Though limited in its Western-world perspective, this is an engaging, possibly revelatory look at childhoods of the past and...

CHILDREN OF THE PAST

ARCHAEOLOGY AND THE LIVES OF KIDS

Children of the present have more in common than they may think with those who lived hundreds or even thousands of years ago.

Archaeologist Huey pieces together clues from sites in North America and Western Europe to reveal how children's lives were different and similar in five different eras. She examines finds from Western Europe in 18,000 B.C.E.; hunter-gatherers in Europe in 6,000 B.C.E.; Iroquois in North America in 1,000 C.E.; the Jamestown, Virginia, colony of the early 1600s; and free African-Americans in Fort Mose, Florida, of the mid-1700s. The artifacts Huey presents to readers include handprints and footprints, carvings, clothes, tools, and toys. They offer insight into what life was like for children in these different times and what children of all times have shared, such as family chores, playing with friends and siblings, and the drives to create and to explore the world around them. The text and accompanying color photographs also offer good insight into the work of archaeologists, such as excavating and preserving artifacts, radiocarbon dating, and methods of piecing together clues to reconstruct the past.

Though limited in its Western-world perspective, this is an engaging, possibly revelatory look at childhoods of the past and the work of archaeologists. (photos, glossary, bibliography, further information) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-1316-8

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Go adventuring with a better guide.

50 ADVENTURES IN THE 50 STATES

From the The 50 States series

Find something to do in every state in the U.S.A.!

This guide highlights a location of interest within each of the states, therefore excluding Washington, D.C., and the territories. Trivia about each location is scattered across crisply rendered landscapes that background each state’s double-page spread while diminutive, diverse characters populate the scenes. Befitting the title, one “adventure” is presented per state, such as shrimping in Louisiana’s bayous, snowshoeing in Connecticut, or celebrating the Fourth of July in Boston. While some are stereotypical gimmes (surfing in California), others have the virtue of novelty, at least for this audience, such as viewing the sandhill crane migration in Nebraska. Within this thematic unity, some details go astray, and readers may find themselves searching in vain for animals mentioned. The trivia is plentiful but may be misleading, vague, or incorrect. Information about the Native American peoples of the area is often included, but its brevity—especially regarding sacred locations—means readers are floundering without sufficient context. The same is true for many of the facts that relate directly to expansion and colonialism, such as the unexplained near extinction of bison. Describing the genealogical oral history of South Carolina’s Gullah community as “spin[ning] tales” is equally brusque and offensive. The book tries to do a lot, but it is more style than substance, which may leave readers bored, confused, slightly annoyed—or all three. (This book was reviewed digitally with 12.2-by-20.2-inch double-page spreads viewed at 80% of actual size.)

Go adventuring with a better guide. (tips on local adventuring, index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-5445-9

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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A good if limited starting guide.

THE KIDS' FAMILY TREE BOOK

Author Leavitt presents all the components of doing research into family history with easy-to-follow directions for a successful project.

The volume begins with clear definitions about genealogy and why it is important to study. It moves on to give practical tips on getting started and how to map a family tree. It introduces young readers to the important documents that can assist in gathering family facts and describes the information they provide. It gives solid directions for setting up interviews with family members and how to reach out to those who are far away. This is followed up with strategies for using online resources, including warnings on how to stay safe on social media. The work of tracing ancestors from their countries of origin can be daunting, but Leavitt gives some help in this area as well and explores the role geography can play in family stories. There is good advice for collecting oral histories, and the chapter on exploring “The Way They Were” will appeal to many, as will the concluding chapters on family reunions and keeping in touch. All of this is presented in an encouraging, upbeat tone. Sidebars, charts, illustrations, and photographs add to the accessibility. The major drawback is that it assumes a known biological lineage with heterosexual parentage; there is no mention of the unique issues adopted children and nontraditional families might have in trying to put some of the instructions into practice. A short section addresses the challenges that face African-American descendants of enslaved people.

A good if limited starting guide. (resources, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2320-6

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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