A masterful, inspiring evocation of an era.

YOU CAN FLY

THE TUSKEGEE AIRMEN

The story of the struggles and achievements of the Tuskegee Airmen is told in vivid informational poetry.

Pre–World War II efforts aimed at improving the opportunities for African-Americans in the military faced strong opposition, but flight programs such as Tuskegee’s had a strong advocate in Eleanor Roosevelt, and she convinced President Franklin D. Roosevelt to support them. The preparation was vigorous, under the direction of white officers who were also affected by the racism of the time: “For them, choosing Tuskegee / means never making general, / but making history instead.” The poems explore all aspects of the time spent in training, including the restrictions of a small Southern town as well as outside news. After the U.S. entered the war, the pilots were eventually allowed to participate and served with great distinction. Carole Boston Weatherford does a masterful job of portraying the era and the prevailing attitude among African-Americans, who believed they could overcome racism with excellence. Her skill with language provides clear voices for the trainees, and cultural specifics provide additional texture and deepen understanding of the young men. Even African-American military nurses make an appearance. The epilogue places the Tuskegee Airmen in context with other, defeated legal racial barriers. This excellent treatment is enhanced with useful backmatter: author’s note, timeline, and list of additional resources. Jeffery Boston Weatherford's scratchboard illustrations complement the text.

A masterful, inspiring evocation of an era. (Informational poetry. 9-12)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4938-0

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

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A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit...

NUMBER THE STARS

The author of the Anastasia books as well as more serious fiction (Rabble Starkey, 1987) offers her first historical fiction—a story about the escape of the Jews from Denmark in 1943.

Five years younger than Lisa in Carol Matas' Lisa's War (1989), Annemarie Johansen has, at 10, known three years of Nazi occupation. Though ever cautious and fearful of the ubiquitous soldiers, she is largely unaware of the extent of the danger around her; the Resistance kept even its participants safer by telling them as little as possible, and Annemarie has never been told that her older sister Lise died in its service. When the Germans plan to round up the Jews, the Johansens take in Annemarie's friend, Ellen Rosen, and pretend she is their daughter; later, they travel to Uncle Hendrik's house on the coast, where the Rosens and other Jews are transported by fishing boat to Sweden. Apart from Lise's offstage death, there is little violence here; like Annemarie, the reader is protected from the full implications of events—but will be caught up in the suspense and menace of several encounters with soldiers and in Annemarie's courageous run as courier on the night of the escape. The book concludes with the Jews' return, after the war, to homes well kept for them by their neighbors.

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit of riding alone in Copenhagen, but for their Jews. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1989

ISBN: 0547577095

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1989

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Though occasionally heavy-handed, this debut offers a vivid glimpse of the 1960s South through the eyes of a spirited girl...

GLORY BE

The closing of her favorite swimming pool opens 11-year-old Gloriana Hemphill’s eyes to the ugliness of racism in a small Mississippi town in 1964.

Glory can’t believe it… the Hanging Moss Community Pool is closing right before her July Fourth birthday. Not only that, she finds out the closure’s not for the claimed repairs needed, but so Negroes can’t swim there. Tensions have been building since “Freedom Workers” from the North started shaking up status quo, and Glory finds herself embroiled in it when her new, white friend from Ohio boldly drinks from the “Colored Only” fountain. The Hemphills’ African-American maid, Emma, a mother figure to Glory and her sister Jesslyn, tells her, “Don’t be worrying about what you can’t fix, Glory honey.” But Glory does, becoming an activist herself when she writes an indignant letter to the newspaper likening “hateful prejudice” to “dog doo” that makes her preacher papa proud. When she’s not saving the world, reading Nancy Drew or eating Dreamsicles, Glory shares the heartache of being the kid sister of a preoccupied teenager, friendship gone awry and the terrible cost of blabbing people’s secrets… mostly in a humorously sassy first-person voice.

Though occasionally heavy-handed, this debut offers a vivid glimpse of the 1960s South through the eyes of a spirited girl who takes a stand. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-33180-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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