A dynamic read deserving of a wide audience.

READ REVIEW

CRASH

THE GREAT DEPRESSION AND THE FALL AND RISE OF AMERICA

Spanning the 1930s, this narrative follows the downturn of the U.S. stock market—which pivoted the country into the Great Depression—and accounts for the leaders (women and men) and historic events that contributed to its crash.

In his first book for young readers, Favreau constructs a mostly linear account, told in four parts. “Fall,” the first section, sets the stage after the stock market crashed: poverty, hunger, soup lines, evictions, homelessness, and bank runs and closures. “Rise” begins with the entrance of Franklin D. Roosevelt. In an enlightening narration, Favreau does not waste time in swiveling the spotlight to Eleanor Roosevelt, who was FDR’s closest confidante. He also takes care to profile some of the era’s other notables, including Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins (who launched Social Security), union organizer John L. Lewis, and civil rights activist Mary McLeod Bethune, the director of the Division of Negro Affairs of the National Youth Administration and leading member of the so-called “Black Cabinet.” “Setback” recounts the Dust Bowl, and “Victory,” takes the account to the beginning of World War II. Propelling readers through the decade, the book is liberally illustrated with archival material including newspaper clippings and photographs. Throughout, Favreau gives readers incisive, penetrating, at times heartbreaking prose.

A dynamic read deserving of a wide audience. (source notes, bibliography, selected primary sources, timeline, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 10-16)

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-54586-0

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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Despite its not insignificant flaws, this book provides insights into the lives of important women, many of whom have...

SHE DID IT!

21 WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE WAY WE THINK

Caldecott Medalist McCully delves into the lives of extraordinary American women.

Beginning with the subject of her earlier biography Ida M. Tarbell (2014), McCully uses a chronological (by birth year) structure to organize her diverse array of subjects, each of whom is allotted approximately 10 pages. Lovely design enhances the text with a full-color portrait of each woman and small additional illustrations in the author/illustrator’s traditional style, plenty of white space, and spare use of dynamic colors. This survey provides greater depth than most, but even so, some topics go troublingly uncontextualized to the point of reinforcing stereotype: “In slavery, Black women had been punished for trying to improve their appearance. Now that they were free, many cared a great deal about grooming”; “President Roosevelt ordered all Japanese Americans on the West Coast to report to internment camps to keep them from providing aid to the enemy Japanese forces.” Of the 21 surveyed, one Japanese-American woman (Patsy Mink) is highlighted, as are one Latinx woman (Dolores Huerta), one Mohegan woman (Gladys Tantaquidgeon), three black women (Madam C.J. Walker, Ella Baker, and Shirley Chisholm), four out queer white women (Billie Jean King, Barbara Gittings, Jane Addams, and Isadora Duncan; the latter two’s sexualities are not discussed), two Jewish women (Gertrude Berg and Vera Rubin), and three women with known disabilities (Addams, Dorothea Lange, and Temple Grandin).

Despite its not insignificant flaws, this book provides insights into the lives of important women, many of whom have otherwise yet to be featured in nonfiction for young readers. (sources) (Collective biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-01991-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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An outstanding case study in how science is actually done: funny, nuanced, and perceptive.

THE FIRST DINOSAUR

HOW SCIENCE SOLVED THE GREATEST MYSTERY ON EARTH

How does a new, truly revolutionary idea become established scientific fact?

Lendler spins his account of how the awesome age and significance of fossils came to be understood into a grand yarn that begins 168 million years ago. He fast-forwards to 1676 and the first recorded fossil fragment of what was later named Megalosaurus and builds on the premise of “The Blind Men and the Elephant” to trace the ensuing, incremental accretion of stunning evidence over the next two centuries that the Earth is far older than the Bible seems to suggest and was once populated by creatures that no longer exist. It’s a story that abounds in smart, colorful characters including Mary Anning, Richard Owen (a brilliant scholar but “a horrible human being”), and Gideon Mantell, “a dude who really, really loved fossils.” Along the way the author fills readers in on coprolites (“the proof was in the pooing”), highlights the importance of recording discoveries, and explains how the tentative suggestion that certain fossils might have come from members of the “Lizard Tribe” morphed into the settled concept of “dinosaur.” Though he tells a Eurocentric tale, the author incorporates references to sexism and class preconceptions into his picture of scientific progress. Butzer’s illustrations add decorative and, sometimes, comical notes to sheaves of side notes, quotations, charts, maps, and period portraits and images.

An outstanding case study in how science is actually done: funny, nuanced, and perceptive. (bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2700-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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