Readers with a taste for trivia and the strange-but-true aspects of geography and history will find much to enjoy.

READ REVIEW

HISTORIES AND MYSTERIES

From the Two Truths and a Lie series

With the phrase “fake news” being tossed around a great deal these days, this collection of stories in which one out of every three is a lie is both timely and entertaining.

Divided into three parts under the categories “Hazy Histories,” “Peculiar Places,” and “Perplexing People,” each chapter features three bizarre stories, two of which are true and one false. Readers must determine through research which stories are false (or flip to the back to find out). Some fake stories have a foundational basis in fact, while others are outright fabrications. Readers are challenged to determine the verity of Boilerplate, an early robot that participated in the Spanish-American War and the Boxer Rebellion in China; of Dog Island, a place off the coast of Florida where over 2,500 formerly domesticated pooches have been “rewilded”; and of the village of Nagoro, Japan, which is populated by hundreds of life-size dolls. Manipulated photographs enhance credibility, and the true stories matched with the false are strange enough to make it difficult to discern the real from the fake. Readers spurred to research which story is false are given some tips. The authors acknowledge the pitfalls of internet research and relying on Wikipedia, but a little oddly, there are no references to specific sources that debunk hoaxes and false news reports.

Readers with a taste for trivia and the strange-but-true aspects of geography and history will find much to enjoy. (photos, source notes) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: June 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-241886-9

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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Despite its not insignificant flaws, this book provides insights into the lives of important women, many of whom have...

SHE DID IT!

21 WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE WAY WE THINK

Caldecott Medalist McCully delves into the lives of extraordinary American women.

Beginning with the subject of her earlier biography Ida M. Tarbell (2014), McCully uses a chronological (by birth year) structure to organize her diverse array of subjects, each of whom is allotted approximately 10 pages. Lovely design enhances the text with a full-color portrait of each woman and small additional illustrations in the author/illustrator’s traditional style, plenty of white space, and spare use of dynamic colors. This survey provides greater depth than most, but even so, some topics go troublingly uncontextualized to the point of reinforcing stereotype: “In slavery, Black women had been punished for trying to improve their appearance. Now that they were free, many cared a great deal about grooming”; “President Roosevelt ordered all Japanese Americans on the West Coast to report to internment camps to keep them from providing aid to the enemy Japanese forces.” Of the 21 surveyed, one Japanese-American woman (Patsy Mink) is highlighted, as are one Latinx woman (Dolores Huerta), one Mohegan woman (Gladys Tantaquidgeon), three black women (Madam C.J. Walker, Ella Baker, and Shirley Chisholm), four out queer white women (Billie Jean King, Barbara Gittings, Jane Addams, and Isadora Duncan; the latter two’s sexualities are not discussed), two Jewish women (Gertrude Berg and Vera Rubin), and three women with known disabilities (Addams, Dorothea Lange, and Temple Grandin).

Despite its not insignificant flaws, this book provides insights into the lives of important women, many of whom have otherwise yet to be featured in nonfiction for young readers. (sources) (Collective biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-01991-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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An interesting, engaging collection of snapshot profiles that will encourage readers to explore further and perhaps pursue...

TRAILBLAZERS

33 WOMEN IN SCIENCE WHO CHANGED THE WORLD

With STEM now the hot trend in education and concerted efforts to encourage girls to explore scientific fields, this collective biography is most timely.

Swaby offers 33 brief profiles of some of the world’s most influential women in science, organized in loose groupings: technology and innovation, earth and stars, health and medicine, and biology. Some of the figures, such as Mary Anning, Rachel Carson, Florence Nightingale, Sally Ride, and Marie Tharp, have been written about for young readers, but most have not. Among the lesser known are Stephanie Kwolek, the American chemist who invented Kevlar; Yvonne Brill, the Canadian engineer who invented a thruster used in satellites; Elsie Widdowson, the British nutritionist who demonstrated how important fluid and salt are for the body to properly function; and Italian neuroembryologist Rita Levi-Montalcini, who made breakthrough discoveries in nerve-cell growth. Swaby emphasizes that most of these scientists had to overcome great obstacles before achieving their successes and receiving recognition due to gender-based discrimination. She also notes that people are not born brilliant scientists and that it’s through repeated observation, experimentation, and testing of ideas that important discoveries are made.

An interesting, engaging collection of snapshot profiles that will encourage readers to explore further and perhaps pursue their own scientific curiosities. (source notes, bibliography) (Collective biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-55396-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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