LUBA: THE ANGEL OF BERGEN-BELSEN

McCann conveys the remarkable heroism of Tryszynska-Frederick, a young Jewish nurse imprisoned in the Nazi concentration camp. Luba’s emotional strength, bravery, and determination in the winter of 1944 saved 54 abandoned, starving, and cold Dutch children from their impending death, as she hid them in her barracks for the duration of the war and used her ingenuity and a lot of luck to beg, borrow, and steal food. McCann recounts in lucid narrative prose, with the inclusion of some dialogue, the events and hushed drama as related to her by the real Luba. Well-crafted, this includes a brief introduction and post-script to the Nazi concentration camps and WWII, an epilogue depicting Luba’s official Amsterdam recognition with photographs from the liberation of the camp and a 1995 reunion, and a thorough bibliography of books, articles, film, Web sites, personal letters, and interviews. Realistic oil paintings with collage reflect the darkness of the period and the terrifyingly dangerous environment amid the loving concern within the concealed group. One of the beautiful, positive stories that emerged from that awful time, to be remembered and passed on to young and old alike. (author’s note, including children’s names) (Picture book. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2003

ISBN: 1-58246-098-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2003

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A picture book worth reading about a historical figure worth remembering.

THE AMAZING AGE OF JOHN ROY LYNCH

An honestly told biography of an important politician whose name every American should know.

Published while the United States has its first African-American president, this story of John Roy Lynch, the first African-American speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives, lays bare the long and arduous path black Americans have walked to obtain equality. The title’s first three words—“The Amazing Age”—emphasize how many more freedoms African-Americans had during Reconstruction than for decades afterward. Barton and Tate do not shy away from honest depictions of slavery, floggings, the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow laws, or the various means of intimidation that whites employed to prevent blacks from voting and living lives equal to those of whites. Like President Barack Obama, Lynch was of biracial descent; born to an enslaved mother and an Irish father, he did not know hard labor until his slave mistress asked him a question that he answered honestly. Freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, Lynch had a long and varied career that points to his resilience and perseverance. Tate’s bright watercolor illustrations often belie the harshness of what takes place within them; though this sometimes creates a visual conflict, it may also make the book more palatable for young readers unaware of the violence African-Americans have suffered than fully graphic images would. A historical note, timeline, author’s and illustrator’s notes, bibliography and map are appended.

A picture book worth reading about a historical figure worth remembering. (Picture book biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5379-0

Page Count: 50

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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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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