40 Booklist April 15, 2017 www.booklistreader.com
Be the One: Six True Stories of Teens
Overcoming Hardship with Hope.
By Byron Pitts.
May 2017. 128p. Simon & Schuster, $17.99
(9781442483828). 362.7092. Gr. 7–9.
Emmy-Award–winning news anchor Pitts
brings a journalistic bent to this book that
attempts to redefine heroism. The six teens
chronicled have likely experienced hardships
far beyond what the average reader could
imagine, including abandonment, abuse,
poverty, war, and violence. All six are people
who saved their own lives through their resiliency and faith. In text that reads like an
engrossing news program, Pitts recounts
their problematic childhoods in heartbreaking detail. Through these stories, he seeks to
define what attributes and habits the teens
have in common and what lessons about
fortitude readers can glean from their experiences. The book’s title summarizes its
thesis and is a take on an old adage that
Pitts’ grandmother would often repeat. The
idea is that real heroes are masters of self-determination and tenacity in spite of the
worst of circumstances. Uplifting in its message and captivating in its content, this book
goes beyond typical hero worship to explore
the notion of role models in modern society.
Donald Trump: 45th U.S. President.
By Dominick Reston.
2017. 80p. illus. ReferencePoint, lib. ed., $29.95
(9781682822951); e-book, $29.95 (9781682822968).
973.933092. Gr. 7–12.
The tide of youth books about Trump has
started to creep in, and Reston’s balanced
take is the most serious and comprehensive
yet. It focuses on Trump’s favorite subject—
Donald Trump—at the minimization of
periphery characters. (You won’t see much
of old favorites Lyin’ Ted, Little Marco,
Low Energy Jeb, or Crooked Hillary.) But
it works, flashing an observer’s bulb directly
into Trump’s face: his “surly” student days,
his wayward youth spent buying dangerous
knives (?!) in Times Square, and mostly, his
real estate deals, which largely succeeded
based on Trump’s bizarre, but weirdly effective, reliance on putting his name on
everything—no matter what people or important pieces of art he had to steamroll.
Reston doesn’t blink at the lawsuits Trump
settles out of court, his messy divorces, his
crude comments about women (
unfortunately, the damning Access Hollywood tape
is ignored), and his career-long flip-flopping
on countless issues. Most important, Reston
highlights the underestimated national rage
Trump tapped into. Layout is middling, but
the photos are fine, and let’s face it—your
library needs this, and now. —Daniel Kraus
This Is Really Happening.
By Erin Chack.
Apr. 2017. 240p. Penguin/Razorbill, $17.99
(9780448493589). 818. Gr. 9–12.
As a senior writer at BuzzFeed, Chack’s
covered everything from “ 14 Times Spaghetti Lived by Its Own Damn Rules” to
“ 29 Things You Should Never Do When
Banging a Dude.” In this quick-witted debut collection of 11 personal essays, Chack
turns the lens inward, spotlighting memorable mishaps (two of them urine-related),
marvels (the magic of a Manhattan rooftop),
anxieties (cruel commenters), and achievements (a “dream come true” job). Opening
with her struggle to inform loved ones of her
cancer diagnosis in “Girl-Shaped Tornado”
and closing with recollections from a particularly pivotal dinner party in “Memento
Mori,” Chack also talks dating in the age of
AOL Instant Messenger, soul mates—which
she likens to two carrots entwined in “an
orange-y double helix”—and death, which
she believes “matters only to [those] who remain.” With a knack for infusing the most
dire or painfully awkward circumstances
with a heaping dose of humor and infectious
enthusiasm, Chack and her candidly conversational, meandering approach will quickly
convert readers into chuckling confidants.
A heartfelt celebration of goofiness in all its
glory. —Briana Shemroske
10 Routes That Crossed the World.
By Gillian Richardson. Illus. by Kim
Apr. 2017. 164p. Annick, $24.95 (9781554518760);
paper, $12.95 (9781554518753). 910.9. Gr. 5–8.
“On the road again” gains significance in
this book, which looks at the past through
an interesting lens— 10 roads, routes, and
trails that impacted world history. Arranged
chronologically, it begins with Beringia,
the land route between Asia and Alaska
that allowed early people to migrate into
North America, and continues with some
well-known routes, such as Roman roads
in Britain, the U.S.’s famed Route 66, and
the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Many of the routes,
however, are lesser known yet equally impor-
tant, including the Khyber Pass (once part
of the Silk Road and now a site of hostili-
ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan), the
Trans-Siberian Railway, and the Serengeti
Migration Trail (used by both animals and
Maasai herders). Each chapter describes the
route’s history, how it was built or forged,
why it became important, related facts, and
its current state. Brief, fictional stories intro-
duce the 10 thoroughfares, which are further
illustrated by descriptive maps, photographs,
and reproductions. Browsing readers can dip
in for discovery, while history buffs can make
deeper connections. —Angela Leeper
Big Book of Who: Baseball—The 101
Stars Every Fan Needs to Know.
Ed. by Sports Illustrated.
Apr. 2017. 128p. illus. Time/Liberty Street, $17.95
(9781683300014). 796.357. Gr. 4–7.
Just in time for the 2017 baseball season,
and up to date as of the 2016 World Series,
the latest volume in the publisher’s Big Book
of Who series celebrates outstanding and colorful baseball players from many eras. Each
entry asks a question about baseball records,
achievements, and lore, such as, “Who homered on three consecutive pitches in the 1977
World Series?” and “Who celebrates Orioles
wins by giving teammates a pie to the face?”
Each answer is explained in a paragraph written in an accessible, journalistic style, along
with a sidebar and often a fast-fact box. Arranged topically rather than chronologically,
the chapters spotlight champions, sluggers,
pitchers, cool characters, and record breakers.
While most of the featured players were active
in the twentieth century, others are playing
today and will be familiar to young fans. This
colorful book includes an eye-catching photo
for each entry, and most show the players in
action. Informative as browsing material, the
book will be fun to share with others who love
baseball. —Carolyn Phelan
Catching Air: Taking the Leap with
By Sneed B. Collard.
2017. 39p. illus. Tilbury, $17.95 (9780884484967). 590.
While birds, insects, and bats fly, certain
earthbound critters can do the next best
thing: glide. Among these are certain species of fish, snakes, frogs, and lizards, as well
as mammals such as flying squirrels, sugar
gliders, and colugos. This informative book
explores questions such as what adaptations
in the animals’ bodies enable them to glide,
why gliders throughout the world are forest dwellers, and how gliding helps them to
survive. One section looks at the history of
human gliding mechanisms, from Leonardo
da Vinci’s “ornithopter” design to modern
hang gliders and wing suits, a discussion that
ends with a strongly worded safety warning
for kids. While the book’s design emphasizes
illustration over text and includes some very
small print in sidebars, the color photos are
nicely aligned with the text and often riveting. Other illustrations include range maps
and archival drawings. The book concludes
with recommended resources and a glossary
but no index. A respected science writer, Collard offers a well-researched, well-focused,
and beautifully illustrated presentation of
a topic seldom covered in children’s books.
Continued on p. 42