An admiring but well-rounded portrait of a courageous, principled, and patriotic man unafraid to admit his faults.

READ REVIEW

JOHN MCCAIN

AN AMERICAN HERO

This informative, insightful biography of John McCain focuses on his career as a navy pilot and ordeals as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.

McCain’s rebellious and combative nature, which emerged in early childhood, inform the throughline for Perritano’s account, which is liberally laced with quotations and illustrated with stock photographs. An avid reader of history and literature, McCain was nonetheless a lackluster student, even at the U.S. Naval Academy. His insouciance carried over to his pilot training, his performance described as “mediocre, not unlike his years at the academy.” McCain became more serious about his career once he was assigned to an aircraft carrier. He received the combat assignment he desired on the USS Forrestal, taking part in the bombing campaign of North Vietnam. McCain narrowly escaped death again when an explosion on the ship ignited a deadly fire, killing 134 of his shipmates. He volunteered for duty aboard the carrier Oriskany and was shot down on a bombing run over Hanoi. Perritano’s vivid chronicle of the injured McCain’s six years of captivity and relentless torture in North Vietnam is the most compelling part of the narrative. The last sixth of the book is a perfunctory overview of McCain’s long political career, acknowledging both his successes and failures and concluding with his September 2017 diagnosis with brain cancer.

An admiring but well-rounded portrait of a courageous, principled, and patriotic man unafraid to admit his faults. (photos, source notes, index) (Biography. 10-16)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4549-3135-5

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A biography worthy of the larger-than-life Virginia Hamilton

VIRGINIA HAMILTON

AMERICA’S STORYTELLER

From the Biographies for Young Readers series

If the children you know think biographies are boring, this one will make them reconsider.

The tapestry of words Rubini weaves together brilliantly portrays the amazing, quirky, shy, frog-loving woman and extraordinary writer who was Virginia Hamilton. Since Hamilton constantly dipped into the well of her own family history for book details, Rubini wisely begins several generations back, with Hamilton’s enslaved great-grandmother Mary Cloud, who smuggled her son from Virginia to Ohio and delivered him to free relatives then disappeared. Descended from a long line of storytellers and “plain out-and-out liars,” Hamilton relied heavily on what she called Rememory, “an exquisitely textured recollection, real or imagined, which is otherwise indescribable.” Rubini traces Hamilton’s evolution from aspiring writer to becoming “the most honored author of children’s literature.” Hamilton received award after award and in 1975 became the first African-American winner of the coveted Newbery Medal. (To date, only three other African-Americans have won the Newbery.) Rubini’s biography entertains and informs in equal measure, and because she writes short paragraphs and highlights challenging words, young readers will find this a quick, accessible, and memorable read. Photographs and book covers punctuate the chapters, as do useful explanations of Hamilton’s historical context and impact. Rich backmatter will also make this a useful classroom text.

A biography worthy of the larger-than-life Virginia Hamilton . (Biography. 10-16)

Pub Date: June 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8214-2268-7

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Ohio Univ.

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Despite its not insignificant flaws, this book provides insights into the lives of important women, many of whom have...

SHE DID IT!

21 WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE WAY WE THINK

Caldecott Medalist McCully delves into the lives of extraordinary American women.

Beginning with the subject of her earlier biography Ida M. Tarbell (2014), McCully uses a chronological (by birth year) structure to organize her diverse array of subjects, each of whom is allotted approximately 10 pages. Lovely design enhances the text with a full-color portrait of each woman and small additional illustrations in the author/illustrator’s traditional style, plenty of white space, and spare use of dynamic colors. This survey provides greater depth than most, but even so, some topics go troublingly uncontextualized to the point of reinforcing stereotype: “In slavery, Black women had been punished for trying to improve their appearance. Now that they were free, many cared a great deal about grooming”; “President Roosevelt ordered all Japanese Americans on the West Coast to report to internment camps to keep them from providing aid to the enemy Japanese forces.” Of the 21 surveyed, one Japanese-American woman (Patsy Mink) is highlighted, as are one Latinx woman (Dolores Huerta), one Mohegan woman (Gladys Tantaquidgeon), three black women (Madam C.J. Walker, Ella Baker, and Shirley Chisholm), four out queer white women (Billie Jean King, Barbara Gittings, Jane Addams, and Isadora Duncan; the latter two’s sexualities are not discussed), two Jewish women (Gertrude Berg and Vera Rubin), and three women with known disabilities (Addams, Dorothea Lange, and Temple Grandin).

Despite its not insignificant flaws, this book provides insights into the lives of important women, many of whom have otherwise yet to be featured in nonfiction for young readers. (sources) (Collective biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-01991-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more