This addition to the pantheon of great hoaxes, such as The War of the Worlds Halloween broadcast, reveals a perpetual human...

THE FAIRY RING

OR ELSIE AND FRANCES FOOL THE WORLD

The remarkable, true story of a fairy hoax successfully perpetrated by two young girls in the early 1900s offers a fascinating examination of human nature.

It began innocently enough; cousins Frances, 9, and Elsie, 15, took pictures of cutout paper fairies in order to get their families to stop teasing Frances, who claimed to have seen real ones in the woods behind their house. It escalated when Elsie's mother mentioned at a Theosophist meeting that her daughter had taken a picture of fairies, perhaps not anticipating the ensuing furor. Eventually, a number of otherwise intelligent adults came to believe these photos were real, most prominent among them Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It's an incredible story, but this compelling account explains step-by-step how the situation escalated; as time went on, more people became personally and financially invested, and it was increasingly difficult for the girls to consider coming clean. The narrative is matter-of-fact and reserves judgment on the perpetrators as well as their credulous public. The fairy photos are reproduced, allowing readers to see exactly what people at the time saw.

This addition to the pantheon of great hoaxes, such as The War of the Worlds Halloween broadcast, reveals a perpetual human fascination with the supernatural and a strong desire to believe in the unseen. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 27, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5670-6

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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An important glimpse into the early civil rights movement.

THE GIRL FROM THE TAR PAPER SCHOOL

BARBARA ROSE JOHNS AND THE ADVENT OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT

Kanefield tells the story of Barbara Rose Johns, whose fight for equality in the schools of Farmville, Va., went all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

In 1950, 15-year-old Barbara Johns was a junior at the all-black Robert R. Moton High School in rural Virginia, a crowded school using temporary classrooms that were little more than tar paper shacks, more like chicken coops than classrooms, with leaky roofs and potbellied stoves that provided little heat. Farmville High School, the white school, was a modern building with up-to-date facilities. Sick of the disparity, Barbara led a strike, demanding equal facilities in the schools of her town. Her actions drew the usual response from the white community: cross-burnings, white stores denying credit to black customers and criticism for their “ill-advised” actions. Although threats caused Barbara’s parents to send her to live with family in Alabama, where she graduated from high school, the Moton students’ case was eventually bundled with others, including Brown v. Board of Education. In an attractive volume full of archival photographs, informative sidebars and a clearly written text, Kanefield shares an important though little-known story of the movement. A one-page summary of “The Birth of the Civil Rights Movement” and a civil rights timeline connect Barbara’s story to the larger struggle; sadly, the bibliography offers no mention of the many fine volumes available for young readers who will want to know more.

An important glimpse into the early civil rights movement. (author’s note, sources, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0796-4

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

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An interesting, engaging collection of snapshot profiles that will encourage readers to explore further and perhaps pursue...

TRAILBLAZERS

33 WOMEN IN SCIENCE WHO CHANGED THE WORLD

With STEM now the hot trend in education and concerted efforts to encourage girls to explore scientific fields, this collective biography is most timely.

Swaby offers 33 brief profiles of some of the world’s most influential women in science, organized in loose groupings: technology and innovation, earth and stars, health and medicine, and biology. Some of the figures, such as Mary Anning, Rachel Carson, Florence Nightingale, Sally Ride, and Marie Tharp, have been written about for young readers, but most have not. Among the lesser known are Stephanie Kwolek, the American chemist who invented Kevlar; Yvonne Brill, the Canadian engineer who invented a thruster used in satellites; Elsie Widdowson, the British nutritionist who demonstrated how important fluid and salt are for the body to properly function; and Italian neuroembryologist Rita Levi-Montalcini, who made breakthrough discoveries in nerve-cell growth. Swaby emphasizes that most of these scientists had to overcome great obstacles before achieving their successes and receiving recognition due to gender-based discrimination. She also notes that people are not born brilliant scientists and that it’s through repeated observation, experimentation, and testing of ideas that important discoveries are made.

An interesting, engaging collection of snapshot profiles that will encourage readers to explore further and perhaps pursue their own scientific curiosities. (source notes, bibliography) (Collective biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-55396-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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