Interesting, well-researched, and very well done.



An account of the dangerous days leading up to Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration.

Known for turning historical incidents into detailed, thought-provoking books, Jurmain here takes a plot to overthrow the government and assassinate Lincoln on the way to his inauguration—little-known because it failed—and uses it to shine a light on the tumult and violence of the days leading up to the Civil War. Lincoln, scheduled to be sworn in on March 4, 1861, left his home in Springfield, Illinois, on Feb. 11. He planned to spend 12 days traveling slowly to the Capitol by rail, with 75 stops to meet constituents. (Meanwhile, Jefferson Davis departed on the same day for his inauguration as president of the new Confederate states.) Lincoln, careful not to start a war before he was sworn in, gave deliberately vague, nonconfrontational speeches—but he’d already received bushels of death threats, lacked official protection, and sometimes faced rioting crowds. Oddly enough, it was activist Dorothea Dix who first warned authorities of a plot to kill Lincoln in Maryland, leading to famed detective Allan Pinkerton’s taking the case. As Lincoln’s train moved east, Pinkerton and his agents raced to uncover enough details to thwart the plot and save the president-elect. Jurmain shows the day-by-day unfolding of both storylines as they converge in a way that generates excitement even when the outcome is already known.

Interesting, well-researched, and very well done. (timeline, principal characters, appendix, endnotes, further reading, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4998-1044-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Yellow Jacket

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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A measured corrective to pervasive myths about what is often referred to as the “first Thanksgiving.”

Contextualizing them within a Native perspective, Newell (Passamaquoddy) touches on the all-too-familiar elements of the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving and its origins and the history of English colonization in the territory now known as New England. In addition to the voyage and landfall of the Mayflower, readers learn about the Doctrine of Discovery that arrogated the lands of non-Christian peoples to European settlers; earlier encounters between the Indigenous peoples of the region and Europeans; and the Great Dying of 1616-1619, which emptied the village of Patuxet by 1620. Short, two- to six-page chapters alternate between the story of the English settlers and exploring the complex political makeup of the region and the culture, agriculture, and technology of the Wampanoag—all before covering the evolution of the holiday. Refreshingly, the lens Newell offers is a Native one, describing how the Wampanoag and other Native peoples received the English rather than the other way around. Key words ranging from estuary to discover are printed in boldface in the narrative and defined in a closing glossary. Nelson (a member of the Leech Lake Band of Minnesota Chippewa) contributes soft line-and-color illustrations of the proceedings. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Essential. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-72637-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Scholastic Nonfiction

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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This first book in the Fighting for Justice series is a must-read for all civics classrooms.


From the Fighting for Justice series

When Fred Korematsu, a young Japanese-American man, defied U.S. governmental orders by refusing to report to prison camps during World War II, he and his allies set in motion a landmark civil liberties case.

Like any American, Fred dreams of marriage and raising a family with his sweetheart, Ida, a daughter of Italian immigrants. But after the attack on Pearl Harbor, wartime hysteria spreads, and Japanese natives and Japanese-Americans on the West Coast are ordered to prison camps. Knowing this is unjust, Fred changes his name and calls himself "Spanish Hawaiian" but becomes dismayed knowing others are imprisoned in camps. His identity ultimately discovered, he is jailed following his arrest for his refusal to report to the camps and there meets Ernest Besig, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union. Together, they begin a long and against-all-odds fight against injustice. Written in free verse, Fred’s story engages in powerful bursts and shows how speaking out brings complex consequences. Enhanced with pictures and archival materials, well-researched and approachable historical essays interspersed throughout Fred’s account offer context, while Houlette’s reverent illustrations give humanity to Fred’s plight. Co-authors Atkins and Yogi raise good questions (such as, “Have you ever been blamed for something just because of how you look?”) that will inspire a new generation of activists.

This first book in the Fighting for Justice series is a must-read for all civics classrooms. (resources for activism, note from Karen Korematsu, bibliography) (Blended nonfiction/historical fiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-59714-368-4

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Heyday

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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