A moving account of an unstoppable woman.

A biography of a journalist, human rights advocate, and truth teller.

Arato opens with a look at Ruth Gruber’s (1911-2016) childhood. The children of Russian Jewish immigrants, she was born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where everyone she knew was Jewish and spoke Yiddish. At school she discovered a wider world with Irish, Polish, and Black students and teachers. She was a brilliant student, entering college at age 15, majoring in German, and later becoming the youngest person ever to earn a Ph.D. While studying in Germany, she observed the rise of Nazism and the escalating antisemitism. Back in the United Sates, she began writing for the Herald Tribune, but she knew her life’s purpose was to fight injustice with words and images. She worked on newspaper and government assignments that took her to Nazi Germany, Poland, Siberia, Alaska, and, in 1944, to Europe and back, escorting 954 mostly Jewish refugees to a camp in Oswego, New York, where she remained as their advocate and friend. She listened and wrote of their horrific experiences and fought tirelessly for them to be given permanent status after the war. This exciting, accessible narrative relates Ruth’s exploits in meticulously researched detail. Insets provide salient information, while Muñoz’s softly hued illustrations carefully highlight key events.

A moving account of an unstoppable woman. (author’s note, photographs, glossary, source notes, timeline, selected bibliography, index) (Biography. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 1, 2023

ISBN: 9781728445618

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023


Though a bit loose around the edges, a charmer nevertheless.

Tales of a fourth grade ne’er-do-well.

It seems that young Jordan is stuck in a never-ending string of bad luck. Sure, no one’s perfect (except maybe goody-two-shoes William Feranek), but Jordan can’t seem to keep his attention focused on the task at hand. Try as he may, things always go a bit sideways, much to his educators’ chagrin. But Jordan promises himself that fourth grade will be different. As the year unfolds, it does prove to be different, but in a way Jordan couldn’t possibly have predicted. This humorous memoir perfectly captures the square-peg-in-a-round-hole feeling many kids feel and effectively heightens that feeling with comic situations and a splendid villain. Jordan’s teacher, Mrs. Fisher, makes an excellent foil, and the book’s 1970s setting allows for her cruelty to go beyond anything most contemporary readers could expect. Unfortunately, the story begins to run out of steam once Mrs. Fisher exits. Recollections spiral, losing their focus and leading to a more “then this happened” and less cause-and-effect structure. The anecdotes are all amusing and Jordan is an endearing protagonist, but the book comes dangerously close to wearing out its welcome with sheer repetitiveness. Thankfully, it ends on a high note, one pleasant and hopeful enough that readers will overlook some of the shabbier qualities. Jordan is White and Jewish while there is some diversity among his classmates; Mrs. Fisher is White.

Though a bit loose around the edges, a charmer nevertheless. (Memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-64723-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020



Finally, an astro-memoir for kids that really gets down to the nitty-gritty.

A former space shuttle pilot and International Space Station commander recalls in unusually exacting detail what it’s like to be an astronaut.

In the same vein as his more expansive adult title How To Astronaut (2020), Virts describes and reflects on his experiences with frank and photographic precision—from riding the infamous “Vomit Comet” to what astronauts wear, eat, and get paid. He also writes vividly about what Earth looks like from near orbit: the different colors of deserts, for instance, and storms that “are so powerful that the flashes from the lightning illuminate the inside of the space station.” With an eye to younger audiences with stars in their eyes, he describes space programs of the past and near future in clear, simple language and embeds pep talks about the importance of getting a good education and ignoring nay-sayers. For readers eager to start their training early, he also tucks in the occasional preparatory “Astronaut Activity,” such as taking some (unused) household item apart…and then putting it back together. Lozano supplements the small color photos of our planet from space and astronauts at work with helpful labeled images, including two types of spacesuits and a space shuttle, as well as cartoon spot art depicting diverse figures.

Finally, an astro-memoir for kids that really gets down to the nitty-gritty. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 11, 2023

ISBN: 9781523514564

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2023

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