Destined for synagogue and Hebrew school libraries but unlikely to compel young readers.



Short biographies of Jewish women and girls, selected by the author and the late Justice Ginsburg, who also penned the introduction.

Each narrative is about three to five pages long and is preceded by an attractive, stylized, full-color illustration of the subject. Six figures are biblical, one is from the ancient world, and the rest lived during the last 600 years. Their achievements vary: Several are activists or labor organizers, one is an astronaut, some are politicians, others are artists, and one is a Holocaust victim. The prose is serviceable, while the breadth of the brief collection necessitates biographies so shallow that nearly every recorded incident can be found in Wikipedia. The selection contains little diversity; of the post-ancient subjects, all but the three Sephardic subjects are Ashkenazi, and all are White according to contemporary understanding. Though text boxes following each biography indicate their relevance to the modern world, most contain platitudes, and one appropriates for its subject—Yocheved, the mother of Moses, whose sexuality is unknown—a modern tradition aimed at incorporating queer Jews into Jewish ritual. The one truly compelling aspect of this collection is the context offered for why Ginsburg found inspiration in the stories of these women and girls, which provides insight into both the late justice herself and the changing times she lived through.

Destined for synagogue and Hebrew school libraries but unlikely to compel young readers. (Biography. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-37718-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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The author of the justly renowned What the Neighbors Thought series digs a little deeper with these equally engaging single...


From the Women Who Broke the Rules series

This brisk and pithy series kickoff highlights Sacagawea’s unique contributions to the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Joining her “clueless” French-Canadian husband and so becoming “part of one of the smartest hiring decisions in history,” 16-year-old Sacagawea not only served as translator and diplomat along the way, but proved an expert forager, cool-headed when disaster threatened, and a dedicated morale booster during four gloomy months in winter quarters. She also cast a vote for the location of those quarters, which the author points to as a significant precedent in the history of women’s suffrage. Krull closes with a look at her subject’s less-well-documented later life and the cogent observation that not all Native Americans regard her in a positive light. In Collins’ color paintings, she poses gracefully in fringed buckskins, and her calm, intelligent features shine on nearly every page. The subjects of the three co-published profiles, though depicted by different illustrators, look similarly smart and animated—and behave that way too. Having met her future husband on a “date,” Dolley Madison (illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher) goes on to be a “rock star,” for instance. Long before she becomes a Supreme Court justice with a “ginormous” work load, Sonia Sotomayor (illustrated by Angela Dominguez) is first met giving her little brother a noogie. Though Krull’s gift for artfully compressed narrative results in a misleading implication that the battle of New Orleans won the War of 1812 for the United States, and there is no mention of Forever… in her portrait of “the most banned author in America,” Judy Blume (illustrated by David Leonard), young readers will come away properly inspired by the examples of these admirable rule-breakers.

The author of the justly renowned What the Neighbors Thought series digs a little deeper with these equally engaging single volumes. (source and reading lists, indexes) (Biography. 9-11)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3799-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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A case study of science at its idealistic and paradigm-changing best.



A handsomely designed tribute to the brilliant naturalist who very nearly scooped Darwin.

It was “a case of great minds thinking alike,” Dorion writes. But while Darwin had slowly, cautiously articulated his hypotheses to himself over decades in his country home, they came as flashes of insight to Wallace in the course of scouring the jungles of the Amazon and the Malay Archipelago for exotic specimens to sell to European collectors. It was Wallace’s 1858 letter to Darwin that spurred the latter to go public—and Wallace’s salutary lack of ego that turned what might have been a bitter battle over claims of precedence into a long and cordial relationship. Though the author skimps on Wallace’s later career and misleadingly tags the heart of his proposed theory as “natural selection” (that was Darwin’s term, not Wallace’s), she offers clear pictures of his character and his passion for natural science while making generous use of direct quotations. Tennant gives the slightly oversized volume the feel of a collector’s album with ranks of accurately drawn tropical beetles, birds, and other specimens. These he intersperses with portraits of eminent colleagues, images of collecting gear, and verdant scenes of the white explorer at work either alone or with one or more Indigenous assistants (the latter only sometimes identified, or even mentioned, in the narrative).

A case study of science at its idealistic and paradigm-changing best. (map, glossary, reading list) (Picture book/biography. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0932-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Candlewick Studio

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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