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Children's LiteratureThis entry in the "Rock Music Library" series chronicles the rise of Tupac Shakur, his career cut short by his death in 1996, and his legacy to rap music. Photos include Shakur, his mother, other rappers like "Biggie Smalls" and the then named "P. Diddy," but none from Shakur's childhood. The book emphasizes Shakur's early acting and singing plus his time in the Baltimore School of the Arts, but it also reveals his troubled teen years, the effects of his mother's addiction to crack, his trials, his being robbed and shot, and the still-unsolved mystery of his shooting death following a Mike Tyson boxing match. The book features a microphone logo beside three "looks ahead," as if to remind slower readers that they might ask questions and answer them by keeping on with the labor of reading: "Learn about an unsolved killing; Music lives on; Tupac's poetry," and so forth. It is a good choice for interested readers without moralizing, but readers cannot help but notice the many difficulties Shakur encountered and the opportunities lost. No poetry or raps are included in the text. A Capstone-hosted website, other books, a glossary, and a table of contents are included in this four-chapter book. 2005, Edge Books/Capstone Press, Ages 9 to 14.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.