IMMIGRANTS

Part of the ``Travel Back Through Time with the Library of Congress'' series, these two U.S. history books draw upon the rich resources of a venerable institution for full color and b&w illustrations—vintage photos, engravings, posters, and memorabilia. Immigrants could actually stand alone as a history text, illuminating the American experience from 1870 to 1920 via the lives of its immigrants; the book's main defects are that the text seems written to fit the pictures, it uses an inappropriate (even irritating) present tense, and it adopts a ringing, patronizing tone of praise for the hard-working, long-suffering immigrants without delving into the complexities of their situations. Presidents is little more than a gorgeously illustrated trivia book; arranged by topic rather than chronologically, it skips blithely from one president to another, which may confound some less-informed readers. Perhaps due to its focus on individuals, it does, however, employ more arcane and interesting facts than the bland generalities found in Immigrants. Both books are pretty to look at but hardly profound. (Index) (Nonfiction. 8+)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 1995

ISBN: 0-06-024507-7

Page Count: 96

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1995

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A beautiful, powerful reflection on a tragic history.

ON THE HORIZON

In spare verse, Lowry reflects on moments in her childhood, including the bombings of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. 

When she was a child, Lowry played at Waikiki Beach with her grandmother while her father filmed. In the old home movie, the USS Arizona appears through the mist on the horizon. Looking back at her childhood in Hawaii and then Japan, Lowry reflects on the bombings that began and ended a war and how they affected and connected everyone involved. In Part 1, she shares the lives and actions of sailors at Pearl Harbor. Part 2 is stories of civilians in Hiroshima affected by the bombing. Part 3 presents her own experience as an American in Japan shortly after the war ended. The poems bring the haunting human scale of war to the forefront, like the Christmas cards a sailor sent days before he died or the 4-year-old who was buried with his red tricycle after Hiroshima. All the personal stories—of sailors, civilians, and Lowry herself—are grounding. There is heartbreak and hope, reminding readers to reflect on the past to create a more peaceful future. Lowry uses a variety of poetry styles, identifying some, such as triolet and haiku. Pak’s graphite illustrations are like still shots of history, adding to the emotion and somber feeling. He includes some sailors of color among the mostly white U.S. forces; Lowry is white.

A beautiful, powerful reflection on a tragic history. (author’s note, bibliography) (Memoir/poetry. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-12940-0

Page Count: 80

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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BIRMINGHAM SUNDAY

Brimner focuses on the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and successfully illuminates in chronological order the events, social tensions and political reverberations of that terror-filled time. Beginning with personal information about each of the four girls killed in the blast, he then introduces powerful figures or groups, some not well known, on both sides of the Civil Rights Movement. They are brought to life with information gleaned from various primary sources including FBI reports, police surveillance files, court transcripts and oral-history accounts. Each victim of the bombing and each advocate emerges for readers through quotes, black-and-white photographs and engaging, descriptive prose. Sidebars provide related information about the Movement and augment the highly accessible text. On the final pages are profiles of those responsible for the brutal bombing and the justice they finally received. A standout book for its thorough research and comprehensive look at the incident that led to the 1964 passage of civil-rights legislation. (further reading, author’s note, source notes, picture credits) (Nonfiction. 10 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 20, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-59078-613-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2010

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