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A classic case study of crowd-sourced science in action.

How the mysterious migration patterns of monarch butterflies were mapped from Canada to Mexico by scientists and volunteers.

“By the time he was eight, Fred Urquhart was a bug man.” Though Urquhart’s work has been well documented for young audiences, most recently in Meeg Pincus’ Winged Wonders (2020, illustrated by Yas Imamura), this brisk and lively account of his decadeslong search focuses on the role played by thousands of “amateur scientists,” particularly schoolchildren, of three countries in finally tracking the butterflies to their winter quarters in mountains west of Mexico City. Rosenstock fills in details about the monarch’s life cycle over several appendixes, noting both the worrisome fact that migratory populations have declined in numbers some 80% over the past 20 years and that we still don’t know just how the insects find their way over such a distance. Along with butterfly-strewn representations of Urquhart and his wife, Norah, both White, and groups of volunteers that are diverse in both race and age, Meza, who was born in Michoacán, Mexico, where the monarchs have special significance, especially to the Purépecha and Mazahua people, adds an afterword in which she describes visiting Michoacán and meeting the community that is collectively caring for butterflies through sanctuaries. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A classic case study of crowd-sourced science in action. (map, source list) (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-984829-56-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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An in-depth and visually pleasing look at one of the most fundamental forces in the universe.

An introduction to gravity.

The book opens with the most iconic demonstration of gravity, an apple falling. Throughout, Herz tackles both huge concepts—how gravity compresses atoms to form stars and how black holes pull all kinds of matter toward them—and more concrete ones: how gravity allows you to jump up and then come back down to the ground. Gravity narrates in spare yet lyrical verse, explaining how it creates planets and compresses atoms and comparing itself to a hug. “My embrace is tight enough that you don’t float like a balloon, but loose enough that you can run and leap and play.” Gravity personifies itself at times: “I am stubborn—the bigger things are, the harder I pull.” Beautiful illustrations depict swirling planets and black holes alongside racially diverse children playing, running, and jumping, all thanks to gravity. Thorough backmatter discusses how Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity and explains Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. While at times Herz’s explanations may be a bit too technical for some readers, burgeoning scientists will be drawn in.

An in-depth and visually pleasing look at one of the most fundamental forces in the universe. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 15, 2024

ISBN: 9781668936849

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2024

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A pivotal moment in a child’s life, at once stirring and authentically personal.

Before growing up to become a major figure in the civil rights movement, a boy finds a role model.

Buffing up a childhood tale told by her renowned father, Young Shelton describes how young Andrew saw scary men marching in his New Orleans neighborhood (“It sounded like they were yelling ‘Hi, Hitler!’ ”). In response to his questions, his father took him to see a newsreel of Jesse Owens (“a runner who looked like me”) triumphing in the 1936 Olympics. “Racism is a sickness,” his father tells him. “We’ve got to help folks like that.” How? “Well, you can start by just being the best person you can be,” his father replies. “It’s what you do that counts.” In James’ hazy chalk pastels, Andrew joins racially diverse playmates (including a White child with an Irish accent proudly displaying the nickel he got from his aunt as a bribe to stop playing with “those Colored boys”) in tag and other games, playing catch with his dad, sitting in the midst of a cheering crowd in the local theater’s segregated balcony, and finally visualizing himself pelting down a track alongside his new hero—“head up, back straight, eyes focused,” as a thematically repeated line has it, on the finish line. An afterword by Young Shelton explains that she retold this story, told to her many times growing up, drawing from conversations with Young and from her own research; family photos are also included. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A pivotal moment in a child’s life, at once stirring and authentically personal. (illustrator’s note) (Autobiographical picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-545-55465-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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