Reviews of 2020 Mind the Gap Award winners

Not all deserving books bring home ALA awards. Our annual Mind the Gap Awards pay tribute to our favorite books that didn’t win. Here’s how we reviewed our 2020 winners.

 

A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation
by Barry Wittenstein; illus. by Jerry Pinkney
Primary, Intermediate    Porter/Holiday    48 pp.    g
8/19    978-0-8234-4331-4    $18.99
e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4374-1    $11.99

This superbly executed picture book takes readers behind the scenes of the writing of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered at the March on Washington on August 28, 1963. On the night before, with the speech not yet finished, King and nine advisors gathered in the lobby of the Willard Hotel to brainstorm ideas. (Back matter explains that the men met there rather than in any of the guest rooms because those rooms most certainly would have been bugged by the FBI.) The text — propulsive and suspenseful — then follows King as he labored over the speech through the night and kept refining it the next day, right up until he stepped up to the podium, with a “speech typed and finished, / but never finished,” just before 3:30 pm. As King delivered his prepared speech, however, he paused; “even he couldn’t say why.” In the audience, gospel singer Mahalia Jackson “heard what was missing — / the passion of a Sunday morning sermon” and urged King to “tell them about the dream, Martin!” And so, as King put aside his prepared remarks and preached, history was made. The urgency of the text, underscored by boldface type marking the relentless passing of the hours, is complemented beautifully by Pinkney’s more contemplative art. The loose-lined pencil and watercolor-washed illustrations often include emotionally resonant background portraits of people who inspired King as he composed the speech. Collage elements are incorporated brilliantly, from scraps of newspapers, maps, and hotel wallpaper to torn photos of relevant landmarks (the White House; Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church). One particularly effective image shows scraps of maps from all over the country morphing into March attendees streaming up the Lincoln Memorial steps. This is essential American history, distilled into one of the most powerful picture books of the year. Appended with notes from the author and illustrator; brief biographies of the nine “Willard Hotel Advisors” and “Other Voices”; a list of speakers at the March; source notes; and a bibliography. MARTHA V. PARRAVANO

From the September/October 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

A Place to Belong
by Cynthia Kadohata; illus. by Julia Kuo
Intermediate, Middle School    Dlouhy/Atheneum    405 pp.
5/19    978-1-4814-4664-8    $17.99   
e-book ed.  978-1-4814-4666-2    $10.99

They had been such proud Americans — working hard at their San Francisco restaurant and hopeful for the future. Then came Pearl Harbor, and Hanako, her little brother, and their parents (along with thousands of other Japanese Americans) were forced into internment camps, losing everything. At the war’s conclusion, disillusioned with their adopted country and pressured by the government, Hanako’s parents renounce their American citizenships and return to Japan. On her way to her paternal, tenant-farmer grandparents’ home outside of Hiroshima, Hanako is overwhelmed by and horrified at the devastation. Kadohata (Newbery winner for Kira-Kira, rev. 3/04) does a magnificent job communicating this for young readers through two survivors of the atomic bomb — a maimed boy and his sister who move in and out of the story and repeatedly challenge Hanako, logistically and ethically. On the hardscrabble farm, Hanako struggles to settle in, but daily hardships such as food scarcity are mitigated by the prodigious unconditional love of her grandparents. The introspective girl observes and reflects throughout this engrossing novel — grappling with how to respond to other sufferers, adjusting to a completely different way of living, and wondering what the future holds for her. Using a close third-person voice, Kadohata brings readers tightly inside Hanako’s psyche as she struggles to make the right choices and comprehend the incomprehensible. With occasional black-and-white illustrations by Kuo, this is a book to sink deeply into — one that may cause readers to consider, to empathize, and to recognize the strength and power of people in the most challenging of circumstances. MONICA EDINGER

From the September/October 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

River
by Elisha Cooper; illus. by the author
Primary    Orchard/Scholastic    48 pp.    g
10/19    978-1-338-31226-3    $18.99

