The author of the justly renowned What the Neighbors Thought series digs a little deeper with these equally engaging single...


From the Women Who Broke the Rules series

This brisk and pithy series kickoff highlights Sacagawea’s unique contributions to the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Joining her “clueless” French-Canadian husband and so becoming “part of one of the smartest hiring decisions in history,” 16-year-old Sacagawea not only served as translator and diplomat along the way, but proved an expert forager, cool-headed when disaster threatened, and a dedicated morale booster during four gloomy months in winter quarters. She also cast a vote for the location of those quarters, which the author points to as a significant precedent in the history of women’s suffrage. Krull closes with a look at her subject’s less-well-documented later life and the cogent observation that not all Native Americans regard her in a positive light. In Collins’ color paintings, she poses gracefully in fringed buckskins, and her calm, intelligent features shine on nearly every page. The subjects of the three co-published profiles, though depicted by different illustrators, look similarly smart and animated—and behave that way too. Having met her future husband on a “date,” Dolley Madison (illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher) goes on to be a “rock star,” for instance. Long before she becomes a Supreme Court justice with a “ginormous” work load, Sonia Sotomayor (illustrated by Angela Dominguez) is first met giving her little brother a noogie. Though Krull’s gift for artfully compressed narrative results in a misleading implication that the battle of New Orleans won the War of 1812 for the United States, and there is no mention of Forever… in her portrait of “the most banned author in America,” Judy Blume (illustrated by David Leonard), young readers will come away properly inspired by the examples of these admirable rule-breakers.

The author of the justly renowned What the Neighbors Thought series digs a little deeper with these equally engaging single volumes. (source and reading lists, indexes) (Biography. 9-11)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3799-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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Finally, an astro-memoir for kids that really gets down to the nitty-gritty.



A former space shuttle pilot and International Space Station commander recalls in unusually exacting detail what it’s like to be an astronaut.

In the same vein as his more expansive adult title How To Astronaut (2020), Virts describes and reflects on his experiences with frank and photographic precision—from riding the infamous “Vomit Comet” to what astronauts wear, eat, and get paid. He also writes vividly about what Earth looks like from near orbit: the different colors of deserts, for instance, and storms that “are so powerful that the flashes from the lightning illuminate the inside of the space station.” With an eye to younger audiences with stars in their eyes, he describes space programs of the past and near future in clear, simple language and embeds pep talks about the importance of getting a good education and ignoring nay-sayers. For readers eager to start their training early, he also tucks in the occasional preparatory “Astronaut Activity,” such as taking some (unused) household item apart…and then putting it back together. Lozano supplements the small color photos of our planet from space and astronauts at work with helpful labeled images, including two types of spacesuits and a space shuttle, as well as cartoon spot art depicting diverse figures.

Finally, an astro-memoir for kids that really gets down to the nitty-gritty. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 11, 2023

ISBN: 9781523514564

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2023

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Destined for synagogue and Hebrew school libraries but unlikely to compel young readers.



Short biographies of Jewish women and girls, selected by the author and the late Justice Ginsburg, who also penned the introduction.

Each narrative is about three to five pages long and is preceded by an attractive, stylized, full-color illustration of the subject. Six figures are biblical, one is from the ancient world, and the rest lived during the last 600 years. Their achievements vary: Several are activists or labor organizers, one is an astronaut, some are politicians, others are artists, and one is a Holocaust victim. The prose is serviceable, while the breadth of the brief collection necessitates biographies so shallow that nearly every recorded incident can be found in Wikipedia. The selection contains little diversity; of the post-ancient subjects, all but the three Sephardic subjects are Ashkenazi, and all are White according to contemporary understanding. Though text boxes following each biography indicate their relevance to the modern world, most contain platitudes, and one appropriates for its subject—Yocheved, the mother of Moses, whose sexuality is unknown—a modern tradition aimed at incorporating queer Jews into Jewish ritual. The one truly compelling aspect of this collection is the context offered for why Ginsburg found inspiration in the stories of these women and girls, which provides insight into both the late justice herself and the changing times she lived through.

Destined for synagogue and Hebrew school libraries but unlikely to compel young readers. (Biography. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-37718-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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