Clean layout and design augment a quality introduction to an important chapter in the history of American education.

SCHOOLS OF HOPE

HOW JULIUS ROSENWALD HELPED CHANGE AFRICAN AMERICAN EDUCATION

Julius Rosenwald, the man responsible for the early-20th-century success of the Sears, Roebuck Co., also improved education for African-Americans who were just decades away from slavery.

The son of German-Jewish immigrants, Rosenwald’s financial prosperity and family upbringing led him first to support Jewish causes and then charities in his hometown of Chicago. Despite differences in religious traditions, he became a supporter of the Young Men’s Christian Association movement. His donation to an African-American YMCA facility and reading of Booker T. Washington’s autobiography, Up from Slavery, began the work for which he is so esteemed: the building of over 5,300 schools, as well as scholarship aid and educational resources, starting in 1913. In the era of “separate but equal,” the pioneering educator’s philosophy of self-help appealed to Rosenwald; indeed his school grants required matching funds and community involvement. Such famous lights as Jacob Lawrence and Charles Drew received support from the Rosenwald Foundation, but countless nameless individuals in the South also benefited from an education that might not have been available without its efforts. This straightforward narrative is substantially supported with many photographs of the period, especially of the schools and the students. Source notes, a bibliography (which could have used a few more titles for the target readership), a list of websites, an index and picture credits add to its authenticity.

Clean layout and design augment a quality introduction to an important chapter in the history of American education. (Nonfiction. 10-16)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59078-841-7

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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

50 IMPRESSIVE KIDS AND THEIR AMAZING (AND TRUE!) STORIES

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

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A standout among writing guides, valuable for its sage and friendly encouragement and for the sheer fun of hanging out with...

WRITING RADAR

USING YOUR JOURNAL TO SNOOP OUT AND CRAFT GREAT STORIES

Advice on writing from one of the best writers around.

“I’m a writer and I’m on your side,” Gantos says, as if he’s putting an arm around a young writer’s shoulder and guiding them through a door to a new life. With a snappy voice, his own funny ink drawings, and expertise drawn from a career full of great books, he covers just about everything: where to find ideas and characters, how to structure a story, why to keep a journal, and even what to write with. Every step of the way he includes examples from his own writing. As humorous as he is, Gantos is authoritative and serious about his craft, careful to include every building block for constructing a good story—characters, setting, problem, action, crisis, resolution, and the need for a double ending (physical and emotional). Chapter 2 (“Getting Started”) ought to be read by all teachers and parents: it’s a manifesto on how to raise a reader (and writer) by reading aloud excellent picture books to young children and placing good books in the hands of children as they get older, and he offers a handy list of just what some of those books should be. While his list of picture books is not a particularly diverse one, the middle-grade titles suggested are nicely inclusive.

A standout among writing guides, valuable for its sage and friendly encouragement and for the sheer fun of hanging out with Jack. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-374-30456-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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