A woman says goodbye to her family and begins a three-hundred-mile canoe journey down a river. "In her canoe: tent, sleeping bag, guidebook, map, life jacket, first-aid kit, waterproof duffle with food, clothes, water bottles, coffee pot, stove, lamp, book, pencils, a sketchbook." (No cellphone.) She paddles alone through rapids, portages around waterfalls, and sleeps outside every night, with Cooper's watercolor and pencil sketches illuminating the details of the trip with a rhythmic mix of vignettes and wide landscapes. The present-tense text focuses on the journey rather than the destination, with the second page asking, "Can she do this?" but otherwise choosing not to ask or answer any of the obvious questions that might spring to readers' minds: Why is she making this journey alone? What river is she on? Nevertheless, some answers can be found in the illustrations, particularly endpapers showing maps of the Hudson River from its source at Henderson Lake in the Adirondacks to its mouth at New York City Harbor; we learn even more by comparing two similarly staged scenes of the woman's entire family (placed before the title page and amidst the back matter). By the time she rejoins them, we have become so absorbed in her experience that, much as she had done on the river, we now notice every detail. Back matter includes an author's note ("I did not canoe down the Hudson River. I am not a capable enough canoer. Or a brave enough one"), a note about the Hudson, and a list of sources and further reading. LOLLY ROBINSON

From the November/December 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

Lalani of the Distant Sea
by Erin Entrada Kelly; illus. by Lian Cho
Intermediate    Greenwillow    388 pp.
9/19    978-0-06-274727-3    $16.99
e-book ed.  978-0-06-274729-7    $9.99

Kelly turns from the contemporary realistic settings of the Newbery-winning Hello, Universe (rev. 3/17) and of You Go First (rev. 3/18) to a tropical island–set fantasy world. Lalani lives on Sanlagita, an isolated island where gender roles are strictly defined; life is under the control of an all-powerful menyoro; and sailors hold the most esteemed positions in the village’s caste system, though tragically they leave in search of new lands and never return. When Lalani finds a foreign creature living on the island’s sacred mountain, she sets in motion a challenge to the menyoro’s authority, beginning with her departure from home. Over the course of her voyage, she encounters supernatural creatures, both allies and enemies, and brings about major changes to her world. Although Lalani is the protagonist, a strong cast of secondary characters, particularly her best friend Veyda and Veyda’s brother Hetsbi, are crucial to the story, making the novel more complex than a tale of an individual’s rebellion. Kelly does an excellent job of world-building, with folklore-like chapters interspersed throughout the story that both introduce the supernatural elements (“Imagine you’re an exquisite eel…You are Ditasa-Ulod. The water is your kingdom”) and build the book’s themes. The narrative voice keeps the tale firmly in its environment of magic and legends, maintaining the atmosphere of otherworldliness even as characters deal with bullying, abuse of power, and other problems with clear resonance in the real world. SARAH RETTGER

From the November/December 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

 The Fountains of Silence
by Ruta Sepetys
High School    Philomel    498 pp.    g
10/19    978-0-399-16031-8    $18.99

Sepetys’s riveting historical epic examines the enduring effects of the Spanish Civil War through the perspectives of four young people living under the shadow of Franco’s fascist dictatorship in 1957 Madrid. Ana and Rafael are siblings whose Republican educator parents were murdered for opposing Franco’s Nationalist party. Now, almost twenty years later, the family still struggles. Ana is a maid in an American-style hotel, while Rafael splits his time between working in a slaughterhouse and digging graves. They earn pennies even as Franco’s government grows rich off American tourism and oil industries. Their cousin Puri, a loyal fascist, is a caregiver at a Catholic orphanage, where she is increasingly disturbed by some troubling discoveries concerning the infants in her charge. Daniel, an aspiring American photojournalist whose mother is from Spain and father is a Texas oil baron, befriends Ana and Rafael and begins to question everything he’s been told about Spain and its pretty façade — especially after he and Ana fall in love. Through lively characters and short, swiftly paced chapters permeated with elements of mystery and suspense, Sepetys thoroughly and sensitively explores the vast social, economic, and political issues that plagued postwar Spain, including the selling of stolen Republican infants to Nationalist families. Excerpts from newspapers, government documents, and interviews from and about the time add another layer of veracity. Back matter includes an author’s note, an extensive bibliography, information on sources, a glossary of Spanish words and phrases, and a photo gallery. An exemplary work of historical fiction. JENNIFER HUBERT SWAN

