GEORGE WASHINGTON

AN ILLUSTRATED BIOGRAPHY

George Washington was a “silent man of action” involved in the French and Indian War, the Continental Congress, the American Revolution, and the Constitutional Convention. This straightforward account of Washington’s life and times provides a good introduction to the causes of the break with England as well as the character of the man. Notably, primary sources are allowed to speak for themselves at times and readers are able to make their own conclusions, supported and guided by a clear text. Washington’s letters, for example, demonstrate how his opinion on slavery gradually changed over time. Letters, maps, engravings, drawings, and portraits, all carefully attributed to their sources, enliven the text. Though carefully documented, with lists of famous quotations, battles, generals, and cabinet members, 50 pages of such supporting material overload the volume, and still there’s little to guide young readers and their teachers to the wealth of good resources available. An attractive volume nonetheless—and a useful research tool for young biography fans. (chronology, Web sites, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10+)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-8234-1838-3

Page Count: 263

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2004

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A biography worthy of the larger-than-life Virginia Hamilton

VIRGINIA HAMILTON

AMERICA’S STORYTELLER

From the Biographies for Young Readers series

If the children you know think biographies are boring, this one will make them reconsider.

The tapestry of words Rubini weaves together brilliantly portrays the amazing, quirky, shy, frog-loving woman and extraordinary writer who was Virginia Hamilton. Since Hamilton constantly dipped into the well of her own family history for book details, Rubini wisely begins several generations back, with Hamilton’s enslaved great-grandmother Mary Cloud, who smuggled her son from Virginia to Ohio and delivered him to free relatives then disappeared. Descended from a long line of storytellers and “plain out-and-out liars,” Hamilton relied heavily on what she called Rememory, “an exquisitely textured recollection, real or imagined, which is otherwise indescribable.” Rubini traces Hamilton’s evolution from aspiring writer to becoming “the most honored author of children’s literature.” Hamilton received award after award and in 1975 became the first African-American winner of the coveted Newbery Medal. (To date, only three other African-Americans have won the Newbery.) Rubini’s biography entertains and informs in equal measure, and because she writes short paragraphs and highlights challenging words, young readers will find this a quick, accessible, and memorable read. Photographs and book covers punctuate the chapters, as do useful explanations of Hamilton’s historical context and impact. Rich backmatter will also make this a useful classroom text.

A biography worthy of the larger-than-life Virginia Hamilton . (Biography. 10-16)

Pub Date: June 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8214-2268-7

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Ohio Univ.

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2017

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WALT WHITMAN

A BIOGRAPHY

Walt Whitman is a rich subject for biography: a long and peripatetic life; jobs that ranged from schoolteacher to printer to Civil War hospital nurse; famed as a journalist, essayist, and above all as a poet. Veteran and much-honored writer Meltzer (Piracy and Plunder, 2001, etc.) does him justice in this readable biography. In every chapter, he places Whitman in the context of his age, from his birth in 1819 on Long Island and his move to Brooklyn, to his journeys during the Civil War, his work in Washington D.C., and his old age in Camden, New Jersey. Meltzer doesn’t stint at the complications of Whitman’s life: his stern and possibly abusive father; his own homosexuality; and his constant search for reliable income. But what he does so elegantly in this study is capture Whitman’s restless spirit and how it both reflected and contradicted the intellectual currents of his time. This is a beautifully designed volume, too, with copious photographs and the color green used to accent chapter headings, page numbers, and so on. Several of Whitman’s best-known poems are excerpted as well. A worthy tribute. (Biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7613-2272-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Millbrook

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2002

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