A thoughtful new insight into an iconic American life.

MASTER GEORGE'S PEOPLE

GEORGE WASHINGTON, HIS SLAVES, AND HIS REVOLUTIONARY TRANSFORMATION

A revealing portrait of the father of our country as a slave owner.

Revered and remembered as the man who led the young United States to a Revolutionary War victory over the British and served two terms as our first president, Washington was also a Virginia plantation owner and slaveholder. Delano details the day-to-day operations of Mount Vernon and the work, food, clothing and family life of Washington’s slaves. Short biographical sketches are given on those few whose names survive. Washington was a hands-on manager of his land and his “people,” as he referred to the enslaved. What separates him from other Founding Fathers is the turn in his thinking that led him, not long before his death, to change his will and free his slaves. (Martha Washington’s slaves were her dower property from her first husband and were not affected by this.) A generous serving of period illustrations and photographs of Mount Vernon’s historical interpreters adds great visual interest and clarity, although the contemporary folk are no doubt much better dressed and fed. Endpapers excerpt the Declaration of Independence and Washington’s last will and testament. Delano has succeeded in writing a carefully researched, balanced and ultimately moving story.

A thoughtful new insight into an iconic American life. (endnote, chronology, bibliography, sources, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4263-0759-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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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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Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care.

OIL

In 1977, the oil carrier Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of oil into a formerly pristine Alaskan ocean inlet, killing millions of birds, animals, and fish. Despite a cleanup, crude oil is still there.

The Winters foretold the destructive powers of the atomic bomb allusively in The Secret Project (2017), leaving the actuality to the backmatter. They make no such accommodations to young audiences in this disturbing book. From the dark front cover, on which oily blobs conceal a seabird, to the rescuer’s sad face on the back, the mother-son team emphasizes the disaster. A relatively easy-to-read and poetically heightened text introduces the situation. Oil is pumped from the Earth “all day long, all night long, / day after day, year after year” in “what had been unspoiled land, home to Native people // and thousands of caribou.” The scale of extraction is huge: There’s “a giant pipeline” leading to “enormous ships.” Then, crash. Rivers of oil gush out over three full-bleed wordless pages. Subsequent scenes show rocks, seabirds, and sea otters covered with oil. Finally, 30 years later, animals have returned to a cheerful scene. “But if you lift a rock… // oil / seeps / up.” For an adult reader, this is heartbreaking. How much more difficult might this be for an animal-loving child?

Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care. (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3077-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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