From the September/October 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

SHOUT: A Poetry Memoir
by Laurie Halse Anderson
High School    Viking    290 pp.    g
3/19    978-0-670-01210-7    $17.99

“This is the story of a girl who lost her voice and wrote herself a new one.” So opens Anderson’s three-part autobiographical collection of dynamic, mostly free-verse poems that serves as a potent poetic endnote for her landmark novel Speak (rev. 9/99). In the first third, she recounts the painful origin story of her alcoholic parents (“two ships ripped from their moorings”), a confusing childhood full of frequent moves, and the harrowing rape, when she was thirteen, that was the basis for Speak. Suffering silently through ninth grade, Anderson eventually finds her words again through the kind attention of teachers, a robust sports schedule, and a student-exchange program that places her with a nurturing family in Denmark. She follows this section (which takes her into adulthood and Speak’s publication) with a series of impassioned poems about sexual assault, censorship, menstruation, sex and love, and consent, born of the hundreds of personal stories confided to her at author visits, book festivals, and conferences. These poems address topics ranging from the #MeToo movement to clergy sexual abuse, in muscular stanzas that both heal and hit back. Anderson concludes with a quiet set of reflective family poems that makes peace with her now-deceased parents. By turns angry, commanding, raw, and wistful, this collection is a praise song to survivors, a blistering rebuke to predators, and a testament to the healing power of shared stories. JENNIFER HUBERT SWAN

From the March/April 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

 Field Trip to the Moon
by John Hare; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Ferguson/Holiday    40 pp.
5/19    978-0-8234-4253-9    $17.99
e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4300-0    $10.99

In this sweet and playful wordless book, a group of spacesuit-clad students arrives on the moon for a field trip. One child, carrying a box of crayons and a sketchpad, hangs back from the crowd; and while the teacher lectures to the rest of the class, our student finds a spot behind a rock formation and begins to draw a picture of Earth. The child falls asleep, and a comical and skillfully paced series of images depicts the student abruptly waking to discover that the rest of the class has departed. Stranded on the moon, but self-possessed, the student begins to draw while awaiting rescue — and soon has company in the form of one-eyed moon creatures with whom the child shares some crayons, before being retrieved by the returned teacher. This sly but easy-to-follow linear narrative is told through a well-paced mix of panels (circular, horizontal, and vertical), full-page illustrations, and double-page spreads, with pops of color (the yellow of the school bus–like spaceship, the color-filled crayon box) that are highly effective. The moon creatures, despite their minimalist features, are very expressive, as is the child — whose face remains hidden inside a space helmet until the last page. PATRICK GALL

From the September/October 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

The Year We Fell from Space
by Amy Sarig King
Intermediate, Middle School    Levine/Scholastic    264 pp.    g
10/19    978-1-338-23636-1    $16.99
e-book ed.  978-1-338-23646-0    $10.99

Twelve-year-old “amateur creative astronomer” Liberty Johansen, having memorized all the constellations, makes up her own and meticulously maps them. Her love of the cosmos comes from her father — who, at the start of the book, is separating from Liberty’s mother, his severe depression (and, we find out later, infidelity) too much strain to bear. Liberty thinks of it as their family’s “free fall from space,” but then something does fall from space — a meteorite, which begins communicating with her. The meteorite offers comfort, as Liberty worries about her younger sister Jilly, who doesn’t want to leave the house; her own mental health (“maybe we should have gone with Dad and not stayed with Mom. Because if something happens to my brain, I don’t want her to kick me out too”); and the whole boy-girl thing, having been “excommunicated” from sixth grade for making fun of the pretend recess-time weddings (“It was the Tuesday after my dad moved out. Of course I thought weddings were stupid”). As she navigates her new family structure, Liberty loses her love for the stars and for herself before, cathartically, reconnecting with both. King (Me and Marvin Gardens, rev. 1/17, for middle graders; and her masterful YA oeuvre including Ask the Passengers, rev. 1/13, and, most recently Dig., rev. 3/19) is keenly attuned to her characters’ humanity, from the core family members to Dad’s new girlfriend to the neighbors going through a parallel family breakup. As always, the author’s sensitivity to her characters’ situational challenges is stunningly, compassionately insightful — and her narrative voice and just-this-side-of-realism setting uniquely her own. ELISSA GERSHOWITZ

