Moving and informative; a powerful resource for Holocaust education.

A Holocaust memoir that teaches young readers by sharing one woman’s journey.

“Your mind is like a garden. Plant flowers so weeds can’t grow,” read the embroidered message in the childhood kitchen of identical twins Eva and Miriam Mozes. Even after the Mozes family was imprisoned in Auschwitz, forced to leave the embroidery and most of their other possessions behind, fierce and determined Eva carried this piece of her mama’s wisdom with her. Through the horrifying tribulations of the Holocaust, she held on to her desire for life and the strength of her love for her family, refusing to let the weeds of despair take root in her mind. Although unflinching in its treatment of the disturbing realities of the period, this work also emphasizes humanity’s prevailing capacity for goodness and hope in the face of cruelty. Davidson, who worked with Kor to get her story down in print as well as doing additional research, situates Kor’s life within a broader historical scope, detailing the social and political contexts that allowed the Nazi Party to gain power. Readers will be left not only with an understanding of the events of the Holocaust, but with insight into the long history of antisemitism and the dangers of dehumanizing language, propaganda, and unquestioning nationalism. Bright and compelling, Eva invites young readers to plant flowers of knowledge, love, and acceptance in their own minds.

Moving and informative; a powerful resource for Holocaust education. (afterword, timeline, glossary) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-46063-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021



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. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021


Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care.

In 1977, the oil carrier Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of oil into a formerly pristine Alaskan ocean inlet, killing millions of birds, animals, and fish. Despite a cleanup, crude oil is still there.

The Winters foretold the destructive powers of the atomic bomb allusively in The Secret Project (2017), leaving the actuality to the backmatter. They make no such accommodations to young audiences in this disturbing book. From the dark front cover, on which oily blobs conceal a seabird, to the rescuer’s sad face on the back, the mother-son team emphasizes the disaster. A relatively easy-to-read and poetically heightened text introduces the situation. Oil is pumped from the Earth “all day long, all night long, / day after day, year after year” in “what had been unspoiled land, home to Native people // and thousands of caribou.” The scale of extraction is huge: There’s “a giant pipeline” leading to “enormous ships.” Then, crash. Rivers of oil gush out over three full-bleed wordless pages. Subsequent scenes show rocks, seabirds, and sea otters covered with oil. Finally, 30 years later, animals have returned to a cheerful scene. “But if you lift a rock… // oil / seeps / up.” For an adult reader, this is heartbreaking. How much more difficult might this be for an animal-loving child?

Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care. (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3077-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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