A fascinating account of an Indiana Jones–style fossil hunter and how his discoveries have changed the way we see human...

THE SKULL IN THE ROCK

HOW A SCIENTIST, A BOY, AND GOOGLE EARTH OPENED A NEW WINDOW ON HUMAN ORIGINS

When 9-year-old Matthew Berger found a fossil, he “opened a door two million years back in time.”

“Dad, I’ve found a fossil.” His father, noted paleoanthropologist Lee Berger, figured it was just the remains of ancient antelopes. But when he got closer, he knew this “was a gift from the past so precious almost nothing like it had ever been found,” part of a nearly complete skeleton of a new species, Australopithecus sediba, that has led to a new way of viewing human evolution. Aronson weaves the story of sediba’s discovery around a brief biography of Lee Berger, plaiting in enough background about paleoanthropology to provide context. He writes the story with vigor, but he’s not just writing about science, he’s urging young readers to learn from Dr. Berger: “to train your eyes, to walk the land, to learn to see the anomaly—to make the next key discovery.” Aronson emphasizes that the science is ever evolving and that more than the specific discovery, it’s the vision and the debate that are so important and fascinating. Matthew’s discovery was important in itself, but it also opened the door for new discoveries, and it’s the spirit of scientific inquiry that Aronson imparts here.

A fascinating account of an Indiana Jones–style fossil hunter and how his discoveries have changed the way we see human evolution. ("A New View of Evolution," further reading, glossary/index, author’s note) (Nonfiction. 10 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4263-1010-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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Though not the most balanced, an enlightening look back for the queer future.

A QUEER HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

An adaptation for teens of the adult title A Queer History of the United States (2011).

Divided into thematic sections, the text filters LGBTQIA+ history through key figures in each era from the 1500s to the present. Alongside watershed moments like the 1969 Stonewall uprising and the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, the text brings to light less well-known people, places, and events: the 1625 free love colony of Merrymount, transgender Civil War hero Albert D.J. Cashier, and the 1951 founding of the Mattachine Society, to name a few. Throughout, the author and adapter take care to use accurate pronouns and avoid imposing contemporary terminology onto historical figures. In some cases, they quote primary sources to speculate about same-sex relationships while also reminding readers of past cultural differences in expressing strong affection between friends. Black-and-white illustrations or photos augment each chapter. Though it lacks the teen appeal and personable, conversational style of Sarah Prager’s Queer, There, and Everywhere (2017), this textbook-level survey contains a surprising amount of depth. However, the mention of transgender movements and activism—in particular, contemporary issues—runs on the slim side. Whereas chapters are devoted to over 30 ethnically diverse gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer figures, some trans pioneers such as Christine Jorgensen and Holly Woodlawn are reduced to short sidebars.

Though not the most balanced, an enlightening look back for the queer future. (glossary, photo credits, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8070-5612-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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With the demand for all things Hamilton still strong, this will resonate with many teen readers.

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, REVOLUTIONARY

Over 200 years after his death in a duel with former Vice President Aaron Burr, founding father Alexander Hamilton’s story is a major player in popular culture.

Brockenbrough begins her narrative with a list of the contradictions of Hamilton’s life and then sets out to describe many of them in detail. Hamilton’s wretched childhood and struggles for survival and an education set a tone that depicts him as the consummate self-made man whose flaws damaged both his political career and personal life. Hamilton’s courtship and marriage to Elizabeth Schuyler, a daughter of one of the country’s most influential families, is a key part, along with prominent figures from American history. Sometimes the intricacies of Revolutionary War strategy and Constitutional Convention maneuvering slow things down, making the pace uneven. However, tidbits about Hamilton’s role in the episode with Benedict Arnold and his close relationships with fellow soldier John Laurens and his sister-in-law Angelica Church are intriguing. The story is targeted to an older audience than Teri Kanefield’s Alexander Hamilton: The Making of America (2017), so the sex scandal that derailed Hamilton’s political career is part of the story, as is, of course, the duel that ended his life. After the epilogue, the volume includes information on 18th-century medicine, attire, and warfare among other contextualizing topics ; the volume will be illustrated with archival material (not seen).

With the demand for all things Hamilton still strong, this will resonate with many teen readers. (timeline, source notes, bibliography, index) (Biography. 12-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-12319-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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