A powerful introduction to a little-known, very brave woman.



Henrietta Szold dedicated her entire life to aiding the most vulnerable.

As a young child she saw her mother and rabbi father helping escaped slaves in Civil War–era Baltimore. She felt a connection to the Purim holiday and a kinship with Queen Esther, who bravely saved the Jews from the evil Haman. Although women had few opportunities to be heard, Henrietta was determined to emulate Esther and make a difference in the world. She saw Jewish immigrants facing dire poverty and discrimination and took the first of many giant leaps. She opened a night school for immigrants to learn English, and she became the first editor of the Jewish Publication Society. She founded Hadassah—using Queen Esther’s Hebrew name—a women’s organization dedicated to raising funds to address hunger and disease among people of every faith in British-controlled Palestine, and established her own residence there. When Hitler came to power she worked tirelessly to rescue as many Jewish children as possible and, with the support of Hadassah, saved thousands. Churnin presents Szold’s accomplishments with careful attention to historical accuracy. The explanation of Hitler’s extreme actions to destroy all Jews is informative, cogent, and accessible to young readers. The author’s tone is admiring, stressing Szold’s determination, courage, and endless compassion and reiterating her connection to the lessons of Purim. Nayberg employs light and shadow with elongated figures to illustrate the events and express the entire range of emotions felt by Szold, the people with whom she worked, and those whose lives she affected.

A powerful introduction to a little-known, very brave woman. (author’s notes, timeline, bibliography, photo) (Picture book/biography. 8-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-939547-95-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Creston

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats.


From the They Did What? series

Why should grown-ups get all the historical, scientific, athletic, cinematic, and artistic glory?

Choosing exemplars from both past and present, Mitchell includes but goes well beyond Alexander the Great, Anne Frank, and like usual suspects to introduce a host of lesser-known luminaries. These include Shapur II, who was formally crowned king of Persia before he was born, Indian dancer/professional architect Sheila Sri Prakash, transgender spokesperson Jazz Jennings, inventor Param Jaggi, and an international host of other teen or preteen activists and prodigies. The individual portraits range from one paragraph to several pages in length, and they are interspersed with group tributes to, for instance, the Nazi-resisting “Swingkinder,” the striking New York City newsboys, and the marchers of the Birmingham Children’s Crusade. Mitchell even offers would-be villains a role model in Elagabalus, “boy emperor of Rome,” though she notes that he, at least, came to an awful end: “Then, then! They dumped his remains in the Tiber River, to be nommed by fish for all eternity.” The entries are arranged in no evident order, and though the backmatter includes multiple booklists, a personality quiz, a glossary, and even a quick Braille primer (with Braille jokes to decode), there is no index. Still, for readers whose fires need lighting, there’s motivational kindling on nearly every page.

A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats. (finished illustrations not seen) (Collective biography. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-14-751813-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Puffin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?


A measured corrective to pervasive myths about what is often referred to as the “first Thanksgiving.”

Contextualizing them within a Native perspective, Newell (Passamaquoddy) touches on the all-too-familiar elements of the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving and its origins and the history of English colonization in the territory now known as New England. In addition to the voyage and landfall of the Mayflower, readers learn about the Doctrine of Discovery that arrogated the lands of non-Christian peoples to European settlers; earlier encounters between the Indigenous peoples of the region and Europeans; and the Great Dying of 1616-1619, which emptied the village of Patuxet by 1620. Short, two- to six-page chapters alternate between the story of the English settlers and exploring the complex political makeup of the region and the culture, agriculture, and technology of the Wampanoag—all before covering the evolution of the holiday. Refreshingly, the lens Newell offers is a Native one, describing how the Wampanoag and other Native peoples received the English rather than the other way around. Key words ranging from estuary to discover are printed in boldface in the narrative and defined in a closing glossary. Nelson (a member of the Leech Lake Band of Minnesota Chippewa) contributes soft line-and-color illustrations of the proceedings. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Essential. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-72637-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Scholastic Nonfiction

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?