed throughout Fred’s account offer context, while Houlette’s reverent illustrations give humanity to Fred’s plight. Co-authors Atkins and Yogi raise good questions (such as, “Have you ever been blamed for something just because of how you look?”) that will inspire a new generation of activists.

This first book in the Fighting for Justice series is a must-read for all civics classrooms. (resources for activism, note from Karen Korematsu, bibliography) (Blended nonfiction/historical fiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-59714-368-4

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Heyday

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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