Dud pix but a high-flying commemoration nonetheless.

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MOON MISSION

THE EPIC 400-YEAR JOURNEY TO APOLLO 11

A vivid tribute to the scientific insights, technological ingenuity, and sheer brass that put men on the moon in 1969 and brought them back alive.

Brouwer pitches his tale as a triumph over “life-or-death challenges that no humans had faced before” and writes in second person to crank up its immediacy. He puts readers right into the cramped spacecraft with Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins as he chronicles the heady mix of tricky bits and narrowly averted crises that were Apollo 11: “Yes, you are almost out of fuel. You know that the moon has nearly zero atmosphere. You can’t glide. The Eagle is dropping like a piano.” In between dramatic episodes he also trots in a large cast of early and contemporary scientists—from Tycho Brahe (“a true geek”) and Alessandro Volta to Emmy Noether and Katherine Johnson—whose work made the mission possible. And, along with the customary nods to space conditions (“Eight days, three men, one small space, no showers and lots of body gas”) and technological advances like Velcro, he covers several less-common sidelights, such as how the Apollo astronauts got around the problem of affordable life insurance and the canard that the moon landing was a hoax. Generous as it is, the array of small, often murky black-and-white photos and technical drawings doesn’t measure up to the narrative’s vim, but hefty sets of print, web, and video resources at the end will help bring the era and the achievement to life.

Dud pix but a high-flying commemoration nonetheless. (index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0036-3

Page Count: 132

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 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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An interesting, engaging collection of snapshot profiles that will encourage readers to explore further and perhaps pursue...

TRAILBLAZERS

33 WOMEN IN SCIENCE WHO CHANGED THE WORLD

With STEM now the hot trend in education and concerted efforts to encourage girls to explore scientific fields, this collective biography is most timely.

Swaby offers 33 brief profiles of some of the world’s most influential women in science, organized in loose groupings: technology and innovation, earth and stars, health and medicine, and biology. Some of the figures, such as Mary Anning, Rachel Carson, Florence Nightingale, Sally Ride, and Marie Tharp, have been written about for young readers, but most have not. Among the lesser known are Stephanie Kwolek, the American chemist who invented Kevlar; Yvonne Brill, the Canadian engineer who invented a thruster used in satellites; Elsie Widdowson, the British nutritionist who demonstrated how important fluid and salt are for the body to properly function; and Italian neuroembryologist Rita Levi-Montalcini, who made breakthrough discoveries in nerve-cell growth. Swaby emphasizes that most of these scientists had to overcome great obstacles before achieving their successes and receiving recognition due to gender-based discrimination. She also notes that people are not born brilliant scientists and that it’s through repeated observation, experimentation, and testing of ideas that important discoveries are made.

An interesting, engaging collection of snapshot profiles that will encourage readers to explore further and perhaps pursue their own scientific curiosities. (source notes, bibliography) (Collective biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-55396-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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