From the November/December 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

Lovely War
by Julie Berry
High School    Viking    471 pp.
3/19    978-0-451-46993-9    $18.99

When the Greek god of fire, Hephaestus, catches his wife Aphrodite, goddess of love, in 1942 Manhattan in a passionate affair with his brother Ares, god of war, Aphrodite defends her actions by showing the two gods what real love looks like. With pathos and wit, Aphrodite relates two intertwined love stories involving four mortals swept up in World War I. Eighteen-year-old Hazel Windicott meets nineteen-year-old James Alderidge when she’s playing piano at a parish dance in her London neighborhood a week before he’s set to report for military service in France. And it’s Hazel who introduces the other couple to each other: YMCA relief worker Colette Fournier, a Belgian orphan whose family was killed by the Germans, and ragtime/jazz musician Aubrey Edwards, an African American doughboy from Harlem. The four humans suffer great losses throughout the course of this saga, driving home Aphrodite’s eloquent point that everyone, human and god alike, is entitled to love and be loved, no matter his or her imperfections. Berry showcases her masterful storytelling ability, weaving together a tale — in tight, short chapters that keep the pace moving — that spans years, continents, and multiple perspectives, with poetic descriptions painting a vivid picture for readers (candlelight bends back and forth “gracefully, like a flock of starlings in flight”). She doesn’t shrink from addressing heavy-hitting and still-pertinent topics: racism, the horrors of war, women’s subjugated role in society. This poignant novel will make readers, by turns, laugh, cry, and swoon, but what Aphrodite offers most is hope: “Let them start their dreadful wars, let destruction rain down, and let plague sweep through, but I will still be here, doing my work, holding humankind together with love like this.” Back matter includes a bibliography and extensive historical notes on WWI. CYNTHIA K. RITTER

From the March/April 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

Saturday 

by Oge Mora; illus. by the author 

Preschool, Primary    Little, Brown    40 pp.   

10/19    978-0-316-43127-9    $18.99 

e-book ed.  978-0-316-43126-2    $9.99 

Mora (Thank You, Omu!, rev. 11/18) follows up her Caldecott Honor winner with another story built around family and community connection. On Saturdays, Ava and her mother (who works the rest of the week) spend the whole day together. They go to the library, the beauty shop, the park — and on this particular Saturday they are taking the bus to see a special puppet show. However, a series of misadventures derails their perfectly planned day. Following each disappointment (library storytime is canceled, a puddle-splash ruins their newly styled hair), Mom tries to make the best of things. In an optimistic refrain, she repeats, “Today will be special. Today will be splendid. Today is SATURDAY!” But when even Mom reaches her limit, Ava steps up. Mora’s gorgeous cut-paper and collage illustrations depict a colorful, bustling city. Bits of patterned paper and “old book clippings” underscore the author’s love of storytelling. Sound effects in the text (“ZOOOOM!” “WHOOOSHH!”) add energy and child appeal. This simple, well-crafted tale holds universal lessons for children and adults alike: things do not always go as planned; taking a breath and a moment can help us shift our perspectives when life gets challenging; and setting aside time and spending it with loved ones is special no matter what you do. MONIQUE HARRIS

From the September/October 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

Two Brothers, Four Hands: The Artists Alberto and Diego Giacometti
by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan; illus. by Hadley Hooper
Primary, Intermediate    Porter/Holiday    64 pp.    g
4/19    978-0-8234-4170-9    $21.99
e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4224-9    $16.99

