Informative, engaging, and important.

Alexander chronicles how Jewish doctor Ludwig Guttmann became “the founding father of the Paralympic Games.”

In 1917, with World War I underway, Guttmann graduated from high school and became an orderly in Germany’s National Emergency Services, where he met a paralyzed coal miner with a grim prognosis: “Dead in six weeks.” For decades, paralyzed patients’ futures remained bleak. In 1939, after courageously resisting the rising Nazi regime, Guttmann—by then a neurologist—escaped to England. In 1944 he established his Spinal Injuries Center at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, where bedridden “incurables” languished. Guttmann, however, resolved to rescue them from “the human scrapheap,” developing innovative treatments and encouraging self-sufficiency. Noting that playing such sports as wheelchair archery and basketball both “brought passion and fun back into patients’ lives” and improved their health, he realized that public competitions would also show nondisabled people that patients were “more than their injuries.” Through Guttmann’s tireless advocacy, a 1948 archery competition on Stoke Mandeville’s lawn evolved into the Paralympic Games, currently the world’s third-largest sporting event. The author explores Guttmann’s career in thorough medical and historical detail; diagrams and text boxes supplement discussions of everything from the nervous system to Nazi atrocities, enabling readers to fully appreciate his efforts. Alongside archival photographs, Drummond’s color cartoon illustrations extend the straightforward text. Profiles of contemporary Paralympians provide an inspiring epilogue. Most photographed figures, including Guttmann, appear White; one contemporary athlete presents Black.

Informative, engaging, and important. (timeline, bibliography, notes, index) (Biography. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-328-58079-5

Page Count: 128

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020


Though a bit loose around the edges, a charmer nevertheless.

Tales of a fourth grade ne’er-do-well.

It seems that young Jordan is stuck in a never-ending string of bad luck. Sure, no one’s perfect (except maybe goody-two-shoes William Feranek), but Jordan can’t seem to keep his attention focused on the task at hand. Try as he may, things always go a bit sideways, much to his educators’ chagrin. But Jordan promises himself that fourth grade will be different. As the year unfolds, it does prove to be different, but in a way Jordan couldn’t possibly have predicted. This humorous memoir perfectly captures the square-peg-in-a-round-hole feeling many kids feel and effectively heightens that feeling with comic situations and a splendid villain. Jordan’s teacher, Mrs. Fisher, makes an excellent foil, and the book’s 1970s setting allows for her cruelty to go beyond anything most contemporary readers could expect. Unfortunately, the story begins to run out of steam once Mrs. Fisher exits. Recollections spiral, losing their focus and leading to a more “then this happened” and less cause-and-effect structure. The anecdotes are all amusing and Jordan is an endearing protagonist, but the book comes dangerously close to wearing out its welcome with sheer repetitiveness. Thankfully, it ends on a high note, one pleasant and hopeful enough that readers will overlook some of the shabbier qualities. Jordan is White and Jewish while there is some diversity among his classmates; Mrs. Fisher is White.

Though a bit loose around the edges, a charmer nevertheless. (Memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-64723-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020


This introduction to puberty may be particularly helpful for girls looking ahead to that stage.

A growing-up guide for preteen girls.

This puberty-navigation guide covers girls’ bodily changes, body care, health, relationships with family and friends, staying safe, and handling stress. In many cases the author, a registered nurse, has covered the same material as she did in various editions of this title as well as The Boy’s Body Book. This girls’ book skips the topics of sleep and performance-enhancement drugs in favor of a section on eating disorders. As in the boys’ book, controversial subjects are addressed generally and conservatively if at all. She includes a rough diagram of female reproductive organs and tells her young readers about menstruation and visiting a gynecologist but not how babies are made. She talks about having boys as friends, saying “Don’t put pressure on yourself to call any of your close friendships ‘dating.’ ” The strength of this title is its emphasis on good grooming, healthy living habits, and positive relationships. Added for this fourth edition is new material on interacting with adults, personal empowerment, body language, reputations, and “learning disabilities,” helpful information for the growing segment of the preteen population identified with cognitive and social learning differences. Tallardy’s cartoon illustrations show girls and adults of varying ethnicities and provide a cheerful accompaniment.

This introduction to puberty may be particularly helpful for girls looking ahead to that stage. (resources, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-60433-714-3

Page Count: 148

Publisher: Cider Mill Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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