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. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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A rewarding story, low-key despite its frank heroics.



Astronaut and physician Hilmers’ life has been one of great variety, color and faith—and even a few missteps.

It is breathtaking to read of what Hilmers has achieved since he left the small town in Iowa where he was born. From college, he becomes a naval flight officer in the Marines, goes on to gain a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, joins the corps of space shuttle astronauts, becomes a doctor and academic, then partakes in fieldwork around the globe, tending the poor and in need. Houston spools this out in Hilmers’ first-person voice in matter-of-fact fashion and with a generous helping of humility. The humility comes in part from his religiosity, which he doesn’t overplay—except, perhaps, in the last few pages—but comes in sincere-sounding, deep-running bursts: “God knew exactly what was best for me and my life. He worked it out for his purpose and glory….” But don’t sell Hilmers short when it comes to personal drive and reflectiveness; he was brought up with an ethic of hard work and curiosity, with the desire to do things well, “but not at the expense of someone else. I was competitive, yes, but only to take away the clouds of doubt in my heart and see how far I could push myself.” And it is plenty far—his energy level is exhausting to witness—despite a few sojourns down wayward paths (“I was a sinner in need of salvation”); it now finds him tangling with the spoils of suffering every day, making a difference.

A rewarding story, low-key despite its frank heroics. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-310-73613-4

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

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This mixed-format profile of the Great Soul sandwiches a concise narrative account of his life—enhanced by plenty of photos and sketched illustrations, plus side boxes and a spread on Hindu theology and customs—between a look at formative experiences in his early career presented in graphic panels and closing spreads of short passages from his works arranged by major themes (“Civil Disobedience,” “Love”). Urging readers to “listen to his words and consider whether some of his goals are also our own,” de Lambilly follows Gandhi from birth to assassination, focusing especially on the development of his philosophy, his methods of nonviolent protest and the relentless courage with which he took on the forces of racial, national and religious prejudice. Though the author’s fact checking could have been better—Pakistan was not “the world’s first Muslim country,” nor was her subject the “first person to use non-violence in politics”—Gandhi’s inspiring example and message is conveyed here with eloquence and simplicity in an appealingly designed package. The resource list includes works for both adults and younger audiences. (index) (Biography. 11-13)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-59270-094-3

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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