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Children's LiteratureToday's youth are familiar with Will Smith's recent career, including such movies as "Men in Black," "Men in Black 2," "Independence Day," and "Ali," the movie for which he received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. They may even know some of his music. But do they know where this star came from or the challenges he has overcome to get where he is today? In this addition to the "High Five" series, readers find out that Will learned how to make people laugh from his family when he was growing up. They learn about how Will's music career began during his last year of high school and that although he earned a lot of money very quickly, he lost it all and was soon broke. They see how he became first a TV star, then a movie actor, and they learn how characteristics like ambition, talent, confidence, and a sense of humor have helped Will Smith become the man he is today. Parents are sure to appreciate the epilogue's explanation of why Will Smith doesn't use explicit language in his music. Readers who want to learn more will appreciate the bibliography and web site addresses. 2004, Red Brick Learning/Capstone Press, Ages 9 to 12.
— Heidi Hauser Green