Books by Russell Freedman

Released: Jan. 7, 2014

"As immigration continues to be a major issue in America, this introduction to the Angel Island experience is overdue and, most of all, welcome. (source notes, selected bibliography, acknowledgments, picture credits) (Nonfiction. 9-14)"
Writing with clarity, Newbery Medal winner Freedman (Becoming Ben Franklin, 2013, etc.) explores a lesser-known period in U.S. immigration history, when the San Francisco Golden Gate was anything but welcoming. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2013

"A superb addition to Freedman's previous volumes on the Revolutionary period. (timeline, source notes, picture credits, bibliography, index) (Biography. 10 & up)"
An engaging biography of the man who "snatched lightning from the sky and the scepter from tyrants." Read full book review >
THE BOSTON TEA PARTY by Russell Freedman
Released: Aug. 1, 2012

"This slim volume brings to you-are-there life a historical episode often relegated to a sidebar. (afterword, bibliographic essay, note on tea, timeline, sources, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)"
It might be said that the American Revolution began with the Boston Tea Party on December 16, 1773. Read full book review >
Released: June 19, 2012

"A marvel of history writing that makes complicated history clear and interesting. (selected bibliography, notes, picture credits) (Nonfiction. 9-14) "
Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass met only three times, but their friendship changed a nation. Read full book review >
LAFAYETTE AND THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION by Russell Freedman
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Sept. 15, 2010

Against the wishes of father, family and nation, 19-year-old Gilbert de Lafayette bought a ship, escaped France and became the youngest general in the Continental Army, a teenager leaving a young wife and a huge personal fortune to pursue military glory. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Aug. 1, 2010

Freedman once again demonstrates his incomparable mastery of presenting complex, sweeping historical subjects in an engaging, dynamic narrative. Read full book review >

WASHINGTON AT VALLEY FORGE by Russell Freedman
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Nov. 15, 2008

The turning point of the American War of Independence came when the Continental Army emerged from the "starving winter" at Valley Forge as a "tested and toughened" fighting force. Read full book review >

ADVENTURE
Released: Oct. 15, 2007

The Americas have been "discovered" over and over again since the prehistoric past. Read full book review >

THE ADVENTURES OF MARCO POLO by Russell Freedman
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Oct. 1, 2006

A gloriously designed biography of Marco Polo brings to young readers some of the excitement his Description of the World must have offered to contemporary readers upon its publication at the turn of the 14th century. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY
Released: Sept. 30, 2006

Beginning with the story of a college professor's frightening experience on a Montgomery bus, Freedman brings this oft-told story to an audience ready to move beyond the popular legend. Read full book review >

CHILDREN OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION by Russell Freedman
HISTORY
Released: Dec. 26, 2005

In this magnificent volume, superb photographs by Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Russell Lee, Arthur Rothstein, Ben Shahn and others help to tell the story of the Great Depression. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY
Released: April 19, 2004

She had played the major cities in Europe, appeared before filled-to-capacity halls throughout the US, and been welcomed at the White House, but famous contralto Marian Anderson was turned down by Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. The Daughters of the American Revolution, headquartered there, stood by their "white artists only" policy and wouldn't let her perform. Read full book review >

NONFICTION
Released: Oct. 15, 2003

The Bill of Rights is not a dusty, old document for dreary study in school, but a living document ever relevant to our lives. Read full book review >

CONFUCIUS by Russell Freedman
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Sept. 1, 2002

"His ideas were so powerful and so full of wisdom that his words are alive after twenty-five centuries, and often, he seems to be speaking directly to us." Read full book review >

FRIENDS AND SCHOOL
Released: Oct. 15, 2001

Long before there were cowboys, there were vaqueros plying their trade on the grasslands of New Spain. Read full book review >

HISTORY
Released: Oct. 1, 2000

If Freedman wrote the history textbooks, we would have many more historians. Read full book review >

Released: Aug. 23, 1999

            The best athlete of the 20th century may have been Babe Didrickson Zaharias, who appears in a vibrant biography that crushes any remaining myths about women in sports.

