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From the PublisherSLJ LEVITHAN, David, ed. Where We Are, What We See: Poems, Stories, Essays, and Art from the Best Young Writers and Artists in America. 220p. photos. reprods. Scholastic/Push. 2005. pap. $7.99. ISBN 0-439-73646-3. LC number unavailable.
Gr 7 UpComposed of artistic submissions by middle and high school students, this book is a knockout. The content is often heavy with the weight of adult situations that these young people face. Such is our world. Yet the literary work, compositionally, is aesthetically lovely and filled with the candor of youth. “Living Like That” offers a take on the confused emotional state of growing up in and out of war-torn Jerusalem, while “I Kept Looking” is a reflection on the effects of living through the trauma of 9/11. This book will be well used as peer examples, motivating students to step up and celebrate their own artistic talents. As one young writer puts it, “Reading a well-written book sometimes puts me into a state removed from the larger reality but awed by what I just finished.”Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY VOYA Award-winning work from today's young adults should come as no surprise, but here is a collection that catches the reader through its competence and impact. The nearly sixty entries of essays, stories, and poetry along with photography and art range from tragic to wistful, contemporary teen oeuvre to picturing the sensitive kids one wishes that they all could be. The middle and high school authors and artists are winners of the 2002, 2003, and 2004 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. They clearly reflect the diversity of lives and lifestyles of today's young adults. The writers respond to the deaths of friends, families, strangers; they remember childhood indiscretions; they present the simplest and most complex of life events. As the editor states, these authors and artists are engaged in the world around them. . . . They have both insight and the ability to convey this insight. Some of the writing is raw and shocking, depicting a world one wishes that they did not see, but the authors' perceptions and reactions allow the reader to believe that there will be a befitting future. Other selections reveal feelings that have grown older and wiser through experience. The visual artists blend reality and imagination with emotion, letting each viewer take what they will-as all art does. Readers will be able to identify with these stories-if not for themselves, then for people they have known. They are likely to spend some time thinking about them. This collection would be an excellent model for writing classes.-Patricia Morrow.
Kliatt Olivia Durant (KLIATT Review, January 2006 (Vol. 40, No. 1))
The work of several winners of the 2002-2004 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is collected here in one volume. The writers are all students in middle school and high school. Among the poetry, stories, essays, and art, the reader will quickly discover that no two teens are alike. Though they have many of the same concerns and questions, they all have distinct voices, showcased nicely in this collection. There is something for everyone among the selections, and some pieces show great talent. One particularly fine story, entitled "Lifethreads," tells the tale of Analya, who grows up in a society similar to the one in Lowry's The Giver, or Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic series. She has a talent for weaving, and is trained in its intricacies, not yet realizing that her weaving magic can decide whether someone lives or dies. The essay, "What Cancer Meant," is a heartbreaking yet uplifting work about a young woman's father dying of cancer, and how they are able to connect after he dies. Teens will enjoy reading the writings of others their own age. The authors come from many different cultures and parts of the US, making this a truly diverse body of work. This collection is recommended for public and school libraries,