Overall, the book offers an appealing introduction to the diverse nations and remarkable resilience of the original...



A comprehensive overview of the Indigenous populations of North America from 100,000 years ago until the present in just over 100 pages is an ambitious undertaking.

Happily, this one is surprisingly successful. A collaboration between Yellowhorn, a Piikani professor of First Nations Studies, and Lowinger, a white children’s author, the text engages readers through a variety of means: stories from different nations, straightforward scientific and historical information, and sections labeled “imagine,” portraying slices of life in various times and places. From captivating origin tales to mind-boggling advances in archaeological technology, there is a little something here for everyone, with stock images that complement the text. It is a pity that the final chapter on modern times was not fleshed out more, leaving out much Native political and environmental activism from the 1960s to the present day as well as continuing struggles over demeaning sports team names and mascots. The list of notable people skews heavily toward men (where are Maria Tallchief and Louise Erdrich?). Oddly, this chapter also consistently refers to Indigenous people as “they” rather than “we,” depriving young Native readers of a more intimate reading experience.

Overall, the book offers an appealing introduction to the diverse nations and remarkable resilience of the original inhabitants of this continent and is likely to inspire respect, pride, and a desire to learn more. (maps, sources, further reading, index not seen) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-55451-944-6

Page Count: 116

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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Well-intentioned, well-researched, but awkwardly written considering the caliber of the scholar and his expected scholarship.



From the Scholastic Focus series

“In your hands you are holding my book…my very first venture in writing for young readers,” Gates writes in a preface.

And readers can tell…though probably not in the way Gates and co-author Bolden may have aimed for. The book opens with a gripping scene of formerly enslaved African-Americans celebrating the Emancipation Proclamation. It proceeds to engagingly unfold the facts that led to Reconstruction and its reaction, Jim Crow, until it disrupts the flow with oddly placed facts about Gates’ family’s involvement in the war, name-dropping of other historians, and the occasional conspicuous exclamation (“Land! That’s what his people most hungered for”). Flourishes such as that last sit uneasily with the extensive quotations from secondary sources for adults, as if Gates and Bolden are not sure whether their conceptual audience is young readers or adults, an uncertainty established as early as Gates’ preface. They also too-frequently relegate the vital roles of black women, such as Harriet Tubman, to sidebars or scatter their facts throughout the book, implicitly framing the era as a struggle between African-American men and white men. In the end, this acts as a reminder to readers that, although a person may have a Ph.D. and have written successfully in some genres and media, that does not mean they can write in every one, even with the help of a veteran in the field.

Well-intentioned, well-researched, but awkwardly written considering the caliber of the scholar and his expected scholarship. (selected sources, endnotes, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 29, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-26204-9

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Scholastic Nonfiction

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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A strong reference addition to any library.



A well-designed collection of environmentally focused activism ideas that are scalable and accessible to children.

Today’s children are already on the forefront of environmental activism, increasingly aware of the dangers to planet Earth—but the problems seem so large, and they are so very small. This resource is a smartly designed catalog of ideas to make it easier for individuals to put into practice actions that can help save the planet. Divided into categories addressing topics such as plastics, clothing, food, energy, and animals, each section is filled with information and activities to help readers become more aware of wastefulness and environmental impacts. Readers will find a recipe for toothpaste, tips for a plastic-free birthday party, and instructions for starting an outdoor garden. These suggestions provide tangible ways to change mindsets about consumption. Engaging factoids lead readers to inspirational stories of children from around the world who have made a difference in areas they care about. Full-color illustrations throughout are colorful and engaging with a friendly, modern look. The book concludes with a fitting chapter on kindness, making donations, and raising awareness, making it quite possible to raise a generation of children capable of changing the world. Backmatter contains a list of the children mentioned in the book, along with contact information, as well as additional resources and organizations.

A strong reference addition to any library. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5248-6092-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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