“Give me a boy until he is 7,” the Jesuit maxim goes, “and I will give you the man.” It’s an adage worth pondering when considering four new middle-grade books with boys at their centers, each demonstrating how young people can be transformed by dramatic events — or look inward to discover their true selves. These nonfiction books explore some of the dispositions and imaginations boys bring to the world as they move to another country, learn to serve as role models in perilous situations, face crises of conscience about their allegiance to family and state, and broaden our fundamental understanding of masculinity. There has been no shortage of books about boys, but as we see in these new titles, the idea of what it means to be one is expanding.
David Macaulay, the author of the best-selling “The Way Things Work,” once again shares his infectious, youthful curiosity for machinery and inventions in CROSSING ON TIME: Steam Engines, Fast Ships, and a Journey to the New World (Roaring Brook, 128 pp., .99; ages 8 and up). His latest book is a celebration of the S.S. United States, an ocean liner that in 1952 broke the speed record for crossing the Atlantic, averaging 41 miles per hour — impressive for a ship that, if stood on its end, would surpass the height of the Chrysler Building, at 990 feet. Macaulay details the design and construction of the vessel in his precise and often playful architectural drawings, luring in readers who might not otherwise be interested in physics and engineering. In fact-filled vignettes, the author relates the history of the steam engine and how it revolutionized shipping. He tells us, too, about the life of the designer William Francis Gibbs, who fell in love with ships at a young age and “played hooky from Harvard” simply to cross the Atlantic on these behemoths.
Like Macaulay’s first book, “Cathedral” (1973), about the Middle Ages’ crowning architectural achievement, “Crossing on Time” pays tribute to something of a lost art. It’s also an elegy to an industry that’s been eclipsed by air travel, a useful if decidedly less romantic way of traversing an ocean. Macaulay’s book resonates all the more because he was a passenger on the S.S. United States in 1957: The author left his native England as a child to forge a new life with his family in the land that shares the ship’s name.
International news, understandably, is often filled with accounts of war and disaster and human misery. In his new book, Marc Aronson focuses on a recent saga that was ultimately as heartening as it was, in its early stages, nerve-racking. RISING WATER: The Story of the Thai Cave Rescue (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 148 pp., .99; ages 10 to 14) puts a human face on the 12 soccer players and their 25-year-old assistant coach who became trapped in a flooded cave system last summer, before the start of the rainy season. What helped them endure, underground, for 18 days? As Aronson makes clear, much of the credit goes to Ekapon Jantawong, the assistant coach known as Ek. Born in Burma, Ek was stateless, like three of the boys on his team. Raised as an orphan in a Buddhist monastery in Thailand, Ek learned the power of meditation. The exercise served him well in the cave, letting the boys relax. He also assigned the youths chores, keeping them busy. “It gave each person a sense of purpose — a reason to have hope,” Aronson writes. In a refreshing contrast to a standard team structure, Ek came to be known to his charges not as “coach” but as “brother.”
Aronson is a fluid writer who doesn’t resort to sensationalism to heighten the inherent drama of his stirring retelling. He is also familiar with this kind of story line, having written the children’s book “Trapped: How the World Rescued 33 Miners From 2,000 Feet Below the Chilean Desert.” Without leaning too heavily on parallels to current politics, Aronson makes a valuable point that can benefit readers of any age — that crises can bring out selfless acts of courage from people all over the world, working together to help others in need, regardless of their backgrounds.
In “Maus,” his singularly inspired graphic novel about the Holocaust and its aftermath, Art Spiegelman let readers into the inner lives of Jews by depicting them as mice. Similarly, Pierre-Jacques Ober elicits emotions through unlikely characters — painted figurines — to recount the experiences of soldiers in wartime. THE GOOD SON: A Story From the First World War Told in Miniature (Candlewick Studio, 104 pp., ; ages 14 and up) is the simple but no less heart-rending tale of Pierre, a young French soldier who faces execution for having deserted his regiment for two days to visit his widowed mother at Christmastime. Ober, whose grandfather was an officer in the Great War, played with toy soldiers as a child, recreating battles in his bedroom. His lifelong passion for the subject shines through in his exquisite tableaus that display marches, scenes of carnage and quiet moments, as when Pierre awaits his fate locked in a barn, moonlight from a lone window illuminating his face.
Although it is based on a real story, the book has the force of a timeless fable, thanks to minimal, poetic text. Shallow depth-of-field photography by Ober’s wife, Jules, and digital enhancements by Felicity Coonan make the images especially lifelike. These striking miniatures have the power to put us in the minds of the true “little soldiers,” the common men who fought in a long-ago war and yet whose story feels so present here.
Wanting to showcase the fearlessness of girls, the photographer Kate T. Parker published the best-selling collection “Strong Is the New Pretty” in 2017. Now she has compiled an equally vibrant catalog of portraits devoted to boys. THE HEART OF A BOY: Celebrating the Strength and Spirit of Boyhood (Workman, 250 pp., .95; ages 10 to 14) is full of smile-inducing photographs that give readers a deep appreciation of boys in all their variety, bursting the tired stereotype that they need to be “tough,” not vulnerable.
