Unvarnished but nevertheless valuable for fishing so many admirably nonconformist women from obscurity.

WOMEN WHO DARED

52 FEARLESS DAREDEVILS, ADVENTURERS, AND REBELS

A populous gallery of courageous, independent women from (fairly) recent times.

Skeers’ roster of acrobats, aviators, professional wrestlers, mountaineers, rescuers, survivors, medical workers, and intrepid travelers has a mildly antique flavor, being drawn largely from the 19th and 20th centuries (a few of the subjects are still alive, mostly in retirement). On the other hand, nearly all of her choices are likely to be unfamiliar to young readers. Arranged beneath the subtitle’s three headers (and alphabetized by first name rather than last), each gets a rubric (“Arctic Survivor,” “Bodacious Bicyclist,” “Lionhearted Librarian”), a stylized full-length portrait from Gosling with an iconographic border, and a one-page highlight-reel tribute that generally ends on an inspirational note: Sophie Blanchard, “dainty and daring” balloonist, “bested the danger and defied social norms, stereotypes, and even gravity itself to prove that women could successfully achieve their high-flying dreams.” The author doesn’t cast her net too widely, as all but 12 of these putative role models hail from the United States or Europe, and though nonwhite minorities are decently, if not strongly, represented, she is inconsistent about noting them. Also, the large bibliography is not at all user-friendly, being arranged by author rather than subject and presented in an indigestible mass of miniscule type.

Unvarnished but nevertheless valuable for fishing so many admirably nonconformist women from obscurity. (index) (Collective biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-5327-1

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats.

50 IMPRESSIVE KIDS AND THEIR AMAZING (AND TRUE!) STORIES

From the They Did What? series

Why should grown-ups get all the historical, scientific, athletic, cinematic, and artistic glory?

Choosing exemplars from both past and present, Mitchell includes but goes well beyond Alexander the Great, Anne Frank, and like usual suspects to introduce a host of lesser-known luminaries. These include Shapur II, who was formally crowned king of Persia before he was born, Indian dancer/professional architect Sheila Sri Prakash, transgender spokesperson Jazz Jennings, inventor Param Jaggi, and an international host of other teen or preteen activists and prodigies. The individual portraits range from one paragraph to several pages in length, and they are interspersed with group tributes to, for instance, the Nazi-resisting “Swingkinder,” the striking New York City newsboys, and the marchers of the Birmingham Children’s Crusade. Mitchell even offers would-be villains a role model in Elagabalus, “boy emperor of Rome,” though she notes that he, at least, came to an awful end: “Then, then! They dumped his remains in the Tiber River, to be nommed by fish for all eternity.” The entries are arranged in no evident order, and though the backmatter includes multiple booklists, a personality quiz, a glossary, and even a quick Braille primer (with Braille jokes to decode), there is no index. Still, for readers whose fires need lighting, there’s motivational kindling on nearly every page.

A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats. (finished illustrations not seen) (Collective biography. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-14-751813-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Puffin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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Despite its not insignificant flaws, this book provides insights into the lives of important women, many of whom have...

SHE DID IT!

21 WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE WAY WE THINK

Caldecott Medalist McCully delves into the lives of extraordinary American women.

Beginning with the subject of her earlier biography Ida M. Tarbell (2014), McCully uses a chronological (by birth year) structure to organize her diverse array of subjects, each of whom is allotted approximately 10 pages. Lovely design enhances the text with a full-color portrait of each woman and small additional illustrations in the author/illustrator’s traditional style, plenty of white space, and spare use of dynamic colors. This survey provides greater depth than most, but even so, some topics go troublingly uncontextualized to the point of reinforcing stereotype: “In slavery, Black women had been punished for trying to improve their appearance. Now that they were free, many cared a great deal about grooming”; “President Roosevelt ordered all Japanese Americans on the West Coast to report to internment camps to keep them from providing aid to the enemy Japanese forces.” Of the 21 surveyed, one Japanese-American woman (Patsy Mink) is highlighted, as are one Latinx woman (Dolores Huerta), one Mohegan woman (Gladys Tantaquidgeon), three black women (Madam C.J. Walker, Ella Baker, and Shirley Chisholm), four out queer white women (Billie Jean King, Barbara Gittings, Jane Addams, and Isadora Duncan; the latter two’s sexualities are not discussed), two Jewish women (Gertrude Berg and Vera Rubin), and three women with known disabilities (Addams, Dorothea Lange, and Temple Grandin).

Despite its not insignificant flaws, this book provides insights into the lives of important women, many of whom have otherwise yet to be featured in nonfiction for young readers. (sources) (Collective biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-01991-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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