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From the Discovering History's Heroes series

A fascinating subject and good storytelling combine for a winning text.

The “Princess of the Press” gets carefully researched treatment in this narrative biography.

Born in 1862 to enslaved parents, Ida B. Wells became a teacher, a journalist, an activist, and a speaker, and her words carried far and influenced and educated many about the evils of racism. The book’s opening scene throws readers into Wells’ decision, at the age of 16, to brave travel from her grandmother’s home where she was staying back to her hometown of Holly Springs, Mississippi, to take care of her younger siblings, newly orphaned by yellow fever. As her determination to fulfill her duty to her family is illustrated in this scene, so her other character traits are illustrated throughout the book in detailed, well-written scenes: her outrage at being treated unjustly when a train conductor and bystanders forcibly removed her from a railroad car; her determination to speak the truth in the face of injustice even though it might be dangerous or alienate others, as when she publicly criticized Booker T. Washington; her stage fright when speaking to a crowd about lynching. Extensive use of Wells' diaries allows an intimate look at her feelings and experiences, and other primary sources offer humanizing peeks at her faults and quirks. Despite some abrupt transitions throughout, the text moves forward quickly and sustains interest. Potentially new vocabulary words are set off in bold and defined in a glossary.

A fascinating subject and good storytelling combine for a winning text. (glossary, endnotes, bibliography) (Biography. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2485-2

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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An introduction to ancient Egypt and the Pharaohs buried in the Valley of the Kings. The authors begin with how archaeologist Howard Carter found the tomb of King Tut, then move back 3,000 years to the time of Thutmosis I, who built the first tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Finally they describe the building of the tomb of a later Pharaoh, Ramses II. The backward-forward narration is not always easy to follow, and the authors attribute emotions to the Pharaohs without citation. For example, “Thutmosis III was furious [with Hatshepsut]. He was especially annoyed that she planned to be buried in KV 20, the tomb of her father.” Since both these people lived 3,500 years ago, speculation on who was furious or annoyed should be used with extreme caution. And the tangled intrigue of Egyptian royalty is not easily sorted out in so brief a work. Throughout, though, there are spectacular photographs of ancient Egyptian artifacts, monuments, tomb paintings, jewels, and death masks that will appeal to young viewers. The photographs of the exposed mummies of Ramses II, King Tut, and Seti I are compelling. More useful for the hauntingly beautiful photos than the text. (brief bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7922-7223-4

Page Count: 64

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2001

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How and when the Western Hemisphere, particularly North and South America, came to be populated continues to be both mysterious and controversial for scientists. Archaeologists plug away with the tools at their disposal but have “more questions than answers.” Harrison does a good job setting the issue in context. He describes the earliest efforts to identify the original inhabitants of the continents, exploring the Clovis culture, believed by many to be the first humans to reach North America. After clearly explaining how scholars decided that they were first, he then lists the arguments against this hypothesis. In the course of looking at both sides, he introduces young readers to “the strict rules of archaeology.” The author demonstrates the precise work of those attempting to understand the hidden aspects of human history and how many of these old questions are seen in the light of new technologies and discoveries. The narrative is aided by both photographs and original illustrations that imagine scenes from both the distant past and the field experiences. (glossary, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-59078-561-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2010

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