Pure gold for readers in search of role models who buck conventional masculine expectations.

GROUNDBREAKING GUYS

40 MEN WHO BECAME GREAT BY DOING GOOD

Single-page profiles of men who were guided by their better angels.

“History books are full of men who have made their mark,” Peters writes. “But these great men were not always good men.” So this atypical gallery focuses on men who served communities, demonstrated real respect for others, or otherwise acted on worthy principles. With one exception, men presented were born in or at least lived into the 20th century. That exception, John Stuart Mill, leads off for his then-radical notions about human (including women’s) rights and the “tyranny of the majority.” The ensuing multiracial, multinational roster mixes the predictable likes of Cesar Chavez, Thích Nhất Hạnh, and Roberto Clemente with Chinese diplomat Feng-Shan Ho (who helped “hundreds, and possibly thousands” of Jews escape Nazi-occupied Vienna), Indian child-labor activist Kailash Satyarthi, Malala Yousafzai’s dad and champion, Ziauddin, transgender activist Kylar W. Broadus, and socially conscious creative artists including Lin-Manuel Miranda and Kendrick Lamar. Though intent on highlighting good works, the author doesn’t shy away from personal details—she identifies six entrants as gay and one, Freddie Mercury, as bisexual—or darker ones, such as Harvey Milk’s assassination and Anthony Bourdain’s suicide. Washington works with a severely limited menu of facial expressions, but each subject in his full-page accompanying portraits radiates confidence and dignity.

Pure gold for readers in search of role models who buck conventional masculine expectations. (source notes) (Collective biography. 11-14)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-52941-9

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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Macy wheels out another significant and seldom explored chapter in women’s history.

MOTOR GIRLS

HOW WOMEN TOOK THE WHEEL AND DROVE BOLDLY INTO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Well-documented proof that, when it came to early automobiles, it wasn’t just men who took the wheel.

Despite relentlessly flashy page design that is more distracting than otherwise and a faint typeface sure to induce eyestrain, this companion to Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (2011) chronicles decided shifts in gender attitudes and expectations as it puts women (American women, mostly) behind the wheel in the first decades of the 20th century. Sidebar profiles and features, photos, advertisements, and clippings from contemporary magazines and newspapers festoon a revved-up narrative that is often set in angular blocks for added drama. Along with paying particular attention to women who went on the road to campaign for the vote and drove ambulances and other motor vehicles during World War I, Macy recounts notable speed and endurance races, and she introduces skilled drivers/mechanics such as Alice Ramsey and Joan Newton Cuneo. She also diversifies the predominantly white cast with nods to Madam C.J. Walker, her daughter, A’Lelia (both avid motorists), and the wartime Colored Women’s Motor Corps. An intro by Danica Patrick, checklists of “motoring milestones,” and an extended account of an 1895 race run and won by men do more for the page count than the overall story—but it’s nonetheless a story worth the telling.

Macy wheels out another significant and seldom explored chapter in women’s history. (index, statistics, source notes, annotated reading list) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2697-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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Exhilarating—as well as hilarious, enraging, or both at once depending on the reader.

ASTRONAUTS

WOMEN ON THE FINAL FRONTIER

How women got mad, busy, and finally, reluctantly, accepted into NASA’s corps of astronauts.

Recast by the creators of Primates (2013) from NASA oral-history interviews with ex-astronaut Mary Cleave and other eyewitnesses, this likewise lightly fictionalized memoir takes its narrator from childhood interests in science and piloting aircraft to two space shuttle missions and then on to later educational and administrative roles. The core of the tale is a frank and funny account of how women shouldered their way into NASA’s masculine culture and as astronaut trainees broke it down by demonstrating that they too had both the competencies and the toughness that added up to the right stuff. Highlighted by a vivid series of scenes showing Cleave with a monkey on her chest, then a chimpanzee, an orangutan, a gorilla, and finally a larger gorilla to symbolize the G-forces of liftoff, Wicks offers cleanly drawn depictions of technical gear, actual training exercises, eye-rolling encounters with sexist reporters and clueless NASA engineers, iconic figures (such as a group portrait of the watershed astronaut class of 1978: “Twenty-six white guys and nine…well…people who were not. Pretty diverse for NASA”), and astronauts at work on the ground and in space. They capture both the heady thrill of space travel and the achievements of those who led the way there.

Exhilarating—as well as hilarious, enraging, or both at once depending on the reader. (afterword, print and web resources) (Informational graphic novel. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62672-877-6

Page Count: 176

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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