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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IF YOU LIVED DURING THE PLIMOTH THANKSGIVING

A measured corrective to pervasive myths about what is often referred to as the “first Thanksgiving.”

Contextualizing them within a Native perspective, Newell (Passamaquoddy) touches on the all-too-familiar elements of the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving and its origins and the history of English colonization in the territory now known as New England. In addition to the voyage and landfall of the Mayflower, readers learn about the Doctrine of Discovery that arrogated the lands of non-Christian peoples to European settlers; earlier encounters between the Indigenous peoples of the region and Europeans; and the Great Dying of 1616-1619, which emptied the village of Patuxet by 1620. Short, two- to six-page chapters alternate between the story of the English settlers and exploring the complex political makeup of the region and the culture, agriculture, and technology of the Wampanoag—all before covering the evolution of the holiday. Refreshingly, the lens Newell offers is a Native one, describing how the Wampanoag and other Native peoples received the English rather than the other way around. Key words ranging from estuary to discover are printed in boldface in the narrative and defined in a closing glossary. Nelson (a member of the Leech Lake Band of Minnesota Chippewa) contributes soft line-and-color illustrations of the proceedings. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Essential. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-72637-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Scholastic Nonfiction

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care.

OIL

In 1977, the oil carrier Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of oil into a formerly pristine Alaskan ocean inlet, killing millions of birds, animals, and fish. Despite a cleanup, crude oil is still there.

The Winters foretold the destructive powers of the atomic bomb allusively in The Secret Project (2017), leaving the actuality to the backmatter. They make no such accommodations to young audiences in this disturbing book. From the dark front cover, on which oily blobs conceal a seabird, to the rescuer’s sad face on the back, the mother-son team emphasizes the disaster. A relatively easy-to-read and poetically heightened text introduces the situation. Oil is pumped from the Earth “all day long, all night long, / day after day, year after year” in “what had been unspoiled land, home to Native people // and thousands of caribou.” The scale of extraction is huge: There’s “a giant pipeline” leading to “enormous ships.” Then, crash. Rivers of oil gush out over three full-bleed wordless pages. Subsequent scenes show rocks, seabirds, and sea otters covered with oil. Finally, 30 years later, animals have returned to a cheerful scene. “But if you lift a rock… // oil / seeps / up.” For an adult reader, this is heartbreaking. How much more difficult might this be for an animal-loving child?

Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care. (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3077-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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