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From the A Child's Introduction to... series

A vibrant and enlightening history.

A guide to Asian American history.

Hirahara starts by discussing how college students Yuji Ichioka and Emma Gee coined the term Asian American in 1968; she also defines the phrase Pacific Islanders but notes that the book doesn’t cover those with Central and Western Asian heritage. She goes on to explore various identities within the AAPI communities, as well as U.S. cities with large populations of each group, such as Springdale, Arkansas, home to half of the U.S.’s Marshallese population. From there, the author examines AAPI history, with topics such as the wayfinding explorations of the people of Oceania, the role of Asian Americans in both world wars, and discriminatory laws including the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Frequently, the focus shifts to remarkable people in various fields, among them sports, science and medicine, and activism. The author also notes Asian influences in pop culture—General Tso’s chicken, a 1960s Korean music group known as the Kim Sisters—and lists cultural celebrations and sites. Hirahara’s straightforward writing evokes the feel of a reference work, enlivened by dynamic graphics. The cartoon illustrations are bursting with bold, contrasting colors and textures, and maps, timelines, and sidebars throughout aid in understanding. East Asian people and cultures feature prominently, and the book has notable coverage of Pacific Islanders and Filipinos, with some inclusion of other Southeast identities and South Asians.

A vibrant and enlightening history. (list of AAPI museums and places of interest, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 9, 2024

ISBN: 9780762483969

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2024

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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. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care.

In 1977, the oil carrier Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of oil into a formerly pristine Alaskan ocean inlet, killing millions of birds, animals, and fish. Despite a cleanup, crude oil is still there.

The Winters foretold the destructive powers of the atomic bomb allusively in The Secret Project (2017), leaving the actuality to the backmatter. They make no such accommodations to young audiences in this disturbing book. From the dark front cover, on which oily blobs conceal a seabird, to the rescuer’s sad face on the back, the mother-son team emphasizes the disaster. A relatively easy-to-read and poetically heightened text introduces the situation. Oil is pumped from the Earth “all day long, all night long, / day after day, year after year” in “what had been unspoiled land, home to Native people // and thousands of caribou.” The scale of extraction is huge: There’s “a giant pipeline” leading to “enormous ships.” Then, crash. Rivers of oil gush out over three full-bleed wordless pages. Subsequent scenes show rocks, seabirds, and sea otters covered with oil. Finally, 30 years later, animals have returned to a cheerful scene. “But if you lift a rock… // oil / seeps / up.” For an adult reader, this is heartbreaking. How much more difficult might this be for an animal-loving child?

Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care. (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3077-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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