Inspirational and informative, Atkins shows how pursuing one’s passion for science, math, or any field considered...

READ REVIEW

FINDING WONDERS

THREE GIRLS WHO CHANGED SCIENCE

The verse biographies of three pioneering women who made their marks on science.

Atkins here introduces young readers to three women who bucked convention and distinguished themselves in scientific disciplines at times in history when females were expected to engage in domestic pursuits. German-born Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717), who defied the then-accepted notion of spontaneous generation and discovered how caterpillars become butterflies, is still considered one of the foremost entomologists of her day; Brit Mary Anning (1799-1847) discovered the first ichthyosaur and was the first person known to make a living selling fossils; and Maria Mitchell (1818-89) discovered a comet in 1847 and went on to become the first woman in the United States to work as an astronomer. Though they were born in different centuries and lands, Atkins adroitly employs spare yet lyric poems to imagine the similar development of these path-breaking white women, whom she imagines taking the leads of their fathers in cultivating their curiosity and having the courage to believe that: “Discoveries are made / by those willing to say, Once we were wrong, / and ask question after question.” Atkins takes the license verse grants to “fill in what disappeared” from what remains of her subjects’ childhoods, creating captivating fictionalized portraits.

Inspirational and informative, Atkins shows how pursuing one’s passion for science, math, or any field considered nontraditional is worth the risk. (author’s note, bibliographic essay, bibliography) (Verse historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6565-6

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Uneven pacing and clunky writing undermine this examination of trauma and PTSD.

IF WE WERE GIANTS

Matthews, of the Dave Matthews Band, and co-author Smith offer a fantasy that explores the damage done by violence inflicted by one people against another.

Ten-year-old Kirra lives in an idyllic community hidden for generations inside a dormant volcano. When she and her little brother make unwise choices that help bring the violent, spindly, gray-skinned Takers to her community—with devastating results—Kirra feels responsible and leaves the volcano. Four years later, Kirra’s been adopted into a family of Tree Folk that live in the forest canopy. Though there are many Tree Folk, individual families care for their own and are politely distant from others. Kirra, suffering from (unnamed) PTSD, evades her traumatic memories by avoiding what she calls “Memory Traps,” but when the Takers arrive in the forest, she must face her trauma and attempt to make a community of the Tree Folk if they’re to survive. Although Kirra’s struggles through trauma are presented with sympathy and realistically rendered, some characters’ choices are so patently foolish they baldly read like the plot devices they are. Additionally, much preparation goes into one line of defense while other obvious factors are completely ignored, further pushing the story’s credibility. Kirra is brown skinned, as is her first family; Tree Folk appear not to be racially homogenous; and the Takers are all gray skinned.

Uneven pacing and clunky writing undermine this examination of trauma and PTSD. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4847-7871-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Middle school worries and social issues skillfully woven into a moving, hopeful, STEM-related tale.

THE EXACT LOCATION OF HOME

Following the precise coordinates of geocaching doesn’t yield the treasure Kirby Zagonski Jr. seeks: his missing father.

Geeky eighth-grader Kirby can’t understand why his mother won’t call his dad after their generous landlady dies and they’re evicted for nonpayment of rent. Though his parents have been divorced for several years and his father, a wealthy developer, has been unreliable, Kirby is sure he could help. Instead he and his mother move to the Community Hospitality Center, a place “for the poor. The unfortunate. The homeless.” Suddenly A-student Kirby doesn’t have a quiet place to do his schoolwork or even a working pencil. They share a “family room” with a mother and young son fleeing abuse. Trying to hide this from his best friends, Gianna and Ruby, is a struggle, especially as they spend after-school hours together. The girls help him look for the geocaches visited by “Senior Searcher,” a geocacher Kirby is sure is his father. There are ordinary eighth-grade complications in this contemporary friendship tale, too; Gianna just might be a girlfriend, and there’s a dance coming up. Kirby’s first-person voice is authentic, his friends believable, and the adults both sometimes helpful and sometimes unthinkingly cruel. The setting is the largely white state of Vermont, but the circumstances could be anywhere.

Middle school worries and social issues skillfully woven into a moving, hopeful, STEM-related tale. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68119-548-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more