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August 2017 Back-to-School Horn Book Herald: High School

Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and the Invention of Modern Photojournalism by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos (Holt)
This biography begins with the D-Day landing, then flashes back and follows Capa and Taro through the development of photojournalism, including their documentation of the Spanish Civil War. Carefully selected and positioned photographs create parallel narratives to the biography, adding depth to the fervor of Taro and Capa’s intense relationship, political beliefs, and art. Timeline, websites. Bib. ind.

Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman (Holt)
Heiligman unpacks the friendship between artist Vincent van Gogh and his brother Theo. Her present-tense, purposely staccato narration effectively heightens the brothers’ emotional intensity, their sufferings and pleasures, and Vincent’s wild and original art. The layout incorporates sketches, subheads, and generous white space, a calming counterpoint to the turbulent narrative. A unique and riveting exploration of art, artists, and brotherly love. Timeline. Bib., ind.

The Football Girl by Thatcher Heldring (Delacorte)
If any girl can make Pilchuck High School’s football team, it’s fourteen-year-old wide receiver Tessa Dooley. As the summer unfolds, Tessa defends her love of the game and also becomes the girlfriend of quarterback Caleb. In alternating first-person narratives, Tessa and Caleb voice their feelings about each other and about football. Heldring writes with insight and restraint, letting complicated feelings remain complicated.

Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World edited by Kelly Jensen (Algonquin)
This lively anthology broaches the subject through forty-four essays, comics, poems, interviews, and other material by a diverse group of contributors, including celebrities, activists, comics artists, and young adult authors. Topics range from the history of the word feminism to personal reflections on the intersections between feminism and race, gender, sexual orientation, and ability. An accessible introduction to twenty-first-century feminism. Reading list.

The Fashion Committee by Susan Juby (Viking)
Two public high school students—relentlessly optimistic, fashion-obsessed Charlie Dean and acerbic metalworker John Thomas-Smith — vie for a scholarship to Green Pastures Academy’s fashion design program. Alternating entries from their fashion diaries detail preparations for the climactic fashion show. This companion to The Truth Commission is a whip-smart coming-of-age comedy with memorable characters, welcome diversity, and lots to say about talent and ambition.

This Impossible Light by Lily Myers (Philomel)
Amidst many changes at home, fifteen-year-old straight-A student Ivy Lewis takes comfort in the certainty of math. But other solutions are not so easily grasped, and Ivy becomes fixated on one thing she can control: her body. This verse novel’s form perfectly mirrors its content, following Ivy from thought to thought through the false logic of her disordered eating — and into recovery. Reading list, websites.

Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steve Sheinkin (Roaring Brook)
Although Thorpe is Undefeated‘s star, other compelling narratives include those about the infamous Carlisle Indian Industrial School and coach Glenn “Pop” Warner. The book identifies discriminatory societal and political factors then dives deep into Carlisle’s remarkable football history and the sport’s evolution. Sheinkin’s multi-layered approach connects various subplots, includes noteworthy cameos, and uses cliffhangers for a propulsive reading experience. Bib., ind.

Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson (Bloomsbury)
African American teen Jade doesn’t particularly feel at-risk but at her mother’s prodding takes every opportunity offered to her, including joining a mentoring group with a clueless, careless mentor. Watson takes Jade on her own journey of self-discovery, one that readers will eagerly follow. This involving, thought-provoking novel is a multifaceted and clear-eyed exploration of the intersections of race, class, and gender.

From the August 2017 issue of The Horn Book Herald: Back to School.



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