            Freedman (Martha Graham, 1998, etc.) makes clear that almost from Babe's birth in 1911, in an era in which women were barely accepted in sports, she displayed phenomenal athletic ability and determination to become a champion in every sport she played.  She was so consumed by sports that she played baseball with boys who were glad to have her, and went on to win two gold medals and one silver medal at the 1932 Olympics, a performance that brought her an enduring national celebrity.  Her colorful personality lights up the narrative at every turn and in every story, e.g., after fighting for the right to play golf against socialites who didn't want her, she became, arguably, the best golfer who ever lived.  Even with her natural ability Babe still trained at an almost inhuman level.  Her insistence on victory was matched by a love of life that sparkles through the book; her story, as told by Freedman and supported by a profusion of black-and-white photographs, leaves readers wondering what she could have done in a less restrictive era and who will follow in the path she blazed.  (notes, bibliography, index) (Biography.  10+)

Read full book review >
MARTHA GRAHAM by Russell Freedman
BIOGRAPHY
Released: April 20, 1998

In a biography as elegant as its subject, Freedman (Out of Darkness, 1997, etc.) delves into the life of the dance pioneer who not only revolutionized modern dance but married it with theater, music, literature, and art in a dazzling and emotional way. Read full book review >

OUT OF DARKNESS by Russell Freedman
ABC BOOKS
Released: March 17, 1997

This biography from Freedman (The Life and Death of Crazy Horse, 1996, etc.) tells the familiar, moving story of the determination of Louis Braille, who did "more than anyone in history to bring blind people into the mainstream of life." Read full book review >

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF CRAZY HORSE by Russell Freedman
BIOGRAPHY
Released: April 1, 1996

A spectacular match: Freedmans tale of the great Oglala Siouxs career is coupled with 50 black-and-white pictographs done by a tribal historian. Read full book review >

KIDS AT WORK by Russell Freedman
FRIENDS AND SCHOOL
Released: Aug. 15, 1994

Another fine photo-essay by the author of Lincoln (1987, Newbery Award) Hine (1874-1940) took up photography while teaching at NYC's Ethical Culture School and was soon photographing immigrants at Ellis Island as a teaching tool. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY
Released: Aug. 15, 1993

A timid child from a dysfunctional family, Eleanor Roosevelt became a courageous woman whose career was propelled by a series of devastating events: FDR's polio, his relationship with Lucy Mercer, his election to offices that doomed his wife to supportive roles, his death; each time, with energy, determination, and an eye for the essential, Eleanor found new outlets and broke new ground with her accomplishments. Read full book review >

AN INDIAN WINTER by Russell Freedman
FICTION
Released: April 15, 1992

In 1833, a German prince, Maximilian of Wied (1782-1867), hired the young Swiss artist Karl Bodmer (1809-93) and set out with him to study Native Americans. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY
Released: June 15, 1991

Using illuminating facts and incidents to place the story of this monumental achievement in the history of aeronautics and in the brothers' personal lives, Freedman focuses on the events that led to the first successful flight and on the Wrights' subsequent improvements on their invention. Read full book review >

FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT by Russell Freedman
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Oct. 22, 1990

"Still, this is a valuable achievement, easily the best biography of its subject available at this level."
The author of a splendid, Newbery Award-winning Lincoln (1987) uses a similar approach to smother monumental figure. Read full book review >
BUFFALO HUNT by Russell Freedman
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 15, 1988

"A worthy companion to his longer Indian Chiefs (1987)."
The winner of the 1988 Newbery Medal has produced another well-executed illustrated history, a genre that he has made his own. Read full book review >
LINCOLN by Russell Freedman
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Nov. 16, 1987

"This is a necessary purchase for all collections—and an opportunity for librarians to scrutinize earlier biographies on Lincoln that have long occupied their shelves."
Relying on the recent scholarly biographies that have argued that many famous Abraham Lincoln stories are myths, Freedman carefully introduces a more realistic portrait than is usually found in juvenile biographies. Read full book review >
INDIAN CHIEFS by Russell Freedman
FICTION
Released: April 15, 1987

"Remarkable photographs from many collections on the American West, including the Smithsonian's glowing portrait photographs of the chiefs, illustrate the times and events."
In this remarkable book, six Plains and Northwest chiefs from tribes swept by the tide of white expansion are profiled. Read full book review >
CHILDREN OF THE WILD WEST by Russell Freedman
HISTORY
Released: Oct. 17, 1983

