A carefully diverse roster of “dominant dames” demonstrably capable of breaking gender molds…along with records and/or heads.



A united nations of leading ladies of the past and present, commingled with luminaries in the arts, sciences, and annals of piracy.

Leading off with full-page portraits of Aretha Franklin and Joan of Arc to herald her glittering gallery’s expansive purview, Drimmer dishes up short introductions to over 100 strong women who either headed states or shone in academic or public spheres. Gathered thematically, each comes with a picture—some true to period but many done in newer styles, including lots of stock images looking like models in costume—and a biographical note. Along with well-documented royals from Hatshepsut to the Elizabeths I and II, Catherine the Great to Anne Boleyn (“her reign was cut short”), readers will get ganders at such non-Western achievers as Himiko, Japan’s earliest known ruler, and Ashanti rebel Yaa Asantewaa. Venturing into realms beyond the geopolitical, Trimmer profiles Simone Biles and other “Sovereigns of Sports,” “Monarchs of Music,” “Legendary Leaders” like Wonder Woman (the film version), and assorted aeronauts, astronauts, and “Nobel Nobles.” A number of male monarchs, mostly from the co-published Book of Kings, sneak into side boxes, and occasional featurettes focus on queenly armor, bling, and emblems. Considering the pervasive evidence of bloody-mindedness, readers in search of “lean in” role models may justly scoff at the closing tally of positive queenly character traits.

A carefully diverse roster of “dominant dames” demonstrably capable of breaking gender molds…along with records and/or heads. (index) (Collective biography. 9-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3535-8

Page Count: 176

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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A great collection of harrowing, true survivor stories.


A large-format hardcover gathers together true stories of adventure and survival.

Two that are well-known, at least to adults, are Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated Antarctic expedition and the ordeal of Aron Ralston, who cut off his own arm with a dull pocketknife in order to extricate himself from a dislodged boulder that trapped him in a narrow canyon, the subject of the film 127 Hours. Lesser known is the story of Poon Lim, who survived 133 days alone in the South Atlantic when the merchant ship he was serving on was sunk by a U-boat. At one point, he caught a shark several feet long, pulled it aboard his raft, beat it to death, and proceeded to suck its blood and eat it raw for nourishment. Seventeen-year-old Juliane Koepcke, the sole survivor of a plane crash in the Peruvian rain forest, relied on survival lessons taught by her parents. During her nine-day ordeal, she poured gasoline on her wounds, which succeeded in removing 35 maggots from one arm. In a skiing accident, Anna Bågenholm was trapped under freezing water for so long her heart stopped. Four hours later, medics managed to warm her blood enough to revive her. The attractive design features a full-page or double-page–spread color illustration depicting a pivotal moment in each well-told story. Entirely absent are such standard features as table of contents, source notes, bibliography, or index, pegging this as an entertainment resource only.

A great collection of harrowing, true survivor stories. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-571-31601-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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Fashion blogger Sicardi introduces readers to 52 queer heroes from around the world.

The book’s survey of diverse individuals should be applauded. Commendable ranges of ages, ethnicities, genders, professions, and time periods are covered. However, the book’s downfall begins with the sparseness of information offered about each subject. Each entry includes a name, a date range and birthplace, a few scant paragraphs, a stylized portrait, and nothing else. For example, while the joint entry on Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson covers their friendship and work with homeless LGBTQIAP youth in New York City, it makes no mention of Rivera’s historic 1973 speech regarding homophobia and transphobia within the LGBTQIAP community. That was kind of a big deal. Likewise, David Bowie is praised for his music, but mention of his infamous 1983 Rolling Stone article, in which he identified as heterosexual, is absent. (In fairness, the title could refer to heroes of queer people.) The book’s other major deficit is its disorder. The subjects are arranged arbitrarily, without a table of contents or an index. There is no further reading section and no bibliographies for references. A haphazard two-page glossary exists (thankfully in alphabetical order), but that’s it. The book has some merit as a brief introduction to people readers may not have heard of but doesn’t have the follow-through necessary to lead them to further discoveries.

Save your money. (Biography. 9-12)

Pub Date: May 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-476-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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