A portrait of a courageous and admirable young voice for change—but no substitute for the book that is its major source.

A cursory introduction to the Pakistani teenager who earned international attention (and a Nobel Peace Prize nomination) after surviving a Taliban gunman’s assassination attempt.

Doeden draws largely from Yousafzai’s 2013 autobiography and a handful of news reports to craft his account. He explains how she, as the eldest daughter of a dedicated founder of girls schools in Pakistan and co-author (at the age of 11) of a personal blog sponsored by the BBC Urdu, became a public face for Muslim girls’ education—and therefore a Taliban target. Silenced only temporarily by a bullet to the head in 2012, she has gone on not only to become an even more vocal advocate for equal (not to say any) education, but to challenge President Barack Obama face to face about the use of military drones in her country. It’s a straightforward account geared to those who aren’t ready to tackle longer, richer resources. Most of the cramped color photos, and all of the unhelpful pull quotes, serve to fill space more than anything else.

A portrait of a courageous and admirable young voice for change—but no substitute for the book that is its major source. (map, endnotes, bibliography) (Biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4677-4907-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Lerner

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014


Unassuming of aspect but judicious and illuminating of content.

Modest production values add appeal to this carefully researched account of “a life of courage, passion, and adventure.”

Young readers already have a plethora of Tubman titles to choose from, including the author’s own 1992 Picture Book of Harriet Tubman for younger readers, illustrated by Samuel Byrd. This one, though, offers an unusually coherent picture of her character as well as her place within both the major events of her times and the work of the Underground Railroad. Laying stress on her religious faith and her selfless nature, Adler covers her career as Union spy and nurse as well as “conductor” in deep-enough detail to make mention of her later involvement in a money swindle and her ambiguous relationship with “niece” (daughter? kidnap victim?) Margaret Stewart. Sheaves of small, period black-and-white portrait photos or engravings, plus occasional atrocity reports or editorials clipped from African-American newspapers give the pages a staid look overall. This is underscored by a typeface that, intentionally or otherwise, sometimes looks battered or too-lightly inked. Tubman’s exploits and struggles make absorbing reading nonetheless.

Unassuming of aspect but judicious and illuminating of content. (endnotes, bibliography, personal note about the author’s family in the Civil War) (Biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2365-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013



A fine introduction to a musical icon.

Silvey examines the life of Pete Seeger, whose folk music and social activism brought both worldwide acclaim and a decade of government persecution.

Born into a privileged family in 1919, Pete attended boarding schools from third grade, isolated from his divorced parents and family. He read voraciously and incubated his interests in the outdoors, journalism, art, and music; a high school teacher introduced him to the banjo. After dropping out of Harvard, Seeger pursued a winding path that included performing children’s concerts and cataloging folk music at the Library of Congress. The straightforward narrative chronicles Pete’s musical arc—from hardscrabble touring with Woody Guthrie and the Almanac Singers to the phenomenal success of the Weavers, who introduced Americans to folk and world music. Silvey links Seeger’s music with his commitment to social causes, from workers’ rights and civil rights to the antiwar and environmental movements. She skillfully illuminates Seeger’s 10-year ordeal during the tenure of the House Un-American Activities Committee. Surveilled, blacklisted, subpoenaed, arrested, tried, and convicted, the former Communist Party member was vindicated on appeal in 1962. Silvey’s afterword frankly acknowledges Seeger as a personal hero, avowing that her biographer’s neutrality was trumped by her research into Seeger’s unjust treatment by the FBI and HUAC.

A fine introduction to a musical icon. (photographs, quotation source notes, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-547-33012-9

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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