From the Biographies for Young Readers series

A remarkable true story, well told.

A new generation is introduced to the fascinating history of the World War II Navajo Code Talkers.

A young, very frightened Thomas H. Begay is first seen at age 19 at Iwo Jima as he takes up his duty of sending and receiving messages in an unbreakable code based on the Navajo language. But that happens nearer the war’s end, and Landry quickly rewinds to the beginning, describing Thomas’ early life on the Navajo Nation reservation and his experiences at a government boarding school where children were severely punished for speaking Navajo. Landry then discusses the experiences of the original 29 Navajos Code Talkers, who were shocked when they were told that they must speak only in their native tongue. Their painstaking efforts resulted in an intricate code used during battles and crucial to success in the Pacific Theater in World War II. Their code was never broken. Though much too young to be in the first groups, Thomas is part of the last, viciously fought battles. Intricately detailed information and insights about the background history and unfolding events are provided within the narrative, illustrated with photos and documents. The work is exciting, accessible, and very personal. The Code Talkers are named, and their experiences—their emotions, actions, dedication, and bravery—are palpable. After the war the Code Talkers were banned from speaking about the program, but they were finally recognized in 1968, and Thomas, at 96, remains dedicated to keeping their story alive.

A remarkable true story, well told. (author’s note, photos, timeline, glossary, notes, bibliography, biographies for young readers) (Biography. 12-16)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-8214-2505-3

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Ohio Univ.

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2022



This oversized, handsome book is an excellent introduction to one of America’s great photographers and her work, which influenced generations of others who followed her craft. Rubin (Toilets, Toasters, and Telephones, 1998, etc.) covers Bourke- White’s life chronologically, from her youth, when she wanted nothing more than to be a herpetologist, through her college years, when she first took a photography class, to her subsequent struggle to find her place in a largely male-dominated profession, photojournalism. By the time she was 30, Bourke-White had made her mark, and was able to earn a handsome living as she traveled the world, not only consorting with presidents and princes, but photographing some of the planet’s most wretched places, including concentration camps. Some of her most powerful photographs illustrate the book, and also give an insight into era in which she earned her place as an artist. Rubin makes clear that Bourke-White’s reputation continues to grow, providing researchers and browsers alike with a warm, admiring glimpse of a woman and her times. (notes, bibliography, index) (Biography. 10-13)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8109-4381-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999



This entry in the Oxford Portraits series is both very good and very useful. White presents a clear biography of the Supreme Court justice who served in the Civil War, studied law, and lived long in the shadow of his famous writer father of the same name. By the time he came to the Supreme Court, he was already 60 years old, but served for three decades more. White creates a vivid portrait of this scholarly and philosophical legal thinker while including rich details of his intellectual but reserved home life and his affectionate flirtations with many women. More than that, readers will absorb a history of the development of legal education, the growth of the Supreme Court, and how law unfolds as a study and a discipline. White is especially felicitous in explaining how the elegance of Holmes’s prose occasionally obscured the legal point he was making. Quotations from Holmes’s writing and picture captions with further details add to the story, and not the least of its accomplishments is to show a man who began the greatest of his career challenges when he was already perceived of as old. Excellent. (chronology, further reading, index) (Biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 1999

ISBN: 0-19-511667-4

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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