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Gripping, well-researched, superb entertainment.

Olson details the first three attempts by Americans to summit K2.

K2, at 28,250 feet, is the second-highest mountain in the Himalayan chain and is considered by climbers the most difficult of the over-8,000-meter peaks, of which Everest is the highest. In 1938, when Olson’s gripping tale begins, no one had climbed K2. Medical student Charlie Houston and his handpicked team were tasked by the American Alpine Club to scout a route up K2 so that another team headed by climber Fritz Wiessner could summit the following year. Enduring frigid cold and danger, Houston and another climber reached 26,000 feet before descending. Wiessner’s attempt the following year, plagued by poor management, failed to summit also and resulted in four deaths. Fifteen years later, in 1953, Charlie Houston tried again. Olson writes with assurance and empathy, detailing the nearly unbelievable hardships borne by the climbers and narratively balancing the individuals’ obsession to summit against the humanity of the so-called “brotherhood of the rope”—climbers are roped together, therefore literally dependent on one another for their lives. He takes care to include the porters and Sherpas of these early expeditions—too often considered merely as servants by the wealthy white men who hired them—by including photographs and giving them equal credit in his narrative.

Gripping, well-researched, superb entertainment. (author’s note, sources, notes) (Nonfiction. 10-18)

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-20736-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Scholastic Focus

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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From the Race to the Truth series

Deftly written and informative; a call for vigilance and equality.

An examination of the history of Chinese American experiences.

Blackburn opens with a note to readers about growing up feeling invisible as a multicultural, biracial Chinese American. She notes the tremendous diversity of Chinese American history and writes that this book is a starting point for learning more. The evenly paced narrative starts with the earliest recorded arrival of the Chinese in America in 1834. A teenage girl, whose real name is unknown, arrived in New York Harbor with the Carnes brothers, merchants who imported Chinese goods and put her on display “like an animal in a circus.” The author then examines shifting laws, U.S. and global political and economic climates, and changing societal attitudes. The book introduces the highlighted people—including Yee Ah Tye, Wong Kim Ark, Mabel Ping-Hua Lee, and Vincent Chen—in relation to lawsuits or other transformative events; they also stand as examples for explaining concepts such as racial hierarchy and the model minority myth. Maps, photos, and documents are interspersed throughout. Chapters close with questions that encourage readers to think critically about systems of oppression, actively engage with the material, and draw connections to their own lives. Although the book covers a wide span of history, from the Gold Rush to the rise in anti-Asian hate during the Covid-19 pandemic, it thoroughly explains the various events. Blackburn doesn’t shy away from describing terrible setbacks, but she balances them with examples of solidarity and progress.

Deftly written and informative; a call for vigilance and equality. (resources, bibliography, image credits) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 26, 2024

ISBN: 9780593567630

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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A refreshed version of a classic that doesn’t hold up to more recent works.

A new edition of late author Zinn’s 2007 work, which was adapted for young readers by Stefoff and based on Zinn’s groundbreaking 1980 original for adults.

This updated version, also adapted by Stefoff, a writer for children and teens, contains new material by journalist Morales. The work opens with the arrival of Christopher Columbus and concludes with a chapter by Morales on social and political issues from 2006 through the election of President Joe Biden seen through the lens of Latinx identity. Zinn’s work famously takes a radically different perspective from that of most mainstream history books, viewing conflicts as driven by rich people taking advantage of poorer ones. Zinn professed his own point of view as being “critical of war, racism, and economic injustice,” an approach that felt fresh among popular works of the time. Unfortunately, despite upgrades that include Morales’ perspective, “a couple of insights into Native American history,” and “a look at the Asian American activism that flourished alongside other social movements in the 1960s and 1970s,” the book feels dated. It entirely lacks footnotes, endnotes, or references, so readers cannot verify facts or further investigate material, and the black-and-white images lack credits. Although the work seeks to be inclusive, readers may wonder about the omission of many subjects relating to race, gender, and sexuality, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act, Indian boarding schools, the Tulsa Race Massacre, Loving v. Virginia, the Stonewall Uprising, Roe v. Wade, Title IX, the AIDS crisis, and the struggle for marriage equality.

A refreshed version of a classic that doesn’t hold up to more recent works. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 10-16)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2023

ISBN: 9781644212516

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Triangle Square Books for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2024

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