Next book



Game changing.

Ten historical African figures’ biographies are interspersed with notes on the history of the continent.

What Baptiste accomplishes in only 139 pages of narrative is near miraculous. She lifts the veil intentionally cast over African history, granting readers a veritable feast of information and inspiration. Readers meet, among others, Menes, who unified Upper and Lower Egypt in the 31st century B.C.E.; Amanirenas, first-century B.C.E. queen of Kush, who expelled the Romans; and Idia, the 16th-century queen of Benin who wielded kingmaker powers and ensured diplomatic ties with Portugal. Wilson’s portraits of each figure exude such beauty, strength, power, and, above all, dignity as to be nearly breathtaking. Each one gazes out at readers with a regal confidence that’s sure to inspire them to gaze back. Wilson also provides lush landscapes and spot illustrations throughout. Pictures of historical artifacts are also included. Black leaders of any age will see themselves reflected in the amazing lives chronicled, many of whom may be new to readers. Non-Black readers will get a window into the marvelous history of a continent oft overlooked and relegated to a single narrative. Refreshingly free of generalizations, this impressively researched work was clearly a massive undertaking (as evidenced by the source notes), presenting figures from multiple parts of the continent in the truth of their cultural and historical richness. The result is empowering, necessary, and required reading for all.

Game changing. (author’s note, source notes, bibliography, further exploration, designer’s note) (Nonfiction. 10-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-61620-900-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

Next book


An authentic and moving time capsule of middle school angst, trauma, and joy.

Through the author’s own childhood diary entries, a seventh grader details her inner life before and after 9/11.

Alyssa’s diary entries start in September 2000, in the first week of her seventh grade year. She’s 11 and dealing with typical preteen concerns—popularity and anxiety about grades—along with other things more particular to her own life. She’s shuffling between Queens and Manhattan to share time between her divorced parents and struggling with thick facial hair and classmates who make her feel like she’s “not a whole person” due to her mixed White and Puerto Rican heritage. Alyssa is endlessly earnest and awkward as she works up the courage to talk to her crush, Alejandro; gushes about her dreams of becoming a shoe designer; and tries to solve her burgeoning unibrow problem. The diaries also have a darker side, as a sense of impending doom builds as the entries approach 9/11, especially because Alyssa’s father works in finance in the World Trade Center. As a number of the diary entries are taken directly from the author’s originals, they effortlessly capture the loud, confusing feelings middle school brings out. The artwork, in its muted but effective periwinkle tones, lends a satisfying layer to the diary’s accessible and delightful format.

An authentic and moving time capsule of middle school angst, trauma, and joy. (author's note) (Graphic memoir. 8-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-77427-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

Next book


No one writes history for children better than the latest Wilder Award winner; funny, pungent and impeccably accurate, her contribution to the plethora of books written for the Constitution's bicentennial should be at the top of everyone's purchase list. Assembling attention-grabbing tidbits that illuminate personalities (Franklin observed that if the President's term wasn't limited there'd be no way to get rid of him short of shooting him) re-create conditions in the 18th century (delegates sweltered as windows were kept shut during a heat wave to keep out noise and flies), and give an excellent feel for the kind of horse-trading that was required before an acceptable document was produced (it took 60 ballots just to settle on the Electoral College). Fritz surveys the background that made some kind of unity necessary (during the Revolution, when Washington asked some New Jersey soldiers to swear allegiance to the US, they turned him down flat), as well as events from the gathering of delegates (they trickled in from May to August) to the adoption of the Constitution by the states. She summarizes important features of the Constitution, especially the checks and balances it embodies, and the argumentative response that delayed ratification. A few amplifying notes and the text of the Constitution (as sent to Congress on September 18, 1787) are appended. Lively and fascinating, this will be a delightful surprise to any child who stumbles on it as part of an assignment; it is sure to open minds to the interest and relevance of history.

Pub Date: April 23, 1987

ISBN: 0698116240

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1987

Close Quickview