Children's Literature - Catherine PetriniOne morning in 1811, the ground shook and rumbled and rolled like waves. The earthquake, centered near New Madrid, Missouri, caught everyone by surprise-except a Shawnee Indian named Tecumseh, who had predicted it. But Indians and whites respected Tecumseh for more than his skill as a seer. He was a mesmerizing speaker, a fearless warrior, and a visionary leader. The U.S. government was forcing Indians from land that had been theirs for generations, and Tecumseh believed the only remedy was for all tribes to fight together against the whites. Myra and William Immell's book, part of Lucent's "The Importance of..." biography series, is balanced and detailed. It doesn't present Tecumseh as perfect. For instance, he was prejudiced against whites, preaching that Indians were superior. He was a controversial figure, siding with Britain against the U.S. in the War of 1812. But Tecumseh's intelligence and magnetism shine through the Immells' clear prose. The book is meant for classroom use, its two-column format and black-and-white illustrations looking more like textbook pages than leisure reading. But the lively text will captivate young readers, especially boys. Tecumseh was a political figure, so the biography focuses on his public life and the history of Native Americans in the Midwest in the 18th and 19th centuries.
VOYA - Marian RafalIn print since it was first published in 1952, translated into over fifty languages, the poignant diary of the young girl who died over fifty years ago still resonates with power and dignity. "I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart," wrote Anne Frank in what may be the most famous diary ever published. This volume of the Literary Companion to World Literature series focuses on both the diaries and Anne herself. The articles include essays, book reviews, and newspaper and magazine articles. From the ALAN Review, Fall 1995, Linda Irwin-DeVitis and Beth Benjamin proposed "Anne as a Role Model for Other Adolescents." Using nine girls aged eleven to thirteen during a summer literature discussion group, the authors investigated whether young girls are able to identify someone else's struggle and relate it to themselves. Norbert Muhlen, in Commonweal, 1958, wonders if Anne Frank had indeed become a legend, given the universality of themes in her diary. Ernst Schnabel in his book, Anne Frank: A Portrait in Courage (Harcourt, Brace, & World, 1958) interviews more than forty people who knew Anne. Here are seventeen selections that span the decades from the '50s to the '90s, all examining the universal appeal of Anne Frank's enduring diary. Each essay is condensed to several pages and has a concise introduction to guide the reader. This is a useful starting point for classroom discussions or for young adults looking to take the diary a step beyond casual reading. Index. Biblio. Further Reading. Chronology. VOYA Codes: 3Q 2P S (Readable without serious defects, For the YA with a special interest in the subject, Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 8-10While the foreword states that one of the purposes of this series is to "spark readers' interest," it is hard to imagine that this book will fulfill that mission. It is a compilation of 15 essays that address the important themes in the diary and critical assessments of it, and discuss its legacy. However, several of the selections are wordy or unclear. Written as stand-alone pieces, they become repetitive when read in succession as few provide fresh perspectives or new insights. More than once, readers are told that Anne received the diary for her birthday, how it was left behind in the raid of the Secret Annex, and how Otto Frank edited it and searched for a publisher. The same quotes are found in multiple chapters as well. "I want to go on living even after my death!" "I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart," and "If God lets me live, I shall achieve more than mother ever did" are powerful statements in the context of the diary. Unfortunately, their impact is diminished here. Young adults should be allowed to experience the power and beauty of The Diary of a Young Girl without enduring lessons in literary criticism.Leigh Ann Jones, Gee Jr. High, Pilot Point, TX
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