MARIE'S OCEAN

MARIE THARP MAPS THE MOUNTAINS UNDER THE SEA

A winning combination of lyric description, accessible explanation, scientific history, feminism, and accomplishment.

“I had a blank canvas to fill with extraordinary possibilities.”

Told in graphic-novel format with first-person narration, this engaging selection traces geologist Marie Tharp’s life from childhood through the loss of her mother, her development as a student and scientist, her attempts to find a job that allowed her to use her knowledge and skills, the process she used to map the ocean floor, and her excitement at discovering evidence of continental drift theory to the gradual acceptance of her groundbreaking depiction after it was initially dismissed as “girl talk.” Full of energy and excitement, the text and illustrations merge smoothly to provide depth and interest; most spreads feature paragraphs that present the general plot; they are perched atop multiple-panel sequences that allow for scientific detail, conversation, and reflection. In an inventive design choice, Tharp’s actual maps were the inspiration for the textural backgrounds featured throughout. A strong sense of both the time period and the struggles Tharp faced as a woman working in science are incorporated nicely; the pacing and format will entice both engaged and reluctant readers; and the exhilaration of a new discovery is captured with a sense of wonder that is sure to inspire children and draw attention to the world of science. The depicted cast is an all-White one. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 55.7% of actual size.)

A winning combination of lyric description, accessible explanation, scientific history, feminism, and accomplishment. (author’s note, bibliography, source notes) (Picture book/biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21473-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

I AM RUTH BADER GINSBURG

From the Ordinary People Change the World series

Quick and slick, but ably makes its case.

The distinguished jurist stands tall as a role model.

Not literally tall, of course—not only was she actually tiny but, as with all the other bobbleheaded caricatures in the “Ordinary People Change the World” series, Ginsburg, sporting huge eyeglasses on an outsize head over black judicial robes even in childhood, remains a doll-like figure in all of Eliopoulos’ cartoon scenes. It’s in the frank acknowledgment of the sexism and antisemitism she resolutely overcame as she went from reading about “real female heroes” to becoming one—and also the clear statement of how she so brilliantly applied the principle of “tikkun olam” (“repairing the world”) in her career to the notion that women and men should have the same legal rights—that her stature comes clear. For all the brevity of his profile, Meltzer spares some attention for her private life, too (“This is Marty. He loved me, and he loved my brains. So I married him!”). Other judicial activists of the past and present, all identified and including the current crop of female Supreme Court justices, line up with a diversely hued and abled group of younger followers to pay tribute in final scenes. “Fight for the things you care about,” as a typically savvy final quote has it, “but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

Quick and slick, but ably makes its case. (timeline, photos, source list, further reading) (Picture-book biography. 7-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2024

ISBN: 9780593533338

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Rocky Pond Books/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023

JUST LIKE JESSE OWENS

A pivotal moment in a child’s life, at once stirring and authentically personal.

Before growing up to become a major figure in the civil rights movement, a boy finds a role model.

Buffing up a childhood tale told by her renowned father, Young Shelton describes how young Andrew saw scary men marching in his New Orleans neighborhood (“It sounded like they were yelling ‘Hi, Hitler!’ ”). In response to his questions, his father took him to see a newsreel of Jesse Owens (“a runner who looked like me”) triumphing in the 1936 Olympics. “Racism is a sickness,” his father tells him. “We’ve got to help folks like that.” How? “Well, you can start by just being the best person you can be,” his father replies. “It’s what you do that counts.” In James’ hazy chalk pastels, Andrew joins racially diverse playmates (including a White child with an Irish accent proudly displaying the nickel he got from his aunt as a bribe to stop playing with “those Colored boys”) in tag and other games, playing catch with his dad, sitting in the midst of a cheering crowd in the local theater’s segregated balcony, and finally visualizing himself pelting down a track alongside his new hero—“head up, back straight, eyes focused,” as a thematically repeated line has it, on the finish line. An afterword by Young Shelton explains that she retold this story, told to her many times growing up, drawing from conversations with Young and from her own research; family photos are also included. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A pivotal moment in a child’s life, at once stirring and authentically personal. (illustrator’s note) (Autobiographical picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-545-55465-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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