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

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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A small column tells of the banning of Native Americans from Boston in 1675 after King Philip’s War, a ban that was not repealed until 2005, and the mass jailing of Native people on the harbor’s islands.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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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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The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for...

TWO MEN AND A CAR

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT, AL CAPONE, AND A CADILLAC V-8

A custom-built, bulletproof limo links two historical figures who were pre-eminent in more or less different spheres.

Garland admits that a claim that FDR was driven to Congress to deliver his “Day of Infamy” speech in a car that once belonged to Capone rests on shaky evidence. He nonetheless uses the anecdote as a launchpad for twin portraits of contemporaries who occupy unique niches in this country’s history but had little in common. Both were smart, ambitious New Yorkers and were young when their fathers died, but they definitely “headed in opposite directions.” As he fills his biographical sketches with standard-issue facts and has disappointingly little to say about the car itself (which was commissioned by Capone in 1928 and still survives), this outing seems largely intended to be a vehicle for the dark, heavy illustrations. These are done in muted hues with densely scratched surfaces and angled so that the two men, the period backgrounds against which they are posed, and the car have monumental looks. It’s a reach to bill this, as the author does, a “story about America,” but it does at least offer a study in contrasts featuring two of America’s most renowned citizens. Most of the human figures are white in the art, but some group scenes include a few with darker skin.

The car gets shortchanged, but comparing the divergent career paths of its (putative) two riders may give readers food for thought. (timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-88448-620-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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