A children’s book that gives readers a thorough, enriching new look at the moon.
The moon certainly has its share of folklore involving werewolves or green cheese. But what about the facts? How big is it, and what’s it really made of? And how do we teach kids these facts in an interesting way? This gorgeously written children’s book answers all those questions, and many others. It begins with an overview of the solar system, and then focuses on the moon’s formation. It eventually covers everything from lunar dust and the moon’s effect on tides to the dark regions called maria, thought by Galileo to be vast seas on the moon’s surface. It also covers, in great detail, the 1969 Apollo 11 landing, complete with facts and figures regarding the astronauts’ journey. It even takes a peek at NASA’s most recent moon exploration tool called LADEE (Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer). The New York Times once dubbed Simon (Coral Reefs, 2014, etc.) “the dean of [children’s science] writers” so it’s not surprising that his latest tome is a wonderfully thorough, engaging science book. It’s often easy for kids to pass off science as boring (all those facts!), but Simon truly understands how to speak to his audience. His language is spot-on: never too dry, but also never too conversational. His prose urges young and old readers to press on and learn more about each topic, and the glossy photographic images add to the wonder of the words on the page. Another brilliant addition is the glossary at the back: It details, by page, the history and importance of each image, from shots of craters on the moon’s surface to historic events. This attention to detail will definitely inspire children to do further research; as such, this work would be an asset in schools.
An educational, engaging science text.

Pub Date: May 1, 2014


Page Count: 33

Publisher: StarWalk Kids Media

Review Posted Online: July 9, 2014

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Ultimately adds little to conversations about race.


A popular YouTube series on race, “Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man,” turns how-to manual and history lesson for young readers.

Acho is a former NFL player and second-generation Nigerian American who cites his upbringing in predominantly White spaces as well as his tenure on largely Black football teams as qualifications for facilitating the titular conversations about anti-Black racism. The broad range of subjects covered here includes implicit bias, cultural appropriation, and systemic racism. Each chapter features brief overviews of American history, personal anecdotes of Acho’s struggles with his own anti-Black biases, and sections titled “Let’s Get Uncomfortable.” The book’s centering of Whiteness and White readers seems to show up, to the detriment of its subject matter, both in Acho’s accounts of his upbringing and his thought processes regarding race. The overall tone unfortunately conveys a sense of expecting little from a younger generation who may have a greater awareness than he did at the same age and who, therefore, may already be uncomfortable with racial injustice itself. The attempt at an avuncular tone disappointingly reads as condescending, revealing that, despite his online success with adults, the author is ill-equipped to be writing for middle-grade readers. Chapters dedicated to explaining to White readers why they shouldn’t use the N-word and how valuable White allyship is may make readers of color (and many White readers) bristle with indignation and discomfort despite Acho’s positive intentions.

Ultimately adds little to conversations about race. (glossary, FAQ, recommended reading, references) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-80106-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2021

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A guidebook for taking action against racism.

The clear title and bold, colorful illustrations will immediately draw attention to this book, designed to guide each reader on a personal journey to work to dismantle racism. In the author’s note, Jewell begins with explanations about word choice, including the use of the terms “folx,” because it is gender neutral, and “global majority,” noting that marginalized communities of color are actually the majority in the world. She also chooses to capitalize Black, Brown, and Indigenous as a way of centering these communities’ voices; "white" is not capitalized. Organized in four sections—identity, history, taking action, and working in solidarity—each chapter builds on the lessons of the previous section. Underlined words are defined in the glossary, but Jewell unpacks concepts around race in an accessible way, bringing attention to common misunderstandings. Activities are included at the end of each chapter; they are effective, prompting both self-reflection and action steps from readers. The activities are designed to not be written inside the actual book; instead Jewell invites readers to find a special notebook and favorite pen and use that throughout. Combining the disruption of common fallacies, spotlights on change makers, the author’s personal reflections, and a call to action, this powerful book has something for all young people no matter what stage they are at in terms of awareness or activism.

Essential. (author’s note, further reading, glossary, select bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4521-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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