A nuanced piece of history told simply and well.

WHAT WAS THE TURNING POINT OF THE CIVIL WAR?

ALFRED WAUD GOES TO GETTYSBURG

From the Who HQ Graphic Novels series

This latest in the series illustrates a small slice of the Civil War.

When Gen. Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia met Union Gen. George Meade's Army of the Potomac outside the small Pennsylvania town of Gettysburg, the bloody battle raged for several days but ended in the Union's first big victory. Crenshaw tells the story primarily from the Union point of view, with Meade as a central character and "special artist" Alfred Waud as the protagonist. Waud followed the soldiers and drew images of the battles, including what is likely the only known eyewitness depiction of Pickett's Charge. The graphic novel format works well for the story except that it's hard to distinguish the individual Union soldiers, all dressed in blue and remarkably similar. The battlefield images convey destruction and loss without graphic horror and end on a note of hope with Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Though all the soldiers at Gettysburg appear to be White, the story includes Black war journalist Thomas Morris Chester and discusses White supremacy and the spread of the deliberate false history of the Lost Cause.

A nuanced piece of history told simply and well. (timeline, bibliography) (Graphic history. 7-12)

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-22517-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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IF YOU LIVED DURING THE PLIMOTH THANKSGIVING

A measured corrective to pervasive myths about what is often referred to as the “first Thanksgiving.”

Contextualizing them within a Native perspective, Newell (Passamaquoddy) touches on the all-too-familiar elements of the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving and its origins and the history of English colonization in the territory now known as New England. In addition to the voyage and landfall of the Mayflower, readers learn about the Doctrine of Discovery that arrogated the lands of non-Christian peoples to European settlers; earlier encounters between the Indigenous peoples of the region and Europeans; and the Great Dying of 1616-1619, which emptied the village of Patuxet by 1620. Short, two- to six-page chapters alternate between the story of the English settlers and exploring the complex political makeup of the region and the culture, agriculture, and technology of the Wampanoag—all before covering the evolution of the holiday. Refreshingly, the lens Newell offers is a Native one, describing how the Wampanoag and other Native peoples received the English rather than the other way around. Key words ranging from estuary to discover are printed in boldface in the narrative and defined in a closing glossary. Nelson (a member of the Leech Lake Band of Minnesota Chippewa) contributes soft line-and-color illustrations of the proceedings. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Essential. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-72637-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Scholastic Nonfiction

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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An empowering choice.

WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT ELECTIONS

Shamir and Faulkner take readers on a trip through various moments in U.S. history as they explore the democratic process.

The text begins in 1884, when a young man rides for hours to deliver his local ballot box in the state of Nebraska. The book then jumps in nonlinear fashion from key moment to key moment, explaining its importance: Native Americans were granted citizenship in 1924 (their status as members of sovereign nations goes unmentioned); the emergency number 911 was created in 1968; George Washington was the only presidential candidate ever to run unopposed. The information is divided into general paragraphs that begin with a question and text boxes that supply trivia and provide additional context to the paragraphs. Children’s and teens’ roles are often cited, such as their participation in the civil rights movement and the lowering of the voting age from 21 to 18. The information ranges from national elections to local, expanding on what can be done on a national level and what can occur locally. Along the way, Faulkner includes a diverse mixture of citizens. A range of ethnic groups, minorities, and people of various body sizes and abilities are included, making the book visually welcoming to all readers. An early image depicting a blind woman with both guide dog and cane appears to be the only visual misstep. The backmatter includes a timeline and sources for additional reading.

An empowering choice. (Informational picture book. 7-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-3807-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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