Experts at accessibly describing art and exploring the often-complex lives of its creators, Greenberg and Jordan (most recently Meet Cindy Sherman, rev. 11/17) present a picture-book biography of twentieth-century Swiss-born artists Alberto and Diego Giacometti, whose relationship inside and out of the studio is distilled in this volume’s title. After struggling for years, sculptor Alberto found fame for his tall, spindly bronze figures such as those in his Walking Man series, while Diego (who later become known for his furniture designs but who considered himself “merely a craftsman”) tirelessly worked to support his brother’s art. The book touches on events in the siblings’ lives in snapshot-like sections (denoted by dates) that nevertheless provide strong impressions. As children, rough-and-tumble Diego does artistic-dreamer Alberto’s chores; during WWII, Diego guards their studio in war-torn Paris; as Alberto’s fame crescendos, Diego builds sculpture bases, labors on patinas, etc., “until his picky brother nods approval.” The text also offers lyrical descriptions of the artwork itself: “Alberto’s skeletal, lonely figures are survivors. They rise up courageously from these ruins of war”; Diego makes “furniture so magical that one sees sculpture and forgets its function.” Hooper’s (The Iridescence of Birds, rev. 11/14) art, in paint and ink and finished digitally, is cohesive yet strikingly dynamic; see the final vignette of the two brothers together casting long, skeletal shadows recalling Alberto’s famous style. Back matter respectfully guides readers through looking at Walking Man II; photos, source notes, a timeline, and a bibliography are included. KATRINA HEDEEN

From the March/April 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

The Little Guys
by Vera Brosgol; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Roaring Brook    40 pp.
4/19    978-1-62672-442-6    $17.99

The “strongest guys in the whole forest” are the Little Guys — small pastel-colored creatures with acorn-cap hats; red, nose-like appendages; and stick arms and legs. Together there is nothing they cannot conquer. For example, their quest to find breakfast includes crossing a deep body of water, making their way through a vast forest, and climbing “the tallest tree there is.” But this presumed root-for-the-underdog story takes a humorously unexpected turn, as close observation shows the Little Guys have been obnoxiously stealing from the other forest animals the whole time (“None for you! All for us!”). Their quest for forest dominance becomes clear through the animals’ alarmed facial expressions and body language. When the Little Guys’ confidence and amassed pile of food are both at their highest, they greedily attempt to snatch one last berry, leading to a colossal (and deserved) tumble. Brosgol’s (Leave Me Alone, rev. 9/16) rich jewel-toned illustrations (“drawn with dip pen and ink and acrylic ink and painted in watercolor, with some Adobe Photoshop shenanigans afterward”) are imbued with humor both subtle and exaggerated, enhancing and extending the spare text. With its action-filled double-page spreads that vary their format effectively (including a well-placed vertical spread as well as one that uses panels); expert comedic timing; and the oddly endearing Little Guys, the story is well suited for read-alouds. EMMIE STUART

From the May/June 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

Red House, Tree House, Little Bitty Brown Mouse
by Jane Godwin; illus. by Blanca Gómez
Preschool    Dial    40 pp.    g
8/19    978-0-525-55381-6    $16.99

“Red house / Blue house / Green house / Tree house! / See the tiny mouse / in her little brown house?” A small mouse packs her even smaller suitcase and embarks on a journey — on bikes and trains and buses; up in the air and under the sea; through garden beds and city streets; and finally home again. Double-page spreads, packed with detail and action and color, follow her on her travels; the scenes are seemingly unrelated, but all include, somewhere on the page, the little mouse (and her suitcase!) for viewers to find. The text is jaunty and interactive: “Ice cream / that’s smooth / And ice cream / that’s spotted. / Would you like the white one / or the one that’s dotted?” This spread — depicting a girl holding one plain-vanilla cone and another with sprinkles — is one of the few containing minimal detail and in which the mouse is easy to find. In most of the illustrations, there’s so much else to look at and the mouse is so tiny that readers might forget to look for her. Fortunately, the book concludes with “Colors on a / sunny street — / what’s your favorite house? / Is it red or blue or green… / and did you spot that mouse?” Anyone who lost track can then turn back to the beginning and — very happily — start all over again. A cheerful there-and-back-again adventure — that’s also an excellent color-concept book — perfectly aimed at the very youngest. MARTHA V. PARRAVANO

From the November/December 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

Small in the City
by Sydney Smith; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Porter/Holiday    40 pp.
9/19    978-0-8234-4261-4    $18.99
e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4395-6    $11.99

