With its generous sampling of primary sources and detailed accounts of historical events, this volume offers much for the...

BOSTON HISTORY FOR KIDS

FROM RED COATS TO RED SOX, WITH 21 ACTIVITIES

From the For Kids series

Panchyk offers a 400-year history of Boston, covering the arrival of European settlers through the Boston Marathon bombing.

The book’s timeline begins in 1614 with Capt. John Smith exploring the Massachusetts coast. Chapter 1, “Roots,” describes the first European settlers and their arrival in Massachusetts, Boston’s geology, and the origins of the city’s name. Native Americans are mentioned only once in passing, until the last page of the chapter, which offers an activity that discusses the origins of the name Massachusetts and encourages readers to search for Native names of places near them and to see “which tribes lived in your area in centuries past.” Chapter 2, “Early Roots,” describes early Colonial government and laws, the 1638 earthquake, the smallpox outbreak, and the witch trials. A small column tells of the banning of Native Americans from Boston in 1675 after King Philip’s War, a ban that was not repealed until 2005, and the mass jailing of Native people on the harbor’s islands. Chapters on the Revolution, the post-Revolution period of development and immigration, and modern Boston detail major events, development of the city, and cultural notes, with almost all of the highlights placing the contributions of white Americans at the center. Suggested activities range in nature from creative writing (write a poem inspired by Emerson, write newspaper headlines) to science (an archaeological dig), architecture, and math (home-run percentage). Some of the activities offer a deeper level of critical thinking suitable for older children, while others are simplistic.

With its generous sampling of primary sources and detailed accounts of historical events, this volume offers much for the young history enthusiast, but it misses an opportunity to incorporate Indigenous people and non-Europeans in a meaningful way. (timeline, resources, index) (Nonfiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: April 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61373-712-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care.

OIL

In 1977, the oil carrier Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of oil into a formerly pristine Alaskan ocean inlet, killing millions of birds, animals, and fish. Despite a cleanup, crude oil is still there.

The Winters foretold the destructive powers of the atomic bomb allusively in The Secret Project (2017), leaving the actuality to the backmatter. They make no such accommodations to young audiences in this disturbing book. From the dark front cover, on which oily blobs conceal a seabird, to the rescuer’s sad face on the back, the mother-son team emphasizes the disaster. A relatively easy-to-read and poetically heightened text introduces the situation. Oil is pumped from the Earth “all day long, all night long, / day after day, year after year” in “what had been unspoiled land, home to Native people // and thousands of caribou.” The scale of extraction is huge: There’s “a giant pipeline” leading to “enormous ships.” Then, crash. Rivers of oil gush out over three full-bleed wordless pages. Subsequent scenes show rocks, seabirds, and sea otters covered with oil. Finally, 30 years later, animals have returned to a cheerful scene. “But if you lift a rock… // oil / seeps / up.” For an adult reader, this is heartbreaking. How much more difficult might this be for an animal-loving child?

Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care. (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3077-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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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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