“Don’t worry about what other people think,” says Alexander A., an 18-year-old ballet dancer. “Hold your head up high and plunge forward.” A portrait of Nash, age 4, shows him beaming, a hand resting on his beyond-shoulder-length blond hair. “I love my long hair,” he says. “You know long hair isn’t only for girls.” Ten-year-old Nate, his arms crossed with purpose, declares, “Being strong means standing up for yourself and especially standing up for others.” Well said, boys. Keep spreading the word.
【封】【屿】【蹭】【了】【蹭】【时】【沫】【然】【微】【凉】【的】【脸】【颊】，【微】【微】【笑】【了】【笑】，“【小】【沫】【沫】，【这】【世】【界】【最】【了】【解】【你】【的】【人】【是】【我】，【小】【沫】【沫】【在】【想】【什】【么】，【我】【都】【知】【道】【呢】。” 【时】【沫】【然】【没】【有】【说】【话】，【封】【屿】【也】【不】【在】【意】，【抱】【着】【时】【沫】【然】【去】【洗】【漱】，【长】【长】【的】【铁】【链】【蜿】【蜒】【在】【地】，【耳】【边】【的】【是】【铁】【链】【碰】【撞】【的】【声】【响】，【带】【来】【刺】【骨】【的】【疼】【痛】。 【时】【沫】【然】【的】【脸】【色】【微】【微】【发】【白】。 【从】【浴】【室】【出】【来】【后】，【封】【屿】【就】【端】【起】【那】【碗】
【第】【两】【百】【二】【十】【一】【章】【糖】【衣】【炮】【弹】 【安】【月】【曦】【的】【私】【人】【星】【舰】【强】【行】【降】【落】【在】【了】【安】【达】【尔】【要】【塞】，【并】【且】【上】【面】【搭】【载】【的】【机】【动】【部】【队】【还】【摆】【出】【了】【一】【副】【防】【御】【警】【戒】【的】【架】【势】。 【安】【达】【尔】【要】【塞】【的】【司】【令】【官】【康】【泽】【没】【想】【过】【跟】【安】【月】【曦】【结】【仇】，【但】【是】【现】【场】【刚】【好】【有】【蓝】【星】【远】【征】【军】【那】【些】【刚】【刚】【抵】【达】【的】【战】【士】，【他】【必】【须】【在】【表】【面】【上】【做】【做】【姿】【态】，【展】【现】【出】【联】【邦】【政】【府】【的】【强】【硬】【来】。 【安】【达】【尔】【机】【动】【营】【的】【两】澳门美好世界【所】【有】【的】【异】【见】【都】【被】【一】【层】【层】【的】【递】【交】【记】【录】【分】【析】，【从】【中】【区】【分】【对】【比】【出】【最】【合】【理】【的】【记】【录】【在】【这】【文】【明】【的】【运】【行】【算】【法】【里】，【社】【会】【的】【运】【行】【越】【来】【越】【和】【谐】，【越】【来】【越】【稳】【定】，【越】【来】【越】【积】【极】【向】【上】。 【如】【果】【没】【有】【意】【外】，【这】【和】【谐】【将】【会】【一】【直】【持】【续】【下】【去】，【但】【意】【外】【总】【是】【在】【不】【经】【意】【之】【间】【发】【生】【的】。 【砰】！【然】【后】【这】【文】【明】【炸】【了】，【没】【有】【发】【生】【内】【乱】，【就】【是】【炸】【了】，【连】【烟】【火】【都】【没】【有】，【就】【是】【单】
【敖】【晓】【生】【是】【真】【的】【急】【了】，【他】【本】【以】【为】，【以】【他】【之】【力】，【是】【能】【够】【护】【住】【他】【弟】【弟】【的】。 【可】【此】【刻】【看】【来】，【他】【却】【是】【太】【小】【瞧】【五】【纹】【大】【巫】【的】【巫】【术】【了】，【此】【等】【巫】【术】，【哪】【怕】【只】【是】【一】【丝】，【都】【足】【够】【置】【他】【与】【敖】【晓】【汪】【于】【死】【地】。 【莫】【说】【是】【保】【护】【敖】【晓】【汪】【的】【周】【全】【了】，【被】【敖】【家】【四】【叔】【巫】【术】【笼】【罩】【了】【敖】【晓】【生】，【他】【连】【自】【身】【的】【周】【全】，【都】【护】【不】【住】。 【这】【若】【是】【没】【有】【外】【力】【相】【助】，【而】【敖】【家】【四】【叔】【又】
【出】【了】【火】【圈】，【见】【到】【乐】【惜】，【呆】【坐】【着】，【脸】【上】【好】【像】【还】【挂】【着】【眼】【泪】。 【而】【乐】【惜】【看】【着】，【在】【火】【圈】**【来】【的】【一】【个】【不】【人】【不】【鬼】【的】【人】【样】。 【很】【是】【害】【怕】【道】“【学】【姐】，【你】【死】【了】【吗】【对】【不】【起】，【我】【没】【想】【到】，【这】【将】【会】【害】【死】【你】，【对】【不】【起】。” “【傻】【丫】【头】，【谁】【说】【我】【死】【了】，【让】【姐】【看】【看】【你】【是】【不】【是】【流】【泪】【了】。”【蓝】【月】【焰】【笑】【着】【说】【道】。 “【学】【姐】，【蓝】【学】【姐】，【你】【不】【要】【开】【玩】【笑】【了】，