Celebrates its subject’s resilience as much as her contributions to STEM and aeronautics.

WOOD, WIRE, WINGS

EMMA LILIAN TODD INVENTS AN AIRPLANE

A heroine of the skies is given her due.

In the early 20th century, Emma Lilian Todd built on the ideas of the Wright brothers and others to create an airplane that successfully flew. A person who disappeared into history after adding to the knowledge of the era, Todd is resurrected here as a role model who can provide encouragement and inspiration by virtue of her single-minded dedication and resilience. Energetic, thoughtful text punctuated by Todd’s own words and Subisak’s inventive, warmly outlined full-color illustrations follow her life from a childhood interest in the way things work—her inventor grandfather was an influence—through her subsequent work at the U.S. Patent Office to her many trials and errors in creating prototypes and eventually a working plane. The focus is on her work as an inventor rather than her personal life, and the additional obstacles she faced as a woman are acknowledged organically in context. While Emma Todd certainly contributed to the development of the airplane, what stands out in this selection is not her invention but her fascination with flight and engineering, her determination to explore her interests whether society approved or not, and her perception of failure as a challenge. Todd and those around her present white.

Celebrates its subject’s resilience as much as her contributions to STEM and aeronautics. (author’s note, timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62979-938-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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An inspirational look at one girl’s quest to make sure that all skin tones are visible and available in the classroom.

MORE THAN PEACH

A Black girl’s simple observation propels her into activism.

Woodard, who launched the More Than Peach Project—which arranges for classrooms and children in need to receive kits that include art supplies and boxes of multicultural crayons (crayons in a variety of skin tones)—relates the incident that sparked her journey. As the book begins, she is dropped off at school and notices that her family’s skin tone differs from that of her classmates. While it is clear that she is one of a few children of color at school, that difference isn’t really felt until her friends start asking for the “skin-color” crayon when they mean peach. She’s bothered that no one else seems to notice that skin comes in many colors, so she devises a unique way of bringing everyone’s attention to that fact. With support from her family and her school, she encourages her fellow classmates to rethink their language and starts an initiative to ensure that everyone’s skin tone is represented in each crayon box. Appealing, realistic artwork depicts Woodard’s experiences, while endpapers feature More Than Peach crayon boxes and childlike illustrations of kids of different ethnicities doing various activities. The story is stirring and will motivate budding activists. (This book was reviewed digitally; the review has been updated for factual accuracy.)

An inspirational look at one girl’s quest to make sure that all skin tones are visible and available in the classroom. (note from Woodard, information on Woodard’s journey into activism, instructions on starting a drive) (Picture-book biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-80927-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

1001 BEES

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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