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An attractive volume digs deeply into stories of ancient American skeletons.

Walker, a Sibert Award winner, and Owsley, division head of physical anthropology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, join forces to bring alive the history of Paleoamericans, a term used in the book to mean human remains older than 8,000 years. The narrative focuses on the Kennewick man, a skeleton found in Kennewick, Wash., in 1996, but it also looks at Paleoamerican remains from Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and California. It describes the exhaustive detail in which scientists study the Paleoamerican skeletons, artifacts found with them and excavation sites. Smooth writing, although not as compelling as Walker’s Written in Bone (2009), takes readers through two intensive exams of the Kennewick skeleton done five years apart (Owsley was a member of the second examination team). Juxtaposing the two exams illustrates how new technologies and fresh eyes can change scientists’ understanding of such remains, a major theme throughout the book. Another recurring topic concerns how the Paleoamerican findings shed light on the origins and routes of humans who first settled North America, important questions still unresolved. Color photographs and diagrams with helpful captions extend the text; occasional sidebars expand on topics like bone fractures and radiocarbon dating. The final chapter highlights a fascinating reconstruction of the Kennewick man’s face and head. A special treat for archaeology buffs. (source notes, bibliography, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 12 & up) 


Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7613-7457-2

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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From the Pocket Change Collective series

Small but mighty necessary reading.

A miniature manifesto for radical queer acceptance that weaves together the personal and political.

Eli, a cis gay white Jewish man, uses his own identities and experiences to frame and acknowledge his perspective. In the prologue, Eli compares the global Jewish community to the global queer community, noting, “We don’t always get it right, but the importance of showing up for other Jews has been carved into the DNA of what it means to be Jewish. It is my dream that queer people develop the same ideology—what I like to call a Global Queer Conscience.” He details his own isolating experiences as a queer adolescent in an Orthodox Jewish community and reflects on how he and so many others would have benefitted from a robust and supportive queer community. The rest of the book outlines 10 principles based on the belief that an expectation of mutual care and concern across various other dimensions of identity can be integrated into queer community values. Eli’s prose is clear, straightforward, and powerful. While he makes some choices that may be divisive—for example, using the initialism LGBTQIAA+ which includes “ally”—he always makes clear those are his personal choices and that the language is ever evolving.

Small but mighty necessary reading. (resources) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09368-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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From the Pocket Change Collective series

Brief yet inspirational, this story will galvanize youth to use their voices for change.

Teen environmental activist and founder of the nonprofit Hannah4Change, Testa shares her story and the science around plastic pollution in her fight to save our planet.

Testa’s connection to and respect for nature compelled her to begin championing animal causes at the age of 10, and this desire to have an impact later propelled her to dedicate her life to fighting plastic pollution. Starting with the history of plastic and how it’s produced, Testa acknowledges the benefits of plastics for humanity but also the many ways it harms our planet. Instead of relying on recycling—which is both insufficient and ineffective—she urges readers to follow two additional R’s: “refuse” and “raise awareness.” Readers are encouraged to do their part, starting with small things like refusing to use plastic straws and water bottles and eventually working up to using their voices to influence business and policy change. In the process, she highlights other youth advocates working toward the same cause. Short chapters include personal examples, such as observations of plastic pollution in Mauritius, her maternal grandparents’ birthplace. Testa makes her case not only against plastic pollution, but also for the work she’s done, resulting in something of a college-admissions–essay tone. Nevertheless, the first-person accounts paired with science will have an impact on readers. Unfortunately, no sources are cited and the lack of backmatter is a missed opportunity.

Brief yet inspirational, this story will galvanize youth to use their voices for change. (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-22333-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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