A candid introduction to a little-known figure in Jewish American history.

JUDAH TOURO DIDN'T WANT TO BE FAMOUS

The successful business life and subsequent philanthropy of one of early America’s wealthiest and most pious Jews are recounted in a picture-book biography.

Raised by his uncle, Isaac Hays, a founder of Boston’s first bank, Judah learned much about shipping, real estate, and trade before setting off on his own at the dawn of the 19th century. A quiet, private man, Judah made his fortune in New Orleans trading New England products. After being wounded during the War of 1812, Judah began to concentrate on putting his wealth toward charitable causes. Simply drawn illustrations in muted brown, gray, and blue hues have both a childlike feel and the look of crayons or colored pencil in combination with watercolor; this results in a humble view not often seen in representations of New Orleans and appropriately reflects the story’s themes. The easy-flowing narrative tells how this son of a rabbi in a Sephardic immigrant family adhered to the Jewish tradition of giving inconspicuously, to causes both local and all over the world, hoping to avoid recognition for his good deeds. Some of these were paying for the freedom of enslaved African Americans, a few of whom are included in one illustration alongside the pale-skinned Judah. The author’s notes provide some added information about the benefactor’s family and his legacy.

A candid introduction to a little-known figure in Jewish American history. (Picture book/biography. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-4561-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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While this book and its companion appear to be meant for the lower elementary grades, these British imports will require too...

REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS

From the Children in Our World series

With this series entry, Roberts attempts to help readers understand that their peers in many parts of the world are suffering and becoming refugees because of “wars, natural disasters, and acts of terrorism.”

The book also speaks about migrants as people who “leave for a happier, healthier life, to join family members overseas, or because they don’t have enough money and need a job.” This effort aims to educate child readers, reassuring them that “most people have a safe and comfortable home to live in” and while “it can be upsetting to think about what life is like for refugees and migrants,” kids can do something to help. Some practical suggestions are provided and websites included for several aid organizations. Companion title Poverty and Hunger, by Louise Spilsbury and also illustrated by Kai, follows the same format, presenting a double-page spread with usually one to three short paragraphs on a topic. A yellow catlike animal with a black-and-white striped tail is found in every picture in both books and seems an odd unifying feature. Mixed-media illustrations in muted colors feature stylized children and adults against handsomely textured areas; they exude an empty sense of unreality in spite of racial diversity and varied landscapes. By trying too hard to make comparisons accessible, Roberts ends up trivializing some concepts. Speaking about camping and refugee camps in the same sentence is very misleading.

While this book and its companion appear to be meant for the lower elementary grades, these British imports will require too much adult intervention to be very useful. (bibliography, websites, glossary, index) (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4380-5020-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Barron's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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An outstanding contribution to the recent spate of reminders that women too helped send men to the moon.

THE SPACESUIT

HOW A SEAMSTRESS HELPED PUT MAN ON THE MOON

Who would have guessed from standard-issue histories of the space race that the spacesuits worn on the moon were largely the work of women employed by the manufacturer of Playtex bras and lines of baby wear?

Here, in a profile that laudably focuses on her subject’s unusual skills, dedicated work ethic, and uncommon attention to detail rather than her gender or family life, Donald takes Eleanor “Ellie” Foraker from childhood fascination with needle and thread to work at ILC Dover, then on to the team that created the safe, flexible A7L spacesuit—beating out firms of military designers and engineers to win a NASA competition. Though the author clearly attempts to steer clear of sexist language, she still leaves Foraker and her co-workers dubbed “seamstresses” throughout and “engineer” rather unfairly (all so designated presenting male here) defined in the glossary as “someone who designs and makes things.” Still, her descriptions of the suit’s concepts and construction are clear and specific enough to give readers a real appreciation for the technical challenges that were faced and solved. Landy gives the figures in her cleanly drawn illustrations individual features along with period hair and clothing, varying skin tones so that though most are white, at least two are women of color.

An outstanding contribution to the recent spate of reminders that women too helped send men to the moon. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-84886-415-3

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Maverick Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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