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HIV Positive

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Wolf's (Homeless) latest photo-essay introduces a 29-year-old New York City woman who, infected more than six years earlier with the HIV virus, has developed AIDS. While his text provides some facts about how the disease is transmitted and treated, Wolf focuses primarily on how AIDS has transformed the daily lives of Sara and her two young children. Despite its somber cover photograph, which shows the children giving their bedridden mother her medication, the tenor of the book is relatively hopeful. At the time Wolf photographed the family, an energetic-seeming Sara had rebounded from a grave bout with pneumocystic pneumonia and was able to do household chores, attend her daughter's First Communion and participate in an AIDS march. Yet Sara's anxiety about her future health and her constantly bickering children, who are afraid to tell their classmates about their mother's illness, casts a realistic, poignant shadow. Occasionally, the narrative rambles (applying for group therapy for Sara's kids fills five pages) and is marred by cliched language (on one page, "the virus has a cunning intelligence" and "Sara feels as if she is living on borrowed time"). Others will object to his editorializing ("The U.S. government has remained oddly uninterested in protecting its citizens against this threat to their lives"). But Wolf's candid photographs contain nothing extraneous: the cumulative effect of the ordinary scenes is potent and bittersweet. Ages 8-12. (May)
Children's Literature - Donna Brumby
For the most part, this book offers information that the public needs, but it's marred by an unsubstantiated political statement near the end. Wolf says that the US Government is not protecting people from AIDS, yet there is no basis given for the statement, and it is sure to scare kids. It will also make them concerned and fearful of acquaintances with AIDS. This book would be a fine personal purchase for people who share Wolf's political view, but it seems too heavy-handed for consideration in a publicly funded library.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9Bearing the unbearable is not an easy task, but this photo-essay describes how Sara, a 29-year-old single mother, bravely faces full-blown AIDS on a daily basis. Though she cannot hold a full-time job, the woman has adequate medical insurance and a strong support group in her mother and three sisters. The family is shown in various situations, from performing mundane household chores to participating in a first Communion ceremony to enjoying a New Year's Eve party celebrating the fact that Sara is still alive. Her nine-year-old daughter and six-year-old son are shown as coping but anxious. Wolf is never melodramatic or maudlin, but there are deeply affecting sections. In one discomforting scene, in the presence of both children, Sara relinquishes their guardianship to her mother after her death. This unusual book has several strengths, including artistry, honesty, and realism. Wolf's talent and experience as a photojournalist are evident in handsome, full-color photographs and readable text. He depicts the remarkable resilience of the human spirit by showing that despite misfortune, life goes on in many matter-of-fact ways. Another important point: skilled professionals, understanding friends, and loving relatives can help. Since this book was written, better AIDS therapies are available, but the message for children with ailing parents is timeless.Sue A. Norkeliunas, Arlington Senior High School, LaGrangeville, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525454595
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/1/1997
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 900L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.34 (w) x 10.32 (h) x 0.43 (d)

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