JAMES TOWNE

STRUGGLE FOR SURVIVAL

What was it like on that first journey to Jamestown, or in the first years in the New World? Written as though in the words of one of the settlers, this strives to share that experience and includes actual quotes from the diaries and letters of 15 of them. The tale is filled with misadventures, hardships, and dangers right from the inauspicious beginning as ships set sail on Dec. 20, 1606, and then languish, “ ‘but by unprosperous winds, were kept six weekes in sight of England.’ ” It was not until April of 1607 that 104 men and boys reached shore where they were met by hostile Indians and several were wounded. Returning to their ships, they traveled further up the James River and in May reached a peninsula 40 miles up. There they named their settlement James Towne for King James. The settlement did not prosper; George Percy, a Gentleman, notes: “ ‘There were never Englishmen left in a foreigne Countrey in such miserie as wee were in this new discovered Virginia.’ ” Plagued by mosquitoes, hostile Indians, rotten food, fires that nearly destroyed the village, and gentlemen unable or unwilling to work; the colony nearly did not survive. Sewall, who is noted for her young American histories (Pilgrims of Plimoth, 1986, etc.) weaves a fascinating story and illustrates the adventure with her signature watercolor-and-sepia-ink drawings. She concludes with a list of characters quoted, a glossary, and selected source material. The brief quotes from primary sources and the text that elaborates on the quotes make history come alive for young readers. (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-81814-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2001

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A sensitive, discussable access point for children learning about Holocaust history.

JARS OF HOPE

HOW ONE WOMAN HELPED SAVE 2,500 CHILDREN DURING THE HOLOCAUST

The brave work of Irena Sendler, one of the righteous gentiles of World War II, is succinctly depicted in this new picture book.

“There are two kinds of people in this world, good and bad.” As a child, wise words from her father gave Irena a guiding principle to live by and prompted the adult Sendler to find ways to save 2,500 innocent Jewish children and babies from the horror of their Holocaust fate. She worked with a network of smugglers and shelters to hide them in carpentry boxes, vegetable sacks, and laundry piles, transporting them to orphanages and the homes of willing Christian foster families, recording the children’s names so they could be found later and burying her lists in the titular jars. And when she herself was imprisoned by the Nazis, Zegota, the Polish resistance group, bribed guards to free her so she could continue her important work. Digital and traditional art in opaque dark browns and grays illustrates the sinister period and shadowy existence of these saved children. Roy’s chronological narrative concentrates on the period from 1940 to 1944 and stresses Sendler’s heroism; it also includes invented scenes and dialogue, marking it as fiction.

A sensitive, discussable access point for children learning about Holocaust history. (afterword, author’s note, glossary, index, source notes) (Picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62370-425-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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As Wild Bill Hickok “says” in his blurb: “Factual as far as it goes.” (glossary, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

WHAT IF YOU MET A COWBOY?

From the What If You Met… series

Following other books in the What if You Met…(a Pirate, 2004; a Knight, 2006) series, this title somewhat less successfully tackles the subject of cowboys.

The image of the handsome cowboy idealized in movies, “on the lookout for pretty schoolteachers and Indians on the warpath,” is shattered by Jacob McHugh Peavey, the “real deal,” unwashed and unshaven. Only careful readers will determine that Jake’s heyday was around 1860-1885. He’s white, although Adkins notes that “[a]bout half of [cowboys] are African-American, Indian, or Hispanic.” Cowgirls are dismissed in a side note. Given this limited perspective, youngsters interested in diversity in the Wild West will want to look elsewhere. Those not familiar with the history of Native Americans may require a source to understand potentially confusing descriptions of Franciscan missionaries who introduced horses in the Southwest as “relatively gentle and patient” conquerors who received an assist from European diseases or the “hostile native” tribes or youth that may on occasion pose a threat to Jake. (Source notes—a list of titles consulted—are provided, but there are no specific citations.) However, children enamored of cowboy gear and cattle drives will find a plethora of information about and detailed illustrations of saddles, guns, brands, the chuck wagon and more, each topic covered in one or two pages.

As Wild Bill Hickok “says” in his blurb: “Factual as far as it goes.” (glossary, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59643-149-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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