Staid but timely, valuable as a gateway to further study.

FREE FOR YOU AND ME

WHAT OUR FIRST AMENDMENT MEANS

A simple explanation of the rights laid out in the First Amendment, with examples historical and otherwise showing them in operation.

Mihaly, an experienced lawyer and author of a nonfiction series on human rights, restates each constitutional right in plodding but easy-to-understand verse (“Freedom of assembly / means Americans can show— / with marches and with rallies— / what they want the world to know”), with each right allotted one to three double-page spreads. Dramatized tableaux with speech bubbles provide interpretation or context. George Washington responds to a Jewish questioner concerned about freedom of religion; readers meet Congressman Matthew Lyon, who was arrested in 1798 for bad-mouthing President John Adams (and reelected from jail); a fictive group of schoolchildren peaceably gathers to protest the planned closing of a local playground. In the interest of keeping it simple, she does veer into some gray areas; most notably, in an exchange between two children that consists entirely of “You can’t say that!” “Yes I can! It’s a FREE COUNTRY!” she implicitly leaves room for unprotected libel and hate speech. A prose closing section provides further information. Most of Montoya’s carefully individualized human figures are or look like children, even the historical ones, and she includes some characters with visible disabilities and people in religious dress in her racially diverse cast.

Staid but timely, valuable as a gateway to further study. (resource lists) (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8075-2441-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Go adventuring with a better guide.

50 ADVENTURES IN THE 50 STATES

From the The 50 States series

Find something to do in every state in the U.S.A.!

This guide highlights a location of interest within each of the states, therefore excluding Washington, D.C., and the territories. Trivia about each location is scattered across crisply rendered landscapes that background each state’s double-page spread while diminutive, diverse characters populate the scenes. Befitting the title, one “adventure” is presented per state, such as shrimping in Louisiana’s bayous, snowshoeing in Connecticut, or celebrating the Fourth of July in Boston. While some are stereotypical gimmes (surfing in California), others have the virtue of novelty, at least for this audience, such as viewing the sandhill crane migration in Nebraska. Within this thematic unity, some details go astray, and readers may find themselves searching in vain for animals mentioned. The trivia is plentiful but may be misleading, vague, or incorrect. Information about the Native American peoples of the area is often included, but its brevity—especially regarding sacred locations—means readers are floundering without sufficient context. The same is true for many of the facts that relate directly to expansion and colonialism, such as the unexplained near extinction of bison. Describing the genealogical oral history of South Carolina’s Gullah community as “spin[ning] tales” is equally brusque and offensive. The book tries to do a lot, but it is more style than substance, which may leave readers bored, confused, slightly annoyed—or all three. (This book was reviewed digitally with 12.2-by-20.2-inch double-page spreads viewed at 80% of actual size.)

Go adventuring with a better guide. (tips on local adventuring, index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-5445-9

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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What makes one person step into danger to help others? A question worthy of discussion, with this title as an admirable...

THE BRAVE CYCLIST

THE TRUE STORY OF A HOLOCAUST HERO

An extraordinary athlete was also an extraordinary hero.

Gino Bartali grew up in Florence, Italy, loving everything about riding bicycles. After years of studying them and years of endurance training, he won the 1938 Tour de France. His triumph was muted by the outbreak of World War II, during which Mussolini followed Hitler in the establishment of anti-Jewish laws. In the middle years of the conflict, Bartali was enlisted by a cardinal of the Italian church to help Jews by becoming a document courier. His skill as a cyclist and his fame helped him elude capture until 1944. When the war ended, he kept his clandestine efforts private and went on to win another Tour de France in 1948. The author’s afterword explains why his work was unknown. Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust museum, honored him as a Righteous Among the Nations in 2013. Bartali’s is a life well worth knowing and well worthy of esteem. Fedele’s illustrations in mostly dark hues will appeal to sports fans with their action-oriented scenes. Young readers of World War II stories will gain an understanding from the somber wartime pages.

What makes one person step into danger to help others? A question worthy of discussion, with this title as an admirable springboard. (photograph, select bibliography, source notes) (Picture book/biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68446-063-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Capstone Editions

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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