The book’s tonal missteps make it an unnecessary addition to an already crowded field.

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TEEN TRAILBLAZERS

30 FEARLESS GIRLS WHO CHANGED THE WORLD BEFORE THEY WERE 20

This latest addition to the rapidly expanding genre of compilations of biographies of pioneering women focuses on extraordinary teens.

Beginning with Cleopatra in 69 B.C.E. and concluding with 21st-century heroes such as Emma González, readers learn about young women who accomplished extraordinary things as teenagers. Each brief biography is accompanied by appealing full-color illustrations, including a portrait of the subject and inspirational quotes. The book also includes ideas for becoming involved in community activism. While 12 profiles feature nonwhite women, only three are from the global south (Cleopatra, Frida Kahlo, and Malala Yousafzai), thus erasing important historical context for Western readers. The section on African-American poet Phillis Wheatley calls her emancipation a “pleasant surprise” handed to her by a benevolent slave owner. Sacagawea, the Shoshone girl who guided Lewis and Clark on their expedition, is called out for representing “the interests of the U.S. government,” but there is no mention that this same government decimated her people. Particularly unfortunate is the use of an insensitive quote from Lewis’ journal about this likely traumatized young woman—kidnapped at 12 and married to a white man who won her through gambling—to praise her resilience: “ ‘If she has enough to eat and a few trinkets to wear, we believe she would be contented anywhere.’ Which is to say, Sacagawea rolled with the punches.”

The book’s tonal missteps make it an unnecessary addition to an already crowded field. (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-20020-4

Page Count: 128

Publisher: St. Martin's Press / Castle Point Books

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist.

MAYA LIN

THINKING WITH HER HANDS

One of the world’s most celebrated creators of civic architecture is profiled in this accessible, engaging biography.

Similar in style and format to her Everybody Paints!: The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family (2014) and Wideness and Wonder: The Life and Art of Georgia O’Keeffe (2011), Rubin’s well-researched profile examines the career, creative processes, and career milestones of Maya Lin. Rubin discusses at length Lin’s most famous achievement, designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Chinese-American Lin was a reserved college student who entered and won the competition to design and build the memorial. Her youth and ethnicity were subjects of great controversy, and Rubin discusses how Lin fought to ensure her vision of the memorial remained intact. Other notable works by Lin, including the Civil Rights Memorial for the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, a library and chapel for the Children’s Defense Fund, the Museum of Chinese in America, and the outdoor Wave Field project are examined but not in as much depth as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Attractively designed, the book is illustrated extensively with color photos and drawings.

An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist. (bibliography, source notes, index) (Biography. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0837-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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A touching portrait of a remarkable celebrity influencer who used her exposure to inspire herself and others.

ALWAYS SMILE

CARLEY ALLISON'S SECRETS FOR LAUGHING, LOVING AND LIVING

When the late Canadian figure skater and singer/songwriter Carley Allison, was diagnosed with a rare and deadly cancer at 17, she shared her difficult journey through treatment.

This authorized biography draws from Carley’s blog, text messages, photos on social media, and interviews with family and friends. All testify to Carley’s popularity, upbeat personality, athleticism, competitive drive, and generosity throughout her brief life. She set and met tough goals for herself through surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation. Medical intervention exhausted, she tried residential treatment at an alternative Florida institute claiming cancer cures via a raw, vegan diet. Against her parents’ wishes, doctors told then-19-year-old Carley that she was dying. The timing of events isn’t always clear, and interviews are undated, but the clear intention is to inspire others to remain optimistic and positive: When an effort fails, there’s always something else to try. Contradicting that message is the equally strong portrait of someone exceptional afflicted with an exceedingly rare cancer. Carley, who was of European and Iranian descent, was supported by a loving, financially comfortable family and a loyal network of friends. It’s when the mask of cheery optimism falters that readers truly connect with Carley; then her journey becomes ours. Readers comfortable with social media will be drawn in by the large number of photographs, varied formats, and brief segments.

A touching portrait of a remarkable celebrity influencer who used her exposure to inspire herself and others. (Biography. 12-16)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0040-0

Page Count: 392

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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