A much-needed, thoughtful updating of Bible stories about women that functions as both storytelling experience and classic...

Two award-winning children’s-book authors team up for a more modern, feminist take on stories of girls and women in the Hebrew Bible.

In biblical times, wells were the centers of social life for teenage girls—where future husbands and thirsty animals might appear and news and gossip are traded. Via 14 stories that range from Eve, the first woman and mother, to Esther, who becomes savior and queen of her people, readers learn about these and other complicated subjects including marriage, motherhood, infertility, widowhood, and inheritance as well as female roles and experiences as judge, prophet, and leader. Each chapter offers a story overview identifying female heroism, as well as annotated sidebars anticipating readers’ questions, followed by an “Imagine” segment in the character’s voice by Goldin and a poem by Yolen. The authors demystify the concept of midrash—noncanonical exploration of or commentary on a story or text—empowering readers to consider their own searching examinations of the subjects presented. Most of the commentary is from Jewish sources, but some include commonalities with other faiths, particularly Christianity and Islam. While the presentation is a little staid, this book is solid, well-researched, well-organized, and especially appropriate for young people preparing for or celebrating coming-of-age rituals.

A much-needed, thoughtful updating of Bible stories about women that functions as both storytelling experience and classic reference tome. (Religion. 10-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58089-374-9

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017



Barnard’s brave effort to cram such an immense subject into 40 pages leads to some debatable claims. He opens with a sweeping history of Muslim expansion (“Early Muslims knew they had a lot of catching up to do to equal or surpass the great civilizations that preceded and surrounded them”) and continues generalizing throughout (“Until the twentieth century, most buildings in most cities owed much of their look to Islam”). Single-topic spreads cover the development of Arabic calligraphy and the mass production of paper, revolutions in mathematics and medicine, artistic and architectural motifs, astronomy and navigation, plus the importation of new foodstuffs, ideas (e.g., marching bands, hospitals) and technology to the West. The array of street scenes, portraits, maps, still-lifes and diagrams add visual appeal but sometimes fall into irrelevancy. Labored stylistic tics stale (the Caliph’s pigeon post was “the email of the day,” the astrolabe was “the GPS device of its day,” the translation of Classical texts was “the Human Genome Project of its day”). The author winds down with a discussion of how the dismissive attitude of Renaissance “Petrarchists” led to a general loss of appreciation for Muslim culture and scholarship, then finishes abruptly with a page of adult-level “Further Reading.” Enthusiastic, yes; judicious and well-organized, not so much. (Nonfiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-84072-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2011



The chapters about Carter's early years are insightful in examining how growing up in the segregated South shaped his...

This informative biography examines how Jimmy Carter's Christian beliefs have influenced his actions and decisions throughout his life.

The chapters about Carter's early years are insightful in examining how growing up in the segregated South shaped his sensitivities to discrimination and inequality. Carter's sense of compassion and fairness was largely instilled by his mother's examples. Raum chronicles Carter's careers as naval officer, businessman and politician. Quotes from interviews and Carter's memoirs show how he relied on faith and prayer to guide decisions he made as president and throughout his life. Although his presidency is often characterized as weak, Raum notes Carter's significant achievements in championing human rights and Middle East peace, as well as his visionary energy-saving initiatives. His work as a humanitarian with the Carter Center and as advocate for Habitat for Humanity are, surprisingly, given less attention. There are odd superfluities in the text, such as the definition of "possum" in the glossary as an "informal name for opossum." Suggesting to readers that they "put into practice the teachings of Jesus Christ" to live a compassionate life like Carter's will probably put off non-Christians, but they are not the audience for this book anyway.

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-310-72756-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Review Posted Online: Aug. 9, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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