Brief biographies of two dozen African-American doctors, nurses, and healers from the earliest days of this country to the present comprise this latest in the Black Star series. Biographies are divided into four chronological sections. Particularly in the early chapters, it is interesting to note how often information is simply lost: James Durham of New Orleans, first black doctor in the United States, vanishes from history after 1802, and it is not known when or where Civil War nurse Susie King Taylor, who published an autobiography in 1902, died. The struggles of black healers to secure a medical education when so many schools were closed to them and to continue their training in segregated hospitals come across clearly in story after story. Daniel Hale Williams was the first person to perform heart surgery (in 1893—the patient lived another 50 years), and Charles Richard Drew invented the blood bank in the 1930s. Minor misspellings and a wrong definition aside (obstetrics is the branch of medicine dealing directly or indirectly with birth, not a “branch . . . that deals with children”), the text is clear; it can be coy in spots, not defining, for example, what syphilis is, nor explaining why Jocelyn Elders had to resign from the office of the Surgeon General. (index, not seen, b&w photos, chronology, notes, bibliography) (Biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-471-24650-6

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Wiley

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1999

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Wheeler offers a scrapbook-style travelogue of her seven-month stint on the world’s coldest continent. Letters to her...


            In an eye-opening companion to such works as Jennifer Armstrong’s Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World (1999) and Elizabeth Cody Kimmel’s Ice Story (p.  66) on Shackleton, readers get a contemporary look at Antarctica.

            Wheeler offers a scrapbook-style travelogue of her seven-month stint on the world’s coldest continent.  Letters to her godson, Daniel, describe a harsh environment so cold that dental fillings fall out.  Double-page spreads dotted with full-color snapshots form short chapters on the icy region, suiting up, the difficulties of everyday existence, food and drink, shelter, transportation, entertainment, and wildlife.  The last third of the volume is devoted to current scientific pursuits as well as an overview of famous expeditions to the nearly uninhabitable “bottom of the planet.”  The cheery photographs – most by the author – show her dwarfed by the Barne glacier, posing with Emperor penguins, even building an igloo.  While the chatty letters highlight personal details of the trip, boxed inserts provide background information.  Key dates in Antarctic history complete this accessible profile, ideal as entry into units on the region.  (maps, charts, diagrams, further reading, index)  (Nonfiction.  8-12)

Pub Date: July 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-87226-295-2

Page Count: 44

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1999

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Perfectly pitched to its target elementary audience, this tells the story of Sarah Keys Evans, a young woman who refused to give up her seat on a bus three years before Rosa Parks did the same.

While serving in the Women’s Army Corps in 1952, Evans took a bus to visit her family in North Carolina. At the time, discrimination on busses that crossed state lines was forbidden by law, but the bus company had its own rules. When she reached her home state, the driver demanded that she move to the back of the bus, and had her arrested when she refused. Evans filed a lawsuit against the bus company, eventually winning the case. Nathan reproduces many family photographs of Evans, clearly and concisely explaining her fight. She portrays Evans as an extremely shy young woman; because of her restrained personality, she comes across to readers with heightened courage. By weaving in photographs and Evans’s life story with her legal battle, the book will hold reader interest. Nathan strikes just the right balance of emotion and facts necessary to reach children within the context of a history lesson. As a result, this thin volume would be a good choice for elementary classrooms as part of a Civil Rights unit.

A winner. (Nonfiction. 6-12)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2006

ISBN: 978-0-595-41761-2

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2010

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