ON OUR WAY TO OYSTER BAY

MOTHER JONES AND HER MARCH FOR CHILDREN'S RIGHTS

From the CitizenKid series

Interesting but never compelling or heartfelt.

In 1903, 8-year-old millworkers Aiden and Gussie carry pickets demanding an end to child labor practices.

To provide needed income for their families, young children toiled 12 hours a day, six days a week in workplaces that were dangerous and demoralizing. Without access to education, they had no chance for betterment. In Kulling’s tale of protest, when union activist Mother Jones plans a 100-mile march all the way to Oyster Bay, New York, to confront President Theodore Roosevelt, Aiden and Gussie go with her. The march is arduous, with long days of walking, campouts, train rides, some recreation, and speeches that elicit moral and practical support along the way. In the end, the president refuses to meet them, and they must return home. The tale is based on true events and people; it is told here from fictional Aiden’s point of view, wide-eyed and admiring of Mother Jones, enjoying the adventure, and ever hopeful. Kulling follows the path of the march, quoting Jones extensively, but even Aiden and Gussie’s presence doesn’t really bring the events to life. The main characters are white, though there are some brown-skinned people depicted in the crowd scenes. Sala’s illustrations are much too bright and cheerful, with even the cotton mill appearing clean and airy.

Interesting but never compelling or heartfelt. (author’s note, websites) (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-77138-325-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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HENRIETTA LEAVITT, PIONEERING WOMAN ASTRONOMER

An artful and inspiring effort.

Burleigh weaves imagination and information to sketch the life of a female scientist and illuminate her achievements.

Henrietta Swan Leavitt, born in 1868, was a graduate of Oberlin and of the school that would become Radcliffe. Her interest in astronomy led her to work for many years in the Harvard Observatory. Although women were prevented from taking part in many facets of academic exploration, Leavitt made a major discovery within the parameters of her assigned work. Though little is known of his subject’s life, Burleigh posits an early interest in the stars that may help to engage young listeners. The conversational text moves quickly, taking readers from dreamy child to dedicated researcher. Sophisticated vocabulary and complex concepts, as well as the variety of supplementary information Burleigh provides, from quotations about the stars to brief information about other female astronomers, suggest that this would be most useful as supplemental material in a science curriculum. Colón’s watercolor, pen and pencil illustrations extend the text as, for example, when the sideways glances of Leavitt’s college peers effectively convey just how unusual her interests and accomplishments were for the time. They also capture the fascination and beauty of starlight, which seems almost to twinkle at times. The current educational emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math (aka STEM) will likely increase interest in biographies about women’s achievements in these fields.

An artful and inspiring effort. (quotations, afterword, author’s note, glossary, Internet resources, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4169-5819-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

MARY WALKER WEARS THE PANTS

Despite awkwardness, this is a welcome window into an important American life

Pants: Women were not supposed to wear them.

Mary Walker not only got her medical degree in 1855, but found it much easier to do her work dressed smartly in men’s trousers and tailored jacket. She was not accepted in the Union Army at first, but as an unpaid hospital volunteer, she tended the Civil War sick and wounded in Washington, D.C., and field hospitals. She was finally commissioned in late 1863, then captured and imprisoned by the Confederates. She was exchanged for a Confederate officer, and in 1866, she was given the Medal of Honor, the first and only woman to receive it. Harness tries valiantly to work this complicated story into one comprehensible for the early grades, but it makes for some difficult phrasing. Calling her, as some did, a “pesky camp follower” has very negative implications that adults, at least, will get. “Many Americans, especially in the South, firmly believed that enslaving people from Africa was a normal thing to do,” is an awkward encapsulation of the reason for the Civil War. Molinari’s images are richly colored and drawn in an old-fashioned but very compatible style and do a lot toward fleshing out the text.

Despite awkwardness, this is a welcome window into an important American life . (Picture book/biography. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8075-4990-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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