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Mixed Media Roundup: September 2023

Mixed Media


By Sam Gutierrez

Star Trek: The Next Generation went off the air in 1994. During its seven-year run, it had taken the familiar elements of the original series, added new characters and storylines, and breathed new life into a franchise that many thought was a niche science-fiction show of the late 1960s. 

Who could have imagined that the main character with a French last name and a Shakespearean delivery—Jean-Luc Picard, played by Patrick Stewart—would become one of the most beloved Star Trek captains ever? Picard takes place in 2041, and the third season really stands apart as one final story of the original Next Generation crew, with plenty of nostalgic nods to the past. Once again, the Starship Enterprise-D flies though the stars on a mission to save the galaxy from a cast of bad characters threatening to destroy Earth. (Paramount +) 

9 Kilometers 

By Claudio Aguilera, illustrated by Gabriela Lyon
Reviewed by Sonya VanderVeen Feddema

A young Chilean boy sets out on the nine-kilometer trek to school in the early-morning darkness. Though it’s cold outside, the boy doesn’t mind because he loves to walk and count. His teacher taught him that a kilometer is the same as 1,000 meters, so nine kilometers is 9,000 meters. He also learned that it takes about 1,600 steps to walk a kilometer, so nine kilometers is about 15,000 steps. The boy is amazed!   

Illustrator Gabriela Lyon’s exquisite pictures capture the boy’s tenacious spirit and his delight in the people, creatures, and landscape he encounters on his trek. Included are brief vignettes about children from China, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Kenya, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Chile who travel many kilometers to reach their schools. A compelling story about the perseverance of a child and the human right to education.

(Eerdmans Books for Young Readers) 

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

Reviewed by Lorilee Craker

Emma Thompson, icon of the rom-com genre, plays the wacky mother of unlucky-in-love documentary filmmaker Zoe (Lily James) in this winsome British film.

Zoe is likable, if frustrating, as she sabotages every relationship, much to the exasperation of her “mum,” who is hilariously eager to marry off her only child. They both cherish their enduring friendship with the Pakistani Muslim family next door, who are also keen to marry off their single son, Kaz (Shazad Latif). When Kaz becomes engaged via “assisted marriage” to a near-stranger in Pakistan, Zoe films the whole process, from London to Lahore, and the two old friends must learn if it is possible to bridge the “continent between them.” Effervescent and insightful. (Rated PG-13 for language, suggestive dialogue. On demand on various platforms.)

Never Give Up: A Prairie Family’s Story

By Tom Brokaw
Reviewed by Lorilee Craker

As a descendant of Manitoba pioneers, I prize a good story in which someone prevails over the endless challenges of life on the plains. The former NBC news anchor’s new book is an admiring ode to the working-class South Dakotans whose unflagging work ethic shaped Brokaw into a top journalist. In this short, captivating read, Brokaw takes readers back in time, from R.P. Brokaw’s 1883 hotel in Bristol, S.D., to his own rise as the son of Red, a large-machine genius who built dams and forts, and Jean, whose own father lost everything in the Great Depression. For readers interested in the history of the prairies, Brokaw’s well-honed skill for storytelling and journalistic detail coupled with his loving reverence for his forebears makes this tribute well worth turning the pages. (Random House)

The Lowdown

Failure: the Gateway to Grace?: Low Anthropology offers a liberating view of human nature, sin, and grace. Popular author and theologian David Zahl shows why the good news of Christianity is urgent and appealing. By embracing a more accurate view of human beings, readers will discover a true and lasting hope. (Brazos Press)

The Third Installment Arrives Soon: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 stars Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, Elena Kampouris, Andrea Martin, and Lainie Kazan. (Paramount, in theaters Sept. 8)

Buster Breaks His Silence: In The Fall of the House of Murdaugh, a new three-part docuseries about convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh, investigators interview family (including Murdaugh’s son, Buster), friends, and the defense team in the notorious case. (Fox Nation, Sept. 12)

The Wind Knows My Name: In the latest novel from Isabel Allende, a 6-year-old boy in 1938 escapes Nazi-occupied Austria and comes to the United States with nothing but clothes and a violin. In 2019 Arizona, his life comes together in a surprising way with Anita Diaz, a blind 7-year-old girl who escapes El Salvador to seek refuge in the U.S. (Ballantine Books)

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