Though Yousafzai’s memoir never transcends her story, that story is a powerful and inspiring one; supplemented by...

I AM MALALA

HOW ONE GIRL STOOD UP FOR EDUCATION AND CHANGED THE WORLD (YOUNG READERS EDITION)

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teen shot for her activism for girls’ education, tells her story for a middle-grade audience.

Although billed as a “young readers edition” of Yousafzai’s 2013 book of the same name for adults, co-written with Christina Lamb, the designation does the book a disservice, as this is no simple redaction. With the capable assistance of co-author McCormick, the account has been effectively rewritten specifically for children. The story is straightforward, related chronologically and covering Yousafzai’s growth in activism, her shooting and her recovery in England. Yousafzai’s voice is appealingly youthful, though it often tells rather than shows and frequently goes over the top: In her school, she writes, “we flew on wings of knowledge.” Still, young Western readers will come to understand the gulf that separates them from Yousafzai through carefully chosen anecdotes, helping them see what drives her to such lyrical extremes. Unfortunately, much is lost in the translation from the adult book, presumably sacrificed for brevity and directness; most lamentable is social and political context. Although readers will come away with a good understanding of Yousafzai’s immediate experiences, the geopolitical forces that shape her culture go largely unmentioned except in a closing timeline that amounts to a dizzying list of regime changes.

Though Yousafzai’s memoir never transcends her story, that story is a powerful and inspiring one; supplemented by contextualizing information, it should pack quite a wallop. (glossary) (Memoir. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-316-32793-0

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2014

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An important glimpse into the early civil rights movement.

THE GIRL FROM THE TAR PAPER SCHOOL

BARBARA ROSE JOHNS AND THE ADVENT OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT

Kanefield tells the story of Barbara Rose Johns, whose fight for equality in the schools of Farmville, Va., went all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

In 1950, 15-year-old Barbara Johns was a junior at the all-black Robert R. Moton High School in rural Virginia, a crowded school using temporary classrooms that were little more than tar paper shacks, more like chicken coops than classrooms, with leaky roofs and potbellied stoves that provided little heat. Farmville High School, the white school, was a modern building with up-to-date facilities. Sick of the disparity, Barbara led a strike, demanding equal facilities in the schools of her town. Her actions drew the usual response from the white community: cross-burnings, white stores denying credit to black customers and criticism for their “ill-advised” actions. Although threats caused Barbara’s parents to send her to live with family in Alabama, where she graduated from high school, the Moton students’ case was eventually bundled with others, including Brown v. Board of Education. In an attractive volume full of archival photographs, informative sidebars and a clearly written text, Kanefield shares an important though little-known story of the movement. A one-page summary of “The Birth of the Civil Rights Movement” and a civil rights timeline connect Barbara’s story to the larger struggle; sadly, the bibliography offers no mention of the many fine volumes available for young readers who will want to know more.

An important glimpse into the early civil rights movement. (author’s note, sources, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0796-4

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

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An interesting, engaging collection of snapshot profiles that will encourage readers to explore further and perhaps pursue...

TRAILBLAZERS

33 WOMEN IN SCIENCE WHO CHANGED THE WORLD

With STEM now the hot trend in education and concerted efforts to encourage girls to explore scientific fields, this collective biography is most timely.

Swaby offers 33 brief profiles of some of the world’s most influential women in science, organized in loose groupings: technology and innovation, earth and stars, health and medicine, and biology. Some of the figures, such as Mary Anning, Rachel Carson, Florence Nightingale, Sally Ride, and Marie Tharp, have been written about for young readers, but most have not. Among the lesser known are Stephanie Kwolek, the American chemist who invented Kevlar; Yvonne Brill, the Canadian engineer who invented a thruster used in satellites; Elsie Widdowson, the British nutritionist who demonstrated how important fluid and salt are for the body to properly function; and Italian neuroembryologist Rita Levi-Montalcini, who made breakthrough discoveries in nerve-cell growth. Swaby emphasizes that most of these scientists had to overcome great obstacles before achieving their successes and receiving recognition due to gender-based discrimination. She also notes that people are not born brilliant scientists and that it’s through repeated observation, experimentation, and testing of ideas that important discoveries are made.

An interesting, engaging collection of snapshot profiles that will encourage readers to explore further and perhaps pursue their own scientific curiosities. (source notes, bibliography) (Collective biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-55396-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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