SECRET ENGINEER

HOW EMILY ROEBLING BUILT THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE

Inspiring.

Emily Warren Roebling was way ahead of her time.

As a young girl she studied math and science. She married Washington Roebling, an engineer whose father, John Roebling, was known for his innovative ideas. He designed a suspension bridge spanning the treacherous waters of the East River that would employ new technology and construction methods. When John died, Washington became the chief engineer. Working tirelessly, he went down into the dark, sweltering caissons to dig at the bottom of the river. Like many of the workers, Washington contracted “the bends,” also known as caisson disease, causing him to be incapacitated for years, only able to see the bridge from his window. For more than 10 years, Emily became his go-between, bringing daily plans to the work site and reporting progress back to her husband. She taught herself to understand and interpret equations and drawings, and she was able to answer any questions and negotiate with confidence. In 1883, to calm the public’s fears, she proudly took the first trip across the bridge. Dougherty’s lively narration of the events provides readers with an accessible, factual account of a remarkable woman’s accomplishments. Brightly colored illustrations enhance the action, presented in double-page spreads and framed vignettes, with blueprints and thumbnail informational sidebars and incorporating equations and engineering terms. The endpapers display historical and contemporary photos. All characters depicted are white.

Inspiring. (author’s note, glossary, additional biographical information, bibliography, further reading) (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-15532-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

MORE THAN PEACH

An inspirational look at one girl’s quest to make sure that all skin tones are visible and available in the classroom.

A Black girl’s simple observation propels her into activism.

Woodard, who launched the More Than Peach Project—which arranges for classrooms and children in need to receive kits that include art supplies and boxes of multicultural crayons (crayons in a variety of skin tones)—relates the incident that sparked her journey. As the book begins, she is dropped off at school and notices that her family’s skin tone differs from that of her classmates. While it is clear that she is one of a few children of color at school, that difference isn’t really felt until her friends start asking for the “skin-color” crayon when they mean peach. She’s bothered that no one else seems to notice that skin comes in many colors, so she devises a unique way of bringing everyone’s attention to that fact. With support from her family and her school, she encourages her fellow classmates to rethink their language and starts an initiative to ensure that everyone’s skin tone is represented in each crayon box. Appealing, realistic artwork depicts Woodard’s experiences, while endpapers feature More Than Peach crayon boxes and childlike illustrations of kids of different ethnicities doing various activities. The story is stirring and will motivate budding activists. (This book was reviewed digitally; the review has been updated for factual accuracy.)

An inspirational look at one girl’s quest to make sure that all skin tones are visible and available in the classroom. (note from Woodard, information on Woodard’s journey into activism, instructions on starting a drive) (Picture-book biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-80927-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

BASKETBALL DREAMS

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses.

An NBA star pays tribute to the influence of his grandfather.

In the same vein as his Long Shot (2009), illustrated by Frank Morrison, this latest from Paul prioritizes values and character: “My granddad Papa Chilly had dreams that came true,” he writes, “so maybe if I listen and watch him, / mine will too.” So it is that the wide-eyed Black child in the simply drawn illustrations rises early to get to the playground hoops before anyone else, watches his elder working hard and respecting others, hears him cheering along with the rest of the family from the stands during games, and recalls in a prose afterword that his grandfather wasn’t one to lecture but taught by example. Paul mentions in both the text and the backmatter that Papa Chilly was the first African American to own a service station in North Carolina (his presumed dream) but not that he was killed in a robbery, which has the effect of keeping the overall tone positive and the instructional content one-dimensional. Figures in the pictures are mostly dark-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-81003-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

Close Quickview