"Accidents and disease killed far more emigrants than the Indians did"); and the endpaper photo alone—a multiethnic, multiracial crush of children in Central City, Colorado—will make the book memorable for some."
A successor of sorts to Immigrant Kids (1980)—but a less focused, more diffuse entity. Read full book review >
KILLER SNAKES by Russell Freedman
Released: Dec. 1, 1982

"The equally apt photos include a slithery tangle of Australian taipans ("the most ferocious snake in the world"), a close-enough look at a gaboon viper's fangs, and, altogether, a snappy variety of views and angles."
If such a snake"—a 37-foot anaconda—"climbed up the side of a three-story house, its head would reach the roof before its tail left the ground." Read full book review >
ANIMALS
Released: Nov. 1, 1982

"Curiosity-piquers all, with enough examples for lively reading, and enough facts and theories to launch further investigation."
The real question seems to be not whether animals can sense approaching earthquakes, but how. Read full book review >
FARM BABIES by Russell Freedman
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 15, 1982

"A routine undertaking, discerningly executed."
First comes a new-born calf, and then, more briefly, ten other "babies"—about which we learn some things that are different, and some things that are the same. Read full book review >
KILLER FISH by Russell Freedman
Released: May 1, 1982

"But then it's just as self-evident that Russell Freedman plus killer fish plus dynamite photos of all 13 biters, stingers, shockers, and grabbers add up to a fast-moving item."
The shark. . . can sniff one ounce of fish blood in a million ounces of sea water. Read full book review >
WHEN WINTER COMES by Russell Freedman
ANIMALS
Released: April 14, 1981

"With pleasant soft-pencil drawings of the different animals in snowy settings, an agreeable early nature book."
How do animals stay alive through the winter? Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 15, 1980

"And, as usual with Freedman's books, the text is considerably sharpened by an excellent selection of photos, showing both the fossils of prehistoric specimens and their contemporary counterparts."
Though he doesn't say how "the animals' bones turn to stone," Freedman explains at the outset how "scientists learn about prehistoric animals by digging up fossils." Read full book review >
IMMIGRANT KIDS by Russell Freedman
NONFICTION
Released: June 1, 1980

"Otherwise it's concise, graphic, and designed in every respect to catch and hold the reader's interest."
A nicely integrated, refreshingly un-woeful introduction to the experience of being a young urban immigrant around the turn of the century. Read full book review >
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 1980

"Spectacular photos from various sources truly illustrate the points at hand; and Freedman's direct, well-focused descriptions inform without trumped-up dramatics."
Unlike Schlein's Snake Fight, Rabbit Fight, and More (p. 29, J-79), this makes no generalizations about animal fighting and no attempt to introduce concepts or provide a theoretical framework. Read full book review >
GETTING BORN by Russell Freedman
Released: Oct. 15, 1979

Confronted straight off with the photoenlargement of brown trout eggs about to hatch ("those dark spots are the bulging eyes of baby trout"), children won't have to be prodded to turn the page to the less spectacular-looking but well laid out drawings of sperm, egg, and embryo—and on to more photos of the emerging trout. Read full book review >
HOW ANIMALS DEFEND THEIR YOUNG by Russell Freedman
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 1978

"Animal protection now "lies in our hands."
True, much of the material reshuffled here is already familiar from books on animal babies, individual animals, etc., and this is essentially a compilation of many examples of a few different methods of defending the young: hiding them (by establishing safe nurseries), emitting danger signals (pheromones, calls or cries, whatever), helping them escape (like some mammal mothers, the father stickleback fish will carry his young in his mouth), attacking (a last resort), etc. But Freedman enlivens the survey with particular, telling instances. an eight-year-old chimp died of grief after losing his mother, and other chimpanzees' adoption of younger, orphaned group members has been observed; and in Tanzania a mother rhinoceros was seen killing a lion to save her calf. Read full book review >
HOW BIRDS FLY by Russell Freedman
Released: Oct. 1, 1977

