From the She Persisted series

A concise yet stirring biography.

Politician and equal rights activist Patsy Mink persists despite racism and misogyny.

A propulsive narrative moves quickly through Mink’s life, from her birth in Hawaii in 1927 to her experiences at White-dominated educational institutions, where educators often marginalized her, to her marriage to John Mink, her political career, and, finally, her death in 2002. A woman of many firsts—she was the first Asian American woman to practice law in Hawaii and the first woman of color in the U.S. Congress—Mink was also one of the authors of Title IX, the bill that limits sex-based discrimination. True to the series name, rejection, sexism, and racism impacted Mink, but she persisted even if the path looked different than she might have imagined. The book is decidedly inspirational in tone, yet the text includes brief, accurate, and age-appropriate explanations of the laws, people, and ideas that contributed to structural racism and oppression. Mink’s happy childhood is contrasted with her life after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, when Japanese Americans like her family were imprisoned in concentration camps. Although her family escaped imprisonment, racism “seeped into all aspects of [her] life.” Aftermatter explains the intentional use of the term concentration—rather than internmentcamps. Like the ever popular Who Was… series, this title features short chapters, a large font, and ample white space, all supportive for children still gaining confidence as independent readers.

A concise yet stirring biography. (references) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-40288-7

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022


A pivotal moment in a child’s life, at once stirring and authentically personal.

Before growing up to become a major figure in the civil rights movement, a boy finds a role model.

Buffing up a childhood tale told by her renowned father, Young Shelton describes how young Andrew saw scary men marching in his New Orleans neighborhood (“It sounded like they were yelling ‘Hi, Hitler!’ ”). In response to his questions, his father took him to see a newsreel of Jesse Owens (“a runner who looked like me”) triumphing in the 1936 Olympics. “Racism is a sickness,” his father tells him. “We’ve got to help folks like that.” How? “Well, you can start by just being the best person you can be,” his father replies. “It’s what you do that counts.” In James’ hazy chalk pastels, Andrew joins racially diverse playmates (including a White child with an Irish accent proudly displaying the nickel he got from his aunt as a bribe to stop playing with “those Colored boys”) in tag and other games, playing catch with his dad, sitting in the midst of a cheering crowd in the local theater’s segregated balcony, and finally visualizing himself pelting down a track alongside his new hero—“head up, back straight, eyes focused,” as a thematically repeated line has it, on the finish line. An afterword by Young Shelton explains that she retold this story, told to her many times growing up, drawing from conversations with Young and from her own research; family photos are also included. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A pivotal moment in a child’s life, at once stirring and authentically personal. (illustrator’s note) (Autobiographical picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-545-55465-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022



An irrepressibly joyous tale of a woman who reached for—and attained—the stars.

Sullivan, who, in 1984, became the first woman to walk in space, shares her journey.

Born in 1951, Sullivan was interested in science from an early age. In an era when girls were not encouraged to be scientists, she persevered and became a geologist, then an oceanographer. When, in 1977, NASA at last allowed women to apply for the astronaut program, Sullivan was picked (she was also offered the job of going down in a submersible to the deepest part of the ocean and had to choose between the two options). Addressing readers as if they’re also taking part in her astronaut training and space shuttle travel, she discusses the ins and outs of the spacesuit she wore. To simulate a lack of gravity, she trained in the world’s largest pool, which contained a life-size replica of the space shuttle. Sullivan also explains what it felt like to be strapped in and waiting for liftoff and what it was like to walk in space. The book relies on a combination of photos, text, sidebars, and muted, graceful artwork from co-author and illustrator Rosen. The lively visuals are echoed by the effervescent text. While plenty of intriguing facts are presented, this is also an empowering and uplifting account of a woman achieving her dreams—and encouraging readers to live the “life you invent.” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An irrepressibly joyous tale of a woman who reached for—and attained—the stars. (author’s note from Rosen) (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: June 6, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-5362-2621-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: MIT Kids Press/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023

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