IF YOU LIVED DURING THE PLIMOTH THANKSGIVING

Essential.

A measured corrective to pervasive myths about what is often referred to as the “first Thanksgiving.”

Contextualizing them within a Native perspective, Newell (Passamaquoddy) touches on the all-too-familiar elements of the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving and its origins and the history of English colonization in the territory now known as New England. In addition to the voyage and landfall of the Mayflower, readers learn about the Doctrine of Discovery that arrogated the lands of non-Christian peoples to European settlers; earlier encounters between the Indigenous peoples of the region and Europeans; and the Great Dying of 1616-1619, which emptied the village of Patuxet by 1620. Short, two- to six-page chapters alternate between the story of the English settlers and exploring the complex political makeup of the region and the culture, agriculture, and technology of the Wampanoag—all before covering the evolution of the holiday. Refreshingly, the lens Newell offers is a Native one, describing how the Wampanoag and other Native peoples received the English rather than the other way around. Key words ranging from estuary to discover are printed in boldface in the narrative and defined in a closing glossary. Nelson (a member of the Leech Lake Band of Minnesota Chippewa) contributes soft line-and-color illustrations of the proceedings. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Essential. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-72637-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Scholastic Nonfiction

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

OIL

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

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. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS GUIDE TO GENEALOGY

A thorough and comprehensive treatment of the subject.

This guide to the various components of researching family history provides helpful hints for young genealogists.

Interest in family research continues across ages, and this volume explores all aspects in great detail. It begins by pointing out that all humankind began in the same place—eastern Africa—and shares what scholars believe about how various groups spread throughout the world. From then on, personal genealogy is approached as a mystery to be solved, a strategy designed to engage its target audience. The recognition that there are many types of families is a critical part of the text. All kinds of threads are explored, from documentary evidence to family stories, with suggestions on how to evaluate them. Each topic is fully described. For example, in addition to addressing how to use census data, the book discusses the origins of the census and the parts that are relevant to family research. The section on DNA is brief but gives scientific perspective. Very little is left to chance, including how to store, preserve, and retrieve the accumulated data. The narrative is inviting and lively in tone, but it doesn’t shy away from potential difficulties. It is richly illustrated in full color with sidebars to provide additional information, though some pages feel too full to digest. Diversity is woven throughout the text, illustrations, sidebars, and graphics.

A thorough and comprehensive treatment of the subject. (glossary, further resources, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2983-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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