LETTERS TO A SOLDIER

For several months in 2008, fourth-grade students in Roslyn, Long Island, wrote letters and sent artwork to Falvey, a platoon leader with a military police detail stationed in Baghdad. The letters were chatty, supportive, thoughtful and sometimes difficult to answer; the artwork, wonderful. Falvey answered every child, and his responses were thoughtfully, clearly and respectfully worded; the personal photos he sent to the class further illuminated his comments. The slim book is handsomely designed, with children’s bright stationery and colorful artwork featured on left-hand pages and Falvey’s e-mails and photographs opposite; childish handwriting and drawings are juxtaposed with more formal type set against camouflaged backgrounds. Questions range in topic from “Why are we fighting for Iraq’s freedom?” to “Do you have any pets?” and are answered with equal care for his audience. Children and adults will come away with a better understanding of life in the military and perhaps of America’s efforts in that region. Happily, Falvey and company returned safely in June 2008, after completing numerous successful combat missions and having sustained no casualties. (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-7614-5637-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2009

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These short pieces may start young people on the search for more information about these intriguing figures.

LADIES OF LIBERTY

THE WOMEN WHO SHAPED OUR NATION

Highlighting women writers, educators, and reformers from the 18th and early 19th centuries, Roberts brings a group of women, many not so well-known, into focus and provides a new perspective on the early history of the United States in this picture-book version of her adult book of the same title (2008).

The women include Lucy Terry Prince, a persuasive speaker who created the first poem (an oral piece not written down for over 100 years after its creation) by an African-American; Elizabeth Bayley Seton, the first American-born saint and the founder of Catholic institutions including schools, hospitals, and orphanages; and Rebecca Gratz, a young philanthropist who started many organizations to help the Jewish community in Philadelphia. The author usually uses some quotes from primary-source materials and enlivens her text with descriptive events, such as Meriweather Lewis’ citation of Sacagawea’s “equal fortitude” with the males of the exploration party during a storm, saving many supplies when their boat capsized. The sepia-hued pen-and-ink drawings are inspired by the letters of the era, and the soft watercolor portraits of the women and the paintings that reveal more of their stories are traditional in feeling. In her introduction, the author emphasizes the importance of historical materials, such as letters, organizational records, journals, and books written at the time. Despite this, there is no bibliography or other means of sourcing quoted material.

These short pieces may start young people on the search for more information about these intriguing figures. (Informational picture book. 8-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-078005-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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WOMEN DAREDEVILS

THRILLS, CHILLS, AND FRILLS

At a time when women were expected to be domestic angels, this spunky history tracks a handful of female risk-takers who dared to do what they loved despite the danger. Cummins profiles 14 women ranging in age from 15 to 63 who, between 1880 and 1929, performed death-defying acts guaranteed to generate thrills and chills and to challenge myths about the proper place of women. Rosa Richter performed as a human cannonball; Annie Taylor survived Niagara Falls in a wooden barrel; Mlle. D’Zizi and Gertrude Breton flew through space on their bicycles; and blindfolded May Wirth perfected a double backward somersault from one galloping horse to another. Mable Stark won raves as a tiger tamer. Gladys Roy and Gladys Ingle danced on biplane wings. Sonora Carver dove 60 feet into a water tank on the back of a horse. Cummins tells the stories of these and other female daredevils with panache, sensitive to their roles as the “extreme sport” reality-show stars of the day. Harness’s action-packed illustrations show each female daredevil performing in period costume and setting. Kudos for bringing to light this hidden slice of female history. (introduction, chronology, sources) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-525-47948-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2007

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