Undeniably timely and representative of the necessary work ahead.



An ambitious account of the legacies of Plessy and Ferguson, before and beyond the vs.

Keith Plessy and Phoebe Ferguson, two New Orleans–based activists born in the deeply segregated city in 1957, provide an apt framework for Nathan to narrativize centuries of legislation of Black bodies. Plessy’s great-grandfather’s cousin Homer met Ferguson’s great-great-grandfather John in a courtroom in 1892, and Nathan attempts to demystify the eventual Supreme Court case that bears their surnames by explaining in plain language prior laws and legal precedents, the unique complexities of race in antebellum New Orleans, and the shifts that occured after the Civil War and Reconstruction. Minibiographies highlight Plessy forebears alongside activists of the 19th century and political leaders of the mid-20th. The wealth of easy-to-digest information will be useful to middle school researchers, but Nathan is most effective when grounded in the pair’s present-day work as friends and collaborators—despite the tumultuous link that greatly impacted their upbringings. Through the founding of the Plessy and Ferguson Foundation and historical markers placed throughout NOLA, the pair attempt to reconcile their shared history and ultimately provide Nathan’s work a hopeful, contemporary conclusion despite a good-people-on-both-sides approach to racial injustice that may be off-putting to many.

Undeniably timely and representative of the necessary work ahead. (afterword, timeline, about the Plessy and Ferguson Foundation, family trees, historical markers, resources, bibliography, sources, photo credits, index) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-58988-148-8

Page Count: 209

Publisher: Paul Dry Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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From the Ape Quartet series , Vol. 1

Congolese-American Sophie makes a harrowing trek through a war-torn jungle to protect a young bonobo.

On her way to spend the summer at the bonobo sanctuary her mother runs, 14-year-old Sophie rescues a sickly baby bonobo from a trafficker. Though her Congolese mother is not pleased Sophie paid for the ape, she is proud that Sophie works to bond with Otto, the baby. A week before Sophie's to return home to her father in Miami, her mother must take advantage
of a charter flight to relocate some apes, and she leaves Sophie with Otto and the sanctuary workers. War breaks out, and after missing a U.N. flight out, Sophie must hide herself and Otto from violent militants and starving villagers. Unable to take Otto out of the country, she decides finding her mother hundreds of miles to the north is her only choice. Schrefer jumps from his usual teen suspense to craft this well-researched tale of jungle survival set during a fictional conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Realistic characters (ape and human) deal with disturbing situations described in graphic, but never gratuitous detail. The lessons Sophie learns about her childhood home, love and what it means to be endangered will resonate with readers.

Even if some hairbreadth escapes test credulity, this is a great next read for fans of our nearest ape cousins or survival adventure. (map, author's note, author Q&A) (Adventure. 12-16)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-16576-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

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An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist.



One of the world’s most celebrated creators of civic architecture is profiled in this accessible, engaging biography.

Similar in style and format to her Everybody Paints!: The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family (2014) and Wideness and Wonder: The Life and Art of Georgia O’Keeffe (2011), Rubin’s well-researched profile examines the career, creative processes, and career milestones of Maya Lin. Rubin discusses at length Lin’s most famous achievement, designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Chinese-American Lin was a reserved college student who entered and won the competition to design and build the memorial. Her youth and ethnicity were subjects of great controversy, and Rubin discusses how Lin fought to ensure her vision of the memorial remained intact. Other notable works by Lin, including the Civil Rights Memorial for the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, a library and chapel for the Children’s Defense Fund, the Museum of Chinese in America, and the outdoor Wave Field project are examined but not in as much depth as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Attractively designed, the book is illustrated extensively with color photos and drawings.

An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist. (bibliography, source notes, index) (Biography. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0837-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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