A story about what running really is: competing with other runners and not against them.

READ REVIEW

MIGHTY MOE

THE TRUE STORY OF A THIRTEEN-YEAR-OLD RUNNING REVOLUTIONARY

A story lost to history illuminates the unique way sports support feminism.

In 1967, the longest distance women could run in the Olympics was 800 meters. Doctors feared running long distances would destroy women’s reproductive organs; sports officials thought running was unladylike and set age limitations and capped distances females could run. But for Maureen Wilton, a white girl, running was how she felt most like herself and how she found her people. After three years of training, Maureen ran a marathon—and set a world record—at the age of 13. In her hometown of Toronto and beyond, Maureen became known as Mighty Moe, seen as part of the future of women’s competitive running. But with the growing pressure and the crumbling of her running community, Maureen stopped running. Shifting storylines sidetrack Maureen’s life to explain running techniques and history and explore how sports were another front in the battle for equality, which unfortunately undercuts the power of Maureen’s story and her eventual return to running. For when Maureen began running again in 2003, she rediscovered the community she had lost—the community that has seen people run races for fun and more women completing races than men.

A story about what running really is: competing with other runners and not against them. (Biography. 12-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-374-31160-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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DANCING WHEELS

A stereotype about people with disabilities is shattered by this introduction to a dance company known as Dancing Wheels, a group composed of “sit down” and “stand-up” dancers. The story begins with Mary Fletcher-Verdi, born with spina bifida, a condition that causes weakness in the legs and spine. Mary always wanted to dance, and, encouraged by a family who focused on what she could do rather than what she couldn’t, she studied the art and eventually formed a mixed company, some who dance on their legs, and some who dance in wheelchairs. What she accomplished can be seen in this photo journal of the group’s dance workshop in which beginners and experienced dancers study and rehearse. Along the way, McMahon (One Belfast Boy, 1999, etc.) intersperses the history of the group, some details about the dancers, their families, and the rehearsal process that leads up to the final performance. Three children are featured, Jenny a wheelchair dancer, Devin, her stand-up partner, and Sabatino, the young son of Mary’s partner. The focus on these youngsters gives the reader a sense of their personalities and their lives with their families. Godt’s (Listen for the Bus, not reviewed, etc.) color photographs detail every aspect of the story and show the dancers at home and in rehearsal, interacting with each other, having fun, and finally performaning. They convey the dancer’s sense of joy as well as the commitment to the dance as an art form felt by the adult directors and teachers. An excellent book for helping children and adults expand their understanding about the abilities of the “disabled.” (Nonfiction. 7-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-395-88889-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2000

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A thorough recounting of Nansen’s unfairly half-forgotten achievements—colorful, exhausting, compelling reading.

LOCKED IN ICE

NANSEN'S DARING QUEST FOR THE NORTH POLE

A vivid (sometimes all too much so) account of Norwegian scientist, explorer, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Fridtjof Nansen’s 1893-1896 try for the North Pole.

Though the Nansen expedition was possibly even more meticulously planned than Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic venture, both had similar results—neither reached their goals, but both endured weary months of such wild mischances that it seems miraculous that neither lost a man. Lourie (Jack London and the Klondike Gold Rush, 2017, etc.) draws generously from Nansen’s detailed records to describe the special gear and provisions he, in many cases, invented or improvised (“meat-chocolate,” yum, giving way in later, more desperate, times to “cold boiled bear and a few ounces of bread”), to introduce his human and canine crews (the latter eventually becoming their own food supply), and to retrace the trek’s route. The highly informative appendix includes a wealth of information, including conversations with modern polar explorers that present a picture of what being out on the arctic ice is like…highlighted by guidelines for pooping outdoors in subzero temperatures. Though the many sepia-toned maps and photographs are too often dim and foggy, the images add both flavor and immediacy to the narrative. Only glancing mention is made of all Nansen learned from the Inuit residents who aided him.

A thorough recounting of Nansen’s unfairly half-forgotten achievements—colorful, exhausting, compelling reading. (author’s note, aftermatter, appendix, sources, bibliography and resources, websites, image credits, index) (Nonfiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Jan. 29, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-13764-7

Page Count: 337

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2019

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