A thoughtful and attractive presentation of a complex and intriguing topic.

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WOMEN OF THE FRONTIER

16 TALES OF TRAILBLAZING HOMESTEADERS, ENTREPRENEURS, AND RABBLE-ROUSERS

From the Women of Action series

A collection of fascinating tales of women's trials and triumphs during the years of settlement in the West.

Miller has divided the book into broad topics that gather stories of women's roles in settlement of the American West. “Many a Weary Mile" describes the trip west by wagon; "Oh Give Me a Home" explores early pioneering experiences. "A Woman Can Work," "And Now the Fun Begins" and "Great Expectations for the Future" all examine the careers of women who stepped out of typical female roles of the era. "A Clash of Cultures" tells of the experiences of two young white females captured by Native Americans and two Native American women's experiences dealing with white culture. The stories strike a nice balance, profiling many different types of experiences. Each chapter begins with a broad overview of the topic and then narrows down with compelling tales of individuals. Inclusion of first-person narrative through the use of letters and diaries brings the women to life in their own voices, augmented by revealing black-and-white period photographs with very brief captions. Part of this enlightening effort is a reworking of the 1995 Buffalo Gals of the Old West, which was aimed at a somewhat younger audience. While presented as an offering for teens, this work would be equally appropriate for adults.

A thoughtful and attractive presentation of a complex and intriguing topic. (extensive bibliography and endnotes) (Nonfiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-883052-97-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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SMILE FOR THE CAMERA

This completely absorbing memoir follows the author from age 16, when she escaped from an abusive home in the late 1970s to become a model in New York City. Although Kelle ultimately succeeds, her path from squalor to security takes her through more abusive relationships, homelessness and a sensational murder trial. Kelle is one scrappy girl, though. With a few good friends and the timely kindness of strangers, she survives. This is a cautionary story to those who dream of similar runs to fame. James pulls no punches in her descriptions of the sexual and physical abuse she suffered at the hands of predatory men in the city and in flashback memories of her violent father. She describes a sexual attack and doesn’t shy away from innuendo in her characters’ dialogue. Stark in its honesty, the book propels readers forward with a sense of suspense worthy of a thriller. James bares her former adolescent soul and proudly celebrates her toughness, while owning up to her mistakes as well. Compelling and fascinating—a striking debut. (Memoir. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0623-0

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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A revealing and absorbing journey through dance classes and competitions to success.

TAKING FLIGHT

FROM WAR ORPHAN TO STAR BALLERINA

Dancing becomes a dream fulfilled.

She is born Mabinty Bangura in Sierra Leone during the Harmattan, a season of Saharan winds. Despite her vitiligo, a skin condition causing spotting, her parents love and nurture her. In 1991, civil war destroys that life, as “debil” (rebel + devil) soldiers bring destruction and the deaths of her parents. A white couple from America adopts her from an orphanage, and Mabinty, now Michaela, leaves starvation and atrocities behind—but not the nightmares. A magazine cover of a ballerina gives her a dream of dancing on stage in tutus and toe shoes, and her American family encourages that dream with classes and attendance at performances. Unfortunately, American racism also becomes part of her life in shopping malls and at ballet schools. With incredible perseverance, family support and talent, Michaela succeeds: She is now dancing with the Dutch National Ballet. She has been a media star and was one of six dancers featured in the 2012 documentary First Position. Readers will find her life story gripping whether or not they are dance fans. The dialogue is fictionalized, but the heart of the journey resonates in this mother/daughter collaboration.

A revealing and absorbing journey through dance classes and competitions to success. (Memoir. 13-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-75511-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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