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PATIENCE WRIGHT

AMERICA’S FIRST SCULPTOR AND REVOLUTIONARY SPY

One of nine sisters and one brother born to a Quaker family, Patience grew up in New Jersey and discovered her talent for sculpting figures early on. Widowed and with children to support, she moved in with another sister, gave up vegetarianism and began to work in wax made from animal fats. She and her sister had studios in New York and Philadelphia, and sculpted portrait heads and full figures of many notables. She moved to London in 1772 with a letter of introduction from Ben Franklin, sculpted everyone from William Pitt to the king and queen and was resourceful enough to put notes about what she learned about possible war tactics into the busts she shipped back home. Unfortunately, the only one of her waxworks to survive is the figure of Pitt, in his crypt at Westminster Abbey. Full of fascinating detail, the text is well-matched by lively gouache and pastel illustrations, vibrant with color and texture. While it is too dense for younger children, middle-graders will no doubt be fascinated. (author note, timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-8050-6770-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2007

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BROWN GIRL DREAMING

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

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  • Newbery Honor Book

A multiaward–winning author recalls her childhood and the joy of becoming a writer.

Writing in free verse, Woodson starts with her 1963 birth in Ohio during the civil rights movement, when America is “a country caught / / between Black and White.” But while evoking names such as Malcolm, Martin, James, Rosa and Ruby, her story is also one of family: her father’s people in Ohio and her mother’s people in South Carolina. Moving south to live with her maternal grandmother, she is in a world of sweet peas and collards, getting her hair straightened and avoiding segregated stores with her grandmother. As the writer inside slowly grows, she listens to family stories and fills her days and evenings as a Jehovah’s Witness, activities that continue after a move to Brooklyn to reunite with her mother. The gift of a composition notebook, the experience of reading John Steptoe’s Stevie and Langston Hughes’ poetry, and seeing letters turn into words and words into thoughts all reinforce her conviction that “[W]ords are my brilliance.” Woodson cherishes her memories and shares them with a graceful lyricism; her lovingly wrought vignettes of country and city streets will linger long after the page is turned.

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-25251-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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FARMER GEORGE PLANTS A NATION

A pleasing new picture book looks at George Washington’s career through an agricultural lens. Sprinkling excerpts from his letters and diaries throughout to allow its subject to speak in his own voice, the narrative makes a convincing case for Washington’s place as the nation’s First Farmer. His innovations, in addition to applying the scientific method to compost, include a combination plow-tiller-harrow, the popularization of the mule and a two-level barn that put horses to work at threshing grain in any weather. Thomas integrates Washington’s military and political adventures into her account, making clear that it was his frustration as a farmer that caused him to join the revolutionary cause. Lane’s oil illustrations, while sometimes stiff, appropriately portray a man who was happiest when working the land. Backmatter includes a timeline, author’s notes on both Mount Vernon and Washington the slaveholder, resources for further exploration and a bibliography. (Picture book/biography. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-59078-460-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2008

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