Inspirational for young naturalists.

THE BUG GIRL

A TRUE STORY

A fourth grade girl tells how her mother helped her change from being bullied to being celebrated—for her love of bugs.

Sophia’s voice is conversational as she relates how she became entranced by butterflies in a butterfly conservatory at the age of 2½. She keeps the same tone throughout, whether she is mentioning that bugs are important to the world or that she had a thriving bug club until, in first grade, all the other children lost interest in bugs. Explaining that at first she doesn't mind being ridiculed by classmates for her entomological enthusiasm, Sophia matter-of-factly delivers the chilling, game-changing anecdote: She brought a grasshopper to school one day, and “they knocked that beautiful grasshopper off my shoulder and stomped on it till it was dead.” She went home and cried, and her single mother offered her comfort but apparently did not report the bullying to the school. Eventually, her mother does come up with a brilliant solution: she contacts entomologists for help. After emails and postcards pour in, Canadian media outlets pick up the story. Sophia modestly asserts her goal: “I wanted to get the word out that it’s okay to love bugs.” The excellent, loosely outlined watercolor illustrations depict Sophia and her mom as white with background racial diversity, and they complement the gentle textual humor. Final pages offer further, mostly accurate bug information. (Many would disagree that there are only “two major types of arthropods.”)

Inspirational for young naturalists. (Picture book/memoir. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-64593-1

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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A unique angle on a watershed moment in the civil rights era.

I AM RUBY BRIDGES

The New Orleans school child who famously broke the color line in 1960 while surrounded by federal marshals describes the early days of her experience from a 6-year-old’s perspective.

Bridges told her tale to younger children in 2009’s Ruby Bridges Goes to School, but here the sensibility is more personal, and the sometimes-shocking historical photos have been replaced by uplifting painted scenes. “I didn’t find out what being ‘the first’ really meant until the day I arrived at this new school,” she writes. Unfrightened by the crowd of “screaming white people” that greets her at the school’s door (she thinks it’s like Mardi Gras) but surprised to find herself the only child in her classroom, and even the entire building, she gradually realizes the significance of her act as (in Smith’s illustration) she compares a small personal photo to the all-White class photos posted on a bulletin board and sees the difference. As she reflects on her new understanding, symbolic scenes first depict other dark-skinned children marching into classes in her wake to friendly greetings from lighter-skinned classmates (“School is just school,” she sensibly concludes, “and kids are just kids”) and finally an image of the bright-eyed icon posed next to a soaring bridge of reconciliation. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A unique angle on a watershed moment in the civil rights era. (author and illustrator notes, glossary) (Autobiographical picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-75388-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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A good introduction to observation, data, and trying again.

CECE LOVES SCIENCE

From the Cece and the Scientific Method series

Cece loves asking “why” and “what if.”

Her parents encourage her, as does her science teacher, Ms. Curie (a wink to adult readers). When Cece and her best friend, Isaac, pair up for a science project, they choose zoology, brainstorming questions they might research. They decide to investigate whether dogs eat vegetables, using Cece’s schnauzer, Einstein, and the next day they head to Cece’s lab (inside her treehouse). Wearing white lab coats, the two observe their subject and then offer him different kinds of vegetables, alone and with toppings. Cece is discouraged when Einstein won’t eat them. She complains to her parents, “Maybe I’m not a real scientist after all….Our project was boring.” Just then, Einstein sniffs Cece’s dessert, leading her to try a new way to get Einstein to eat vegetables. Cece learns that “real scientists have fun finding answers too.” Harrison’s clean, bright illustrations add expression and personality to the story. Science report inserts are reminiscent of The Magic Schoolbus books, with less detail. Biracial Cece is a brown, freckled girl with curly hair; her father is white, and her mother has brown skin and long, black hair; Isaac and Ms. Curie both have pale skin and dark hair. While the book doesn’t pack a particularly strong emotional or educational punch, this endearing protagonist earns a place on the children’s STEM shelf.

A good introduction to observation, data, and trying again. (glossary) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-249960-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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