WE WERE THERE, TOO!

YOUNG PEOPLE IN U.S. HISTORY

“We’re not taught about younger people who have made a difference. Studying history almost makes you feel like you’re not a real person.” This remark by a girl Hoose had interviewed for It’s Our World Too: Stories of Young People Who Are Making a Difference (1993), inspired him to embark on this major project. He follows the traditional arc of US history, from Columbus and the Colonies to hippies and the computer revolution, by relating the stories of individual young people—both familiar and little known. Each three- to four-page narrative begins with a quote (often—when available—from the person herself), and ends with a few lines describing “what happened” to the person in her adult life. Illustrations (mostly black-and-white print and photo reproductions with ownership credits at the end) on every page and sidebars of interesting historical tidbits or explanations make every spread inviting, and should encourage browsing. Hoose’s short entries are accessible and give a good sense of the historical process by using attributed quotes and explanations of how each individual’s story survived. However, for the curious, he provides no direct references to his sources. His selected sources at the end—grouped by chapter—will give readers a general indication of where to go next, especially as he marks those most appropriate for young readers with an asterisk. This approach to history will intrigue and delight readers. Frederick Douglass and Sacajawea take their place alongside Caroline Pickersgill (who in 1813 helped her mother and aunt stitch the flag that Francis Scott Key wrote about), and Jessica Govea (whose education as a union organizer started when she was a four-year-old migrant worker in California). Hoose brings his narrative firmly and elegantly to the 21st century with contemporary examples. An index of proper names and topics may help kids with reports, but for those wanting a broad but approachable book on US history, this is a thoroughly enjoyable choice. (sources, index, picture credits) (Nonfiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-374-38252-2

Page Count: 276

Publisher: Melanie Kroupa/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2001

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A beautiful, powerful reflection on a tragic history.

ON THE HORIZON

In spare verse, Lowry reflects on moments in her childhood, including the bombings of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. 

When she was a child, Lowry played at Waikiki Beach with her grandmother while her father filmed. In the old home movie, the USS Arizona appears through the mist on the horizon. Looking back at her childhood in Hawaii and then Japan, Lowry reflects on the bombings that began and ended a war and how they affected and connected everyone involved. In Part 1, she shares the lives and actions of sailors at Pearl Harbor. Part 2 is stories of civilians in Hiroshima affected by the bombing. Part 3 presents her own experience as an American in Japan shortly after the war ended. The poems bring the haunting human scale of war to the forefront, like the Christmas cards a sailor sent days before he died or the 4-year-old who was buried with his red tricycle after Hiroshima. All the personal stories—of sailors, civilians, and Lowry herself—are grounding. There is heartbreak and hope, reminding readers to reflect on the past to create a more peaceful future. Lowry uses a variety of poetry styles, identifying some, such as triolet and haiku. Pak’s graphite illustrations are like still shots of history, adding to the emotion and somber feeling. He includes some sailors of color among the mostly white U.S. forces; Lowry is white.

A beautiful, powerful reflection on a tragic history. (author’s note, bibliography) (Memoir/poetry. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-12940-0

Page Count: 80

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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Despite its not insignificant flaws, this book provides insights into the lives of important women, many of whom have...

SHE DID IT!

21 WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE WAY WE THINK

Caldecott Medalist McCully delves into the lives of extraordinary American women.

Beginning with the subject of her earlier biography Ida M. Tarbell (2014), McCully uses a chronological (by birth year) structure to organize her diverse array of subjects, each of whom is allotted approximately 10 pages. Lovely design enhances the text with a full-color portrait of each woman and small additional illustrations in the author/illustrator’s traditional style, plenty of white space, and spare use of dynamic colors. This survey provides greater depth than most, but even so, some topics go troublingly uncontextualized to the point of reinforcing stereotype: “In slavery, Black women had been punished for trying to improve their appearance. Now that they were free, many cared a great deal about grooming”; “President Roosevelt ordered all Japanese Americans on the West Coast to report to internment camps to keep them from providing aid to the enemy Japanese forces.” Of the 21 surveyed, one Japanese-American woman (Patsy Mink) is highlighted, as are one Latinx woman (Dolores Huerta), one Mohegan woman (Gladys Tantaquidgeon), three black women (Madam C.J. Walker, Ella Baker, and Shirley Chisholm), four out queer white women (Billie Jean King, Barbara Gittings, Jane Addams, and Isadora Duncan; the latter two’s sexualities are not discussed), two Jewish women (Gertrude Berg and Vera Rubin), and three women with known disabilities (Addams, Dorothea Lange, and Temple Grandin).

Despite its not insignificant flaws, this book provides insights into the lives of important women, many of whom have otherwise yet to be featured in nonfiction for young readers. (sources) (Collective biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-01991-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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