Struggles to reach the summit.

A young girl dreams of climbing mountains but must defy expectations to do so.

Having grown up in Yosemite, 11-year-old Floy now feels stifled by the classroom walls and gray skies of San Francisco, where her family was forced to move some months earlier. But all that changes when family decisions lead her back to Yosemite. Once she arrives, Floy feels more alive than ever, determined to summit Half Dome. But society’s expectations for a “young lady” in 1876 threaten that goal. Floy must either convince her father to take her along on one of his expeditions or scale it alone. Based on the life of Florence Hutchings, the first European American born in Yosemite, the story offers encouragement on its surface for children to follow their dreams. However, the premise itself—a white girl bucking conventions—limits its readership. While Floy lives fully, setting lofty goals beyond her station, Native character Sally Ann exists to serve; unlike Floy’s, her life is defined by the time “before,” and her dreams are likewise tied to tradition. Other moments prove problematic as well. Although describing Yosemite as a “sublime land” and Floy as a “pilgrim” might reflect white sentiments of the time, without clear counterbalances it reinforces the mythic principle of Manifest Destiny. And when Floy realizes that a changing world means “there will no longer be a place” for Sally Ann and her family, unacknowledged white privilege allows her to dismiss the uncomfortable feelings she experiences and avoid confronting truth.

Struggles to reach the summit. (hiking tips, author’s note) (Historical fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-930238-99-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Yosemite Conservancy

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020


The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952


An emotional, much-needed historical graphic novel.

Sandy and his family, Japanese Canadians, experience hatred and incarceration during World War II.

Sandy Saito loves baseball, and the Vancouver Asahi ballplayers are his heroes. But when they lose in the 1941 semifinals, Sandy’s dad calls it a bad omen. Sure enough, in December 1941, Japan bombs Pearl Harbor in the U.S. The Canadian government begins to ban Japanese people from certain areas, moving them to “dormitories” and setting a curfew. Sandy wants to spend time with his father, but as a doctor, his dad is busy, often sneaking out past curfew to work. One night Papa is taken to “where he [is] needed most,” and the family is forced into an internment camp. Life at the camp isn’t easy, and even with some of the Asahi players playing ball there, it just isn’t the same. Trying to understand and find joy again, Sandy struggles with his new reality and relationship with his father. Based on the true experiences of Japanese Canadians and the Vancouver Asahi team, this graphic novel is a glimpse of how their lives were affected by WWII. The end is a bit abrupt, but it’s still an inspiring and sweet look at how baseball helped them through hardship. The illustrations are all in a sepia tone, giving it an antique look and conveying the emotions and struggles. None of the illustrations of their experiences are overly graphic, making it a good introduction to this upsetting topic for middle-grade readers.

An emotional, much-needed historical graphic novel. (afterword, further resources) (Graphic historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0334-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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