Although young readers will not already know the names of these women nor the significance of their achievements in flying...

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AIM FOR THE SKIES

JERRIE MOCK AND JOAN MERRIAM SMITH'S RACE TO COMPLETE AMELIA EARHART'S QUEST

Another picture-book biography of women pilots who made aviation records lines up on the runway.

At 7, Jerrie Mock declared she was going to be a pilot and fly the skies. And she did. Joan Merriam Smith was inspired by a plane ride at age 15. Both young white women had the same idol and same goal: to follow Amelia Earhart’s route to fly around the world. Unbeknownst to each other, they each spent months eagerly making flight plans and studying weather reports. But weeks before their takeoffs, coincidentally scheduled on the same day, their plans almost crashed. News broke that two women had decided to fly around the world at the same time! What should they do? Turn the event into a race, of course. Numerous obstacles had to be overcome, but at the end, it was Jerrie who won the race. The straightforward narrative highlights the passion and determination of these two unknown women who broke barriers and achieved their dreams. Tidbits, such as the fact that each had a good-luck charm, add human interest. Softly colored illustrations realistically paint the scenes, but the pastel palette seems too demure for profiling these two gutsy women.

Although young readers will not already know the names of these women nor the significance of their achievements in flying history, this visual chronicle can serve as an introduction to the era. (author’s note, maps, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58536-381-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Phoned-in illustrations keep this quick overview firmly planted on the launch pad.

THE BIG BEYOND

THE STORY OF SPACE TRAVEL

A capsule history of space exploration, from early stargazing to probes roaming the surface of Mars.

In loosely rhymed couplets Carter’s high-speed account zooms past the inventions of constellations, telescopes, and flying machines to the launches of Sputnik I, the “Saturn Five” (spelled out, probably, to facilitate the rhyme) that put men on the moon, and later probes. He caps it all with an enticing suggestion: “We’ll need an astronaut (or two)— / so what do you think? Could it be YOU?” Cushley lines up a notably diverse array of prospective young space travelers for this finish, but anachronistic earlier views of a dark-skinned astronaut floating in orbit opposite poetic references to the dogs, cats, and other animals sent into space in the 1950s and a model of the space shuttle on a shelf next to a line of viewers watching the televised moon landing in 1969 show no great regard for verisimilitude. Also, his full-page opening picture of the Challenger, its ports painted to look like a smiley face, just moments before it blew up is a decidedly odd choice to illustrate the poem’s opening countdown. As with his cosmological lyric Once upon a Star (2018, illustrated by Mar Hernández), the poet closes with a page of further facts arranged as an acrostic.

Phoned-in illustrations keep this quick overview firmly planted on the launch pad. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68010-147-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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Timely and stirring.

ENOUGH!

20 PROTESTERS WHO CHANGED AMERICA

A shoutout to heroes of nonviolent protest, from Sam Adams to the Parkland students.

Kicking off a proud tradition, “Samuel threw a tea party.” In the same vein, “Harriet led the way,” “Susan cast her vote,” “Rosa kept her seat,” “Ruby went to school,” and “Martin had a dream.” But Easton adds both newer and less-prominent names to the familiar roster: “Tommie and John raised their fists” (at the 1968 Summer Olympics, also depicted on the cover), for instance; “John and Yoko stayed in bed”; “Gilbert sewed a rainbow” (for San Francisco’s Gay Freedom Day parade in 1978); “Jazz wore a dress”; and “America [Ferrera] said, ‘Time’s up.’ ” Viewed from low or elevated angles that give them a monumental look, the grave, determined faces of the chosen subjects shine with lapidary dignity in Chen’s painted, close-up portraits. Variations in features and skin tone are rather subtle, but in general both the main lineup and groups of onlookers are visibly diverse. The closing notes are particularly valuable—not only filling in the context and circumstances of each act of protest (and the full names of the protesters), but laying out its personal consequences: Rosa Parks and her husband lost their jobs, as did Ruby Bridges’ first-grade teacher, and Tommie Smith and John Carlos were banned for life from Olympic competition. Pull quotes in both the art and the endnotes add further insight and inspiration.

Timely and stirring. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-984831-97-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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