Catch and Kill was one of my favourite non-fiction books of 2019. I read it in three days, hardly able to put it down. The core of the book is Ronan Farrow’s investigation of Harvey Weinstein and later Matt Lauer, while Farrow was working for NBC. NBC’s culture of misogamy is shocking.
The book reads as a mystery with clues littered along the way. Spies and counterspies, spy pens and veiled threats lend an almost surreal element to the book. The betrayals that sexual assault victims, such as Rose McGowan and others suffered was heartbreaking. What stood out to me was the long-term trauma caused by rape and sexual harassment, not just the brutality of the act itself, but the aftermath when the women came forward. Their accounts were minimized and discounted; they were threatened by their attackers and bosses, and their reputations were smeared. In part, thanks to David Pecker at The National Enquirer.
The plethora of non-disclosure agreements to shut the women up says it all. In the business, this is routinely called ‘catch and kill.’ The courage of these women to speak truth to power, despite their fear, is inspiring. And Ronan Farrow’s persistence, in the face of so many roadblocks and challenges, comes across as heroic. For a movie on a similar theme, watch Bombshell, about the late Roger Ailes, head of Fox News. This docudrama shows that the misogyny at NBC is not a one off, but pervasive in the news and entertainment business.
‘A list of small lessons, that when added up, have a great impact…”
Peace is an Offering is ‘affecting and heartfelt.’ Kirkus Review
Peace is an Offering is a ‘beautiful book.’ …
“(It’s) a wonderful way to remind not just children but yourself of the wonderful things that do and can exist in this world. The art is brilliant…. I urge you to purchase this. Give it as a gift and buy another one for yourself. This book will make you happy. I know it made me smile.”
The Book Wars: (Nafiza Azad)
“If childhood always resonated with Annette LeBox’s gentle verses, and invitingly resembled Stephanie Graegin’s multi-culti world, who would ever want to grow up? And even if the book is printed with “Dial Books for Young Readers,” no reason for us old folks not to give this precious little charmer a regular perusal, too. Regardless of age, in our hurry-up, don’t look back, gotta-do-one-more-thing, so-called modern world, LeBox and Graegin remind us all to practice peace: to slow down, be kind, and enjoy the innumerable little gifts that come our way.”
Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center
Peace is an Offering contains a strong message about what the abstract concept of peace means for young (and old): helping one another, being kind, joining together, and enjoying all aspects of life with respect to your family, friends and neighbors…
The poem is beautifully written and illustrated. Children will easily understand each deftly visualized line or verse of the poem… I loved every aspect of every spread. The poetry speaks to the heart. Pencil and watercolor illustrations have those details I rave about. Simple put Peace Is An Offering is a joy to read.”
“Peace is an Offering is a prayer, a meditation, and a hope for a better world. Yet, it goes beyond simply crossing our fingers and presenting a ‘nice idea’ with giving children real things that they can do for themselves and each other. When you take small things like giving a kiss, saying nice things to each other, and keeping a person company and then frame it in the bigger context of making the world a better place- you get a picture book that is gently motivating and enlightening for children and adults alike.”
The Picture Book Review
“Award-winning author Annette LeBox makes a peace offering in her seventh book for children with a deceptively simple poem that spreads the message of attainable and shareable peace… LeBox demonstrates that peace comes through sharing time, patience and kindness, especially when loved ones are gone. LeBox manages to evoke 9/11 in a touching scene where she writes “And even in the wake of tragedy, even then, you might find her. In the rubble of a fallen tower. In the sorrow of your darkest hour.”
Adults will understand the reference even if children don’t, especially with Stephanie Graegin’s pencil and watercolor illustration of a family sitting on a park bench looking out on New York City. This volume’s sweet words nurture tender seeds of love and friendship, showing what wonderful fruits kindness can bear. “
Review by Literary Kids by Literary Features Syndicate
“Annette LeBox is a poet, a naturalist and author of Circle of Cranes. In this heartfelt poem about living in peace in everyday life, she focuses on a community of children who cherish and look after each other. The little ones in these stories convey peace as an offering, holding on to another, the words you say to a brother, and more places and activities. Peace is a joining, not a pulling apart. It’s the courage to bear a wounded heart.” The simple but elegant illustrations of Stephanie Graegin nicely complement the text.” Spirituality and Practice
Circle of Cranes … shows the reality of today’s working conditions for illegal Chinese immigrants in Chinatown. Annette LeBox also incorporated a magical element that gave the book a fable-like feel. While this novel is written for a middle grade readership, it could be enjoyed by all ages. We definitely recommend Circle of Cranes.
Kidzworld Review, Rating 5 stars
Suyin’s tribulations offer a glimpse into the horrifying world of human trafficking and sweatshops. Her time with the Sisterhood balances the horror of her daily life and gives her strength to help with the garment workers’ strike, which leads to a tidier and happier ending than most children with paths similar to Suyin’s experience. While many elements of the narrative structure and story will appeal to younger readers, the brutality and violence that the girl endures, especially as a friend takes a job at a seedy massage parlor, requires more mature readers.
School Library Journal 5-1,Jennifer Rothschild, Prince George’s County Memorial Library System, Oxon Hill, MD
(Circle of Cranes) is extremely well researched, and is a big eye-opener when it comes to the sweatshops in New York’s Chinatown. … Even though it’s targeted at a middle grade readership, it has a fable-like quality that makes it appeal to readers of all ages.
Goodreads, Nicole Skutelnik, 5 starred review
Perhaps most impressive piece of this story is the presences of strong female role models, and the beautiful use of language, especially ancient proverbs, as they allude to Suyin’s life experiences … There are stories and proverbs hidden in embroidery, an oral retelling of Suyin’s history (both human and crane) and a description of the secret language of women (both written― Nu Shu―and physical in embroidery)… Overall, this is a wonderfully rich book that encourages a rich discussion about language in all forms with the reader. It’s a fantastic read for both middle school and young adult readers; just be warned that some of the descriptions of life under snakehead control may be unpleasant for the more sensitive reader.
Goodreads, Jen, Toronto, Ontario
The language (in Circle of Cranes) is simple, yet compelling. I found I couldn’t put it down and I’m certain mid-grade children (the target audience) will feel the same. The lessons Suyin learns in this story can appeal to any child.
Views from Nature
Circle of Cranes is so much grittier and deeper than I ever expected it to be. I want to learn more about all of the topics and situations LeBox touched on now that the novel’s over, and I love the extra information she’s featured on her blog, as though she knew I’d come looking. …I didn’t realize the book was going to feature such deep issues when I picked it up, thinking it would be mostly about a girl’s journey to becoming a crane sister. It was, but it was so much more, too. The novel is gorgeously written and really gets into the mind of Suyin as she adapts to her new life, betrayed by everyone and forced to continue on in such revolting conditions. The book is well worth reading and will truly open your mind in more ways than one.
A Backwards Story
Circle of Cranes is a beautifully written mix of fable and historical fiction… The author has created a wonderful blend of ancient legend with modern day illegal immigration, connecting the horrors of life in the sweatshops with the beauty of the natural world inhabited by the cranes.
Reviewed by Lost in a Great Book
Based on real human trafficking news, Circle of Cranes is a profound tale that looks at an inconvenient aspect of illegal immigration ignored by those in power except when an incident occurs.
Harriet Klausner, Genre Go Round Reviews