"Bjorklund's soft-focus pencil drawings are adequate for pointing up particular aspects (arm-wing bone similarities, close-up feather structure), wholly unsuited to species identification."
A systematic exposition of how birds fly. Read full book review >
Released: March 15, 1977

"Though specific differences in parental dependence are mentioned, the general procedural approach adds little to the many animal baby books available."
A collection of animal profiles, for junior behaviorists who'd like to see a beaver carrying its kitten like a stack of wood, or a sea otter roping itself to a pup with seaweed. Read full book review >
ANIMAL GAMES by Russell Freedman
Released: Oct. 15, 1976

"Tamara's graceful line drawings set the mood of benign good humor, the double-page scenes of frolicking chimps, dolphins, and beaver kits invite only passive admiration."
"These young gorillas are playing follow the leader. . . Wrestling is a popular animal game. Read full book review >
ANIMAL FATHERS by Russell Freedman
Released: April 15, 1976

"Freedman's fourteen simply written double-page profiles, each one illustrated in soft black and white, are enlightening in themselves—and, together, they'll help to balance all those on animal mothers."
The seahorse who hatches the female's eggs in his pouch is a commonly cited example of a nurturing father; it's less widely broadcast that both the Siamese fighting fish and the stickle-back famous for his male aggression also preside over their hatchlings. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 15, 1975

What happens after The First Days of Life (1974)—to a tadpole becoming a frog, a rattlesnake during his first summer, an eagle getting ready to go off on her own, and two beaver kits between their first temporary displacement for their mother's next litter and their permanent expulsion from the family lodge a year later. Read full book review >
THE FIRST DAYS OF LIFE by Russell Freedman
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 1974

A few introductory, comparative generalizations tie together these vignettes of birth and the first, hazardous days of life for a school of cod larvae, hatchling turtles, nests of herring gull and robin chicks, wolf pups, an elephant and dolphin calf, and a "baby" chimpanzee. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1972

The authors supplement lucid reports on areas of brain research — from Penfield's mapping of the cerebral cortex to Delgado's development of electrical stimulation of the brain — with intriguing speculation. Read full book review >
ANIMAL ARCHITECTS by Russell Freedman
ANIMALS
Released: May 15, 1971

"A congenial and informative tour."
Though the subject lacks the inherent conceptual interest of the author's Animal Instincts (1970) or How Animals Learn (1969), this treatment of animal homes, from air-conditioned termite cities to the huge underground Texas metropolis housing 400 million prairie dogs, is up to his high standards of clarity, relevant detail, and respect for subject and reader. Read full book review >
Released: April 15, 1970

"The authors know How Animals Learn (1969)—human animals—and they foster a sense of discovery."
Natural and experimental examples expand a word to the dimensions of a concept: instinct is first defined—"behavior that is inborn and does not have to be learned"; then its properties are refined—the term is descriptive but not fully explanatory. Read full book review >
HOW ANIMALS LEARN by Russell Freedman
Released: April 15, 1969

"As discerning as Kay's How Smart Are Animals, emphasizing learning types rather than the representative animals, and avoiding some psych class labels (generalization, discrimination), which may make this more accessible to more (and younger) readers."
Kids will learn How Animals Learn from this cogent presentation—everything from Pavlov to problem-solving, well illustrated with photographs and diagrams (even some elementary line graphs) and salted with projects for home testing. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 15, 1967

"Boys—who needn't be Scouts—will enjoy it thoroughly."
The operative word is with—you'll fetch tea for the "uppers" at Charterhouse, travel from London to wales by collapsible boat (and a few portages), go pigsticking in India, reconnoitering in Afghanistan and Zululand, draw maps in the guise of butterflies' wings as a Malta-based spy, stalk the Ashanti on the Gold Coast and the Matabele in Rhodesia, and finally withstand the siege of Mafeking that made Baden-Powell the hero of Britain. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 15, 1965

"Good point, good book."
This is an excellent biography of the Frenchman who masterminded the 19th century classics of science fiction and whose imaginative projections of submarine life and aerial conquest have become matters of fact in the mid-20th century. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 15, 1963

"An excellent addition to background books on space for this age level."
This original and well-integrated volume combines the exciting and imaginative nature of science fiction neatly with descriptions of the history/scientific backgrounds that spawned the great classics of this genre. Read full book review >