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Will incite sympathy, not to say outrage, along with admiration for these often-underestimated birds.

Highlights from the more than 5,000-year history of the “pigeon post.”

Pigeons were the first birds to be domesticated (about 10,000 years ago) and have been used to carry messages since at least the days of ancient Egypt. Along with being uncanny navigators, they’ve been shown to be intelligent enough to distinguish between the music of Bach and Stravinsky. Wartime episodes, which will horrify readers with an interest in animal welfare, describe how these intelligent birds have been savagely mutilated by enemy gunfire. Asking readers to ponder whether pigeons were “just returning home by instinct” or if they sensed “they had a vital mission to complete,” Goldsmith presents profiles of a series of pigeon heroes. Despite injuries she describes in detail, these birds intrepidly saved lives by delivering crucial field reports or desperate appeals for help. The incidents included mostly occurred during the two World Wars and primarily in Western Europe (though there’s some coverage of Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe), and they often led to the birds’ receiving medals and other honors. The accessible text is enlivened by frequent quotations. Interesting archival photos plus frequent sidebar excursions (including some amusing trash talk aimed at U.S. troops that German soldiers sent via captured Allied pigeons) join a particularly rich set of further resources to enhance these tales of animals at war.

Will incite sympathy, not to say outrage, along with admiration for these often-underestimated birds. (glossary, source notes, bibliography, index, photo credits) (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728487083

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

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From the Pocket Change Collective series

Brief yet inspirational, this story will galvanize youth to use their voices for change.

Teen environmental activist and founder of the nonprofit Hannah4Change, Testa shares her story and the science around plastic pollution in her fight to save our planet.

Testa’s connection to and respect for nature compelled her to begin championing animal causes at the age of 10, and this desire to have an impact later propelled her to dedicate her life to fighting plastic pollution. Starting with the history of plastic and how it’s produced, Testa acknowledges the benefits of plastics for humanity but also the many ways it harms our planet. Instead of relying on recycling—which is both insufficient and ineffective—she urges readers to follow two additional R’s: “refuse” and “raise awareness.” Readers are encouraged to do their part, starting with small things like refusing to use plastic straws and water bottles and eventually working up to using their voices to influence business and policy change. In the process, she highlights other youth advocates working toward the same cause. Short chapters include personal examples, such as observations of plastic pollution in Mauritius, her maternal grandparents’ birthplace. Testa makes her case not only against plastic pollution, but also for the work she’s done, resulting in something of a college-admissions–essay tone. Nevertheless, the first-person accounts paired with science will have an impact on readers. Unfortunately, no sources are cited and the lack of backmatter is a missed opportunity.

Brief yet inspirational, this story will galvanize youth to use their voices for change. (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-22333-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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Though not the most balanced, an enlightening look back for the queer future.

An adaptation for teens of the adult title A Queer History of the United States (2011).

Divided into thematic sections, the text filters LGBTQIA+ history through key figures in each era from the 1500s to the present. Alongside watershed moments like the 1969 Stonewall uprising and the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, the text brings to light less well-known people, places, and events: the 1625 free love colony of Merrymount, transgender Civil War hero Albert D.J. Cashier, and the 1951 founding of the Mattachine Society, to name a few. Throughout, the author and adapter take care to use accurate pronouns and avoid imposing contemporary terminology onto historical figures. In some cases, they quote primary sources to speculate about same-sex relationships while also reminding readers of past cultural differences in expressing strong affection between friends. Black-and-white illustrations or photos augment each chapter. Though it lacks the teen appeal and personable, conversational style of Sarah Prager’s Queer, There, and Everywhere (2017), this textbook-level survey contains a surprising amount of depth. However, the mention of transgender movements and activism—in particular, contemporary issues—runs on the slim side. Whereas chapters are devoted to over 30 ethnically diverse gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer figures, some trans pioneers such as Christine Jorgensen and Holly Woodlawn are reduced to short sidebars.

Though not the most balanced, an enlightening look back for the queer future. (glossary, photo credits, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8070-5612-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: March 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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