Written straightforwardly, it’s not the most engaging read, but it is an invaluable record of an incredible life.

ENEMY CHILD

THE STORY OF NORMAN MINETA, A BOY IMPRISONED IN A JAPANESE AMERICAN INTERNMENT CAMP DURING WORLD WAR II

An encompassing look at Norman Mineta, the first Asian-American to serve as mayor of a major American city, a Congressman, and Secretary of Commerce and Transportation under George W. Bush.

Mineta is a Nisei, a second-generation Japanese-American, born in San Jose, California. Writing efficiently with concise descriptors, Warren narrates in the third person, focusing primarily on the family and social environment of Mineta’s school-age years. Warren starts with Mineta’s father and his immigration to the U.S. for work. He wisely became fluent in English while working in the fields, later establishing his own insurance business, enabling him to give all five children great educational opportunities. Their lives are quickly disrupted by World World II. Mineta now 11, his parents, and most of his much-older siblings are sent to an assembly center in Santa Anita, California. Eventually they end up in Heart Mountain War Relocation Center, Wyoming. The experience drives Mineta to later pursue politics and to introduce the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, offering camp survivors restitution and a formal apology from the government. Warren includes anecdotes of white allies, including a chapter about Alan Simpson, a childhood acquaintance and later a political ally of Mineta in Congress. Pronunciation guides to Japanese are provided in the text. Archival photographs provide visuals, and primary-source quotes—including racial slurs—contribute historical context. No timeline is provided.

Written straightforwardly, it’s not the most engaging read, but it is an invaluable record of an incredible life. (author’s note, bibliography, index) (Biography. 10-15)

Pub Date: April 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4151-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for...

TWO MEN AND A CAR

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT, AL CAPONE, AND A CADILLAC V-8

A custom-built, bulletproof limo links two historical figures who were pre-eminent in more or less different spheres.

Garland admits that a claim that FDR was driven to Congress to deliver his “Day of Infamy” speech in a car that once belonged to Capone rests on shaky evidence. He nonetheless uses the anecdote as a launchpad for twin portraits of contemporaries who occupy unique niches in this country’s history but had little in common. Both were smart, ambitious New Yorkers and were young when their fathers died, but they definitely “headed in opposite directions.” As he fills his biographical sketches with standard-issue facts and has disappointingly little to say about the car itself (which was commissioned by Capone in 1928 and still survives), this outing seems largely intended to be a vehicle for the dark, heavy illustrations. These are done in muted hues with densely scratched surfaces and angled so that the two men, the period backgrounds against which they are posed, and the car have monumental looks. It’s a reach to bill this, as the author does, a “story about America,” but it does at least offer a study in contrasts featuring two of America’s most renowned citizens. Most of the human figures are white in the art, but some group scenes include a few with darker skin.

The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for thought. (timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-88448-620-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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A SHOT IN THE ARM!

From the Big Ideas That Changed the World series , Vol. 3

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762) narrates this entry in the Big Ideas That Changed the World series, presenting the story of the development of vaccines.

Lady Mary, an intelligent, lovely White Englishwoman, was infected with smallpox in 1715. The disease left her scarred and possibly contributed to the failure of her marriage, but not before she moved with her husband to the Ottoman Empire and learned there of what came to be called variolation. Inoculating people with an attenuated (hopefully) version of smallpox to cause a mild but immunity-producing spell of the disease was practiced by the Ottomans but remained rare in England until Lady Mary, using her own children, popularized the practice during an epidemic. This graphic novel is illustrated with engaging panels of artwork that broaden its appeal, effectively conveying aspects of the story that extend the enthralling narrative. Taking care to credit innovations in immunology outside of European borders, Brown moves through centuries of thoughtful scientific inquiry and experimentation to thoroughly explain the history of vaccines and their limitless value to the world but also delves into the discouraging story of the anti-vaccination movement. Concluding with information about the Covid-19 pandemic, the narrative easily makes the case that a vaccine for this disease fits quite naturally into eons of scientific progress. Thoroughly researched and fascinating, this effort concludes with outstanding backmatter for a rich, accurate examination of the critical role of vaccines.

Essential. (timeline, biographical notes, bibliography) (Graphic nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5001-4

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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