In Smith’s (Sidewalk Flowers, rev. 5/15; Town Is by the Sea, rev. 3/17) debut as both illustrator and author, an intrepid child on the move in the big city speaks directly to an unknown someone. After two wordless spreads (with panel illustrations featuring the child, in silhouette and profile, on a bus), the text begins. “I know what it’s like to be small in the city…If you want, I can give you some advice.” A series of spreads follows in which the child wanders through the daunting wintry city and beyond, dispensing advice and encouragement (“Alleys can be good shortcuts. But don’t go down this alley. It’s too dark”). With full-bleed spreads juxtaposed with ones featuring small vignettes, Smith expertly communicates the city’s chaos and bustle with line, color, and scale. Jagged, angular lines convey the danger of being small in a big place; dark grays and blacks reflect both the harsh winter and the child’s worry; and huge skyscrapers emphasize the child’s small size. The identity of the book’s “you” is revealed only gradually, through the progressively specific advice the child dispenses (“I know you like to listen to music…You could perch on the window ledge”) and, eventually, through a poster the child tapes to a streetlight with a picture of a lost cat. There are signs of hope at the end, with new warm tones in the art as the child arrives home and with a final illustration featuring nearby paw-prints in the snow. This emotionally resonant ode to the resilience of small creatures in a big, loud world is tender and timeless — and a masterful merging of art and text. JULIE DANIELSON

From the November/December 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

Pie in the Sky
by Remy Lai; illus. by the author
Intermediate    Holt    380 pp.
5/19    978-1-250-31409-3    $21.99   
Paper ed.  978-1-250-31410-9    $12.99

It’s been almost two years since Jingwen lost his father in a tragic accident; he now finds himself starting over in a new country. The novel begins with Jingwen, his mother, and his (annoying) younger brother Yanghao landing in Australia, where Jingwen does not know the language and isn’t interested in learning English or making friends at his new school. All Jingwen wants to do is bake the elaborate cakes he and his father perfected (in preparation for the cake shop his father was going to open in Australia called “Pie in the Sky”) without his strict mother finding out that he is breaking her no-baking rule. Lai’s debut illustrated middle-grade novel delves into Jingwen’s grief and onerous fraternal responsibilities while providing a window into the strain of adjusting to life in an “alien” world. Jingwen’s journey through loss will resonate with readers, while his quest to bake all the “Pie in the Sky” cakes deepens this story from typical middle-grade tearjerker to delectable page-turner. Lai’s frequent, blue-tinged illustrations provide comic relief (the interactions between Jingwen and Yanghao are often hilarious) and serve to propel the narrative forward; they often include diagrams of the impressive confections Jingwen bakes. Heartbreakingly honest; in equal parts funny and poignant. ERIC CARPENTER

From the July/August 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

Guts
by Raina Telgemeier; illus. by the author; color by Braden Lamb
Intermediate    Graphix/Scholastic    215 pp.    g
9/19    978-0-545-85251-7    $24.99
Paper ed.  978-0-545-85250-0    $12.99
e-book ed.  978-0-545-85253-1    $7.99

In this graphic memoir chronicling her fourth-grade year, Telgemeier (Smile; Sisters, rev. 11/14) shares her childhood experiences with anxiety. A bout with a stomach bug ushers in emetophobia (fear of vomiting), leaving young Raina trembling and plagued by digestion issues during moments of insecurity, as when making a class presentation. As her phobia worsens, she starts missing school, limiting what she eats, and engaging in compulsive behaviors to self-soothe and manage her loss of self-control. Her parents take her to a therapist, who guides her in coping with her phobia and panic attacks. Sensitively capturing the traumas of anxiety (“Can you be sick even if you’re not sick? Can you be healthy even if you hurt?” Raina wonders), Telgemeier also addresses the insecurities of tween female friendships, the stigma of therapy, and the onset of puberty. She expertly uses scale and perspective to animate the terror of panic attacks; in one bile-colored spread, Raina falls through the very floor tiles, gasping and screaming. There’s a fair amount of bodily-function humor — the book’s last panel features a big “FARRRRRT!” — but it’s never at the expense of the book’s serious subject matter. In a closing note, Telgemeier recommends that readers experiencing anxiety talk to a trusted adult and acknowledges that her own anxiety is ongoing but manageable, “just part of who I am.” JULIE DANIELSON

From the September/October 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

Mind the Gap 2020 is from the July/August 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: ALA Awards. For more speeches, profiles, and articles click the tag ALA 2020.

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