RABBLE ROUSERS

TWENTY WOMEN WHO MADE A DIFFERENCE

Beginning with Ann Lee, mother of the Shaker movement, and ending with Doris Haddock, fighting for campaign finance reform, Harness (The Revolutionary John Adams, p. 1693, etc.) sketches in words and pictures 20 women who “dared to try to change the world.” She includes those one would hope are familiar to children—Eleanor Roosevelt, Sojourner Truth—but also includes several who are less well-known, like Mother Jones of the labor movement and Margaret Sanger. She also chronicles women who have almost vanished from historical consciousness: Frances Wright, who wrote a book about America in 1821 and fought for the education of slaves and against the legal fettering of women; or Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, an Army surgeon during the Civil War who is the only woman ever awarded the Medal of Honor (although Congress did try to take it away). Each woman’s story is told in two facing pages, with a portrait, a quote, her dates, and some illustrations of her life’s work. This makes the format accessible and attractive, but does mean that information has to be shoehorned in, and there is some awkwardness of style and phrasing. Harness also includes timelines of the abolition, women’s, labor, and civil-rights movements, which give a quick overview of where these women’s lives fit into context. She closes with extremely brief suggestions of resources, places to visit, and a ten-word glossary. Useful for school reports and for expanding the knowledge base of American women’s history. (index, bibliographies, Web Resources) (Biography. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-525-47035-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2002

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A mighty portrait of poverty amid cruelty and optimism.

FREE LUNCH

Recounting his childhood experiences in sixth grade, Ogle’s memoir chronicles the punishing consequences of poverty and violence on himself and his family.

The start of middle school brings about unwanted changes in young Rex’s life. His old friendships devolve as his school friends join the football team and slowly edge him out. His new English teacher discriminates against him due to his dark skin (Rex is biracial, with a white absentee dad and a Mexican mom) and secondhand clothes, both too large and too small. Seemingly worse, his mom enrolls him in the school’s free-lunch program, much to his embarrassment. “Now everyone knows I’m nothing but trailer trash.” His painful home life proffers little sanctuary thanks to his mom, who swings from occasional caregiver to violent tyrant at the slightest provocation, and his white stepdad, an abusive racist whose aggression outrivals that of Rex’s mom. Balancing the persistent flashes of brutality, Ogle magnificently includes sprouts of hope, whether it’s the beginnings of a friendship with a “weird” schoolmate, joyful moments with his younger brother, or lessons of perseverance from Abuela. These slivers of relative levity counteract the toxic relationship between young Rex, a boy prone to heated outbursts and suppressed feelings, and his mother, a fully three-dimensional character who’s viciously thrashing against the burden of poverty. It’s a fine balance carried by the author’s outstanding, gracious writing and a clear eye for the penetrating truth.

A mighty portrait of poverty amid cruelty and optimism. (author’s note, author Q&A, discussion guide, writing guide, resources) (Memoir. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-324-00360-1

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care.

OIL

In 1977, the oil carrier Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of oil into a formerly pristine Alaskan ocean inlet, killing millions of birds, animals, and fish. Despite a cleanup, crude oil is still there.

The Winters foretold the destructive powers of the atomic bomb allusively in The Secret Project (2017), leaving the actuality to the backmatter. They make no such accommodations to young audiences in this disturbing book. From the dark front cover, on which oily blobs conceal a seabird, to the rescuer’s sad face on the back, the mother-son team emphasizes the disaster. A relatively easy-to-read and poetically heightened text introduces the situation. Oil is pumped from the Earth “all day long, all night long, / day after day, year after year” in “what had been unspoiled land, home to Native people // and thousands of caribou.” The scale of extraction is huge: There’s “a giant pipeline” leading to “enormous ships.” Then, crash. Rivers of oil gush out over three full-bleed wordless pages. Subsequent scenes show rocks, seabirds, and sea otters covered with oil. Finally, 30 years later, animals have returned to a cheerful scene. “But if you lift a rock… // oil / seeps / up.” For an adult reader, this is heartbreaking. How much more difficult might this be for an animal-loving child?

Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care. (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3077-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

more