An appealing biography that will inspire young scientists and those who may quietly rebel against the status quo.

THE GIRL WHO COULD FIX ANYTHING

BEATRICE SHILLING, WORLD WAR II ENGINEER

“Beatrice Shilling wasn’t quite like other children. She preferred tools to sweets.”

From an early fascination with toys, radios, and motorcycles, Beatrice Shilling was entranced by the idea of how things worked, taking apart and reassembling the machines around her. Repeating text tied with comical illustrations allows readers to witness how the young White Englishwoman was atypical for her post–World War I period—few women shared her skills and interests, and most men were not ready to accept her—while mentions of her mistakes show her resilience and how she learned and grew. Supported by a female engineer, she found her calling early and was encouraged to attend university to sharpen her skills, all the while succeeding at motorcycle racing as well as falling in love and marrying. But it was during her time at the Royal Aircraft Establishment during WWII that she truly shone, finding a solution to a fuel-release problem that allowed fighting pilots to maneuver safely. This accessible, tongue-in-cheek depiction of Shilling’s life and achievements hits all the right notes and shows a woman flourishing in STEM, the importance of powering through adversity, ways in which science and curiosity can be applied, as well as how women have supported each other to learn and succeed. Duncan’s fine-lined illustrations include characters of color among the largely White cast of background characters.

An appealing biography that will inspire young scientists and those who may quietly rebel against the status quo. (author’s note, sources) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1252-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images.

THURGOOD

The life journey of the first African American to serve on the United States Supreme Court and the incidents that formed him.

Thurgood Marshall grew up in segregated Baltimore, Maryland, with a family that encouraged him to stand for justice. Despite attending poor schools, he found a way to succeed. His father instilled in him a love of the law and encouraged him to argue like a lawyer during dinner conversations. His success in college meant he could go to law school, but the University of Maryland did not accept African American students. Instead, Marshall went to historically black Howard University, where he was mentored by civil rights lawyer Charles Houston. Marshall’s first major legal case was against the law school that denied him a place, and his success brought him to the attention of the NAACP and ultimately led to his work on the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education, which itself led to his appointment to the Supreme Court. This lively narrative serves as an introduction to the life of one of the country’s important civil rights figures. Important facts in Marshall’s life are effectively highlighted in an almost staccato fashion. The bold watercolor-and-collage illustrations, beginning with an enticing cover, capture and enhance the strong tone set by the words.

A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images. (author’s note, photos) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6533-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Informative yet optimistic, this cri du coeur from Planet Awesome deserves wide attention.

OUR PLANET! THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE EARTH

From the Our Universe series , Vol. 6

The sixth in McAnulty’s Our Universe series focuses on Earth’s human-caused problems, offering some family-level activities for mitigation.

Vivaciously narrated by “Planet Awesome,” the text establishes facts about how Earth’s location with regard to the sun allows life to flourish, the roles of the ocean and atmosphere, and the distinctions between weather and climate. McAnulty clearly explains how people have accelerated climate change “because so many human things need energy.” Soft-pedaling, she avoids overt indictment of fossil fuels: “Sometimes energy leads to dirty water, dirty land, and dirty air.” Dire changes are afoot: “Some land is flooding. Other land is too dry—and hot. YIKES! Not good.” “And when I’m in trouble, Earthlings are in trouble, too.” Litchfield’s engaging art adds important visual information where the perky text falls short. On one spread, a factory complex spews greenhouse gases in three plumes, each identified by the chemical symbols for carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Throughout, planet Earth is appealingly represented with animated facial features and arms—one green, one blue. The palette brightens and darkens in sync with the text’s respective messages of hope and alarm. Final pages introduce alternative energy sources—wind, hydro, solar, and “human power—that’s from your own two feet.” Lastly, Earth provides excellent ideas for hyperlocal change, from buying less new stuff to planting trees. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Informative yet optimistic, this cri du coeur from Planet Awesome deserves wide attention. (author’s note, numerical facts, atmospheric facts, ideas for action, sources) (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-78249-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more