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

MARIE'S OCEAN

MARIE THARP MAPS THE MOUNTAINS UNDER THE SEA

“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 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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

JUST LIKE JESSE OWENS

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 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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What makes one person step into danger to help others? A question worthy of discussion, with this title as an admirable...

THE BRAVE CYCLIST

THE TRUE STORY OF A HOLOCAUST HERO

An extraordinary athlete was also an extraordinary hero.

Gino Bartali grew up in Florence, Italy, loving everything about riding bicycles. After years of studying them and years of endurance training, he won the 1938 Tour de France. His triumph was muted by the outbreak of World War II, during which Mussolini followed Hitler in the establishment of anti-Jewish laws. In the middle years of the conflict, Bartali was enlisted by a cardinal of the Italian church to help Jews by becoming a document courier. His skill as a cyclist and his fame helped him elude capture until 1944. When the war ended, he kept his clandestine efforts private and went on to win another Tour de France in 1948. The author’s afterword explains why his work was unknown. Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust museum, honored him as a Righteous Among the Nations in 2013. Bartali’s is a life well worth knowing and well worthy of esteem. Fedele’s illustrations in mostly dark hues will appeal to sports fans with their action-oriented scenes. Young readers of World War II stories will gain an understanding from the somber wartime pages.

What makes one person step into danger to help others? A question worthy of discussion, with this title as an admirable springboard. (photograph, select bibliography, source notes) (Picture book/biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68446-063-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Capstone Editions

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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