A resource to enrich the shelves of every home and library.




From Joan of Arc in 1429 to the Movement for Black Lives and the Women’s March in 2017, profiles of ordinary people resisting the status quo on principle lead to lessons for young people.

Throughout the ages and spanning the globe, people have needed to raise their voices and wield pens, swords, or nonviolent bodies to call attention to societal wrongs. In this collective biography, readers meet 35 such change-makers from history distant and recent. Martin Luther and Galileo openly challenged major institutions. Sitting Bull, Queen Liliuokalani, and Mohandas Gandhi resisted the colonialists who took over their land and oppressed their people. Some inspired through art or environmentalism, and many fought for the right to be treated equally regardless of gender, race, color, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Most readers will find stories they haven’t heard before in this volume and will discover new inspiration from the familiar. Each brief profile begins with a quote and ends with a “resist lesson” such as “One voice can shake the earth” or “Oppression isolates us. Resistance unites us.” They are written in an engaging third-person narrative style highlighting what distinguishes their subjects and occasionally what we can learn from their examples (“Not all powerful people shout”). Despite their subjects’ renown, they are presented so that their strength is inspiring rather than overwhelming or distancing, often a result of personal growth, key moments, and intentional networking.

A resource to enrich the shelves of every home and library. (suggested reading, viewing, listening) (Collective biography. 9-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-279625-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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Maybe it’s “awesome” to be average.


Champion table tennis player Syed begins this encouragement book by chronicling his own story of how he grew up believing he was average until he began to master the sport.

The goal of this book is to help kids realize that they needn’t necessarily be born with a certain gift or talent—that maybe success is a combination of hard work, the right mentors, and a strong support system. In the chapter “What’s Holding Me Back?” Syed offers a variety of ways a young person can begin to reflect on who they really are and define what their true passion may be. The following chapters stress the importance of practice, coping with pressure, and honoring mistakes as human rather than failure. Throughout the book, Syed highlights those he terms “Famous Failures,” including Steve Jobs, Jay-Z, and Jennifer Lawrence, while also providing a spotlight for those who mastered their talent by perseverance, such as Serena Williams, the Brontë sisters, and David Beckham. Though this self-help book has good intentions, however, it is a little heavy-handed on the perpetuation of an achievement-oriented life. Perhaps it is also good to acknowledge that not everybody need aspire to someone else’s definition of greatness.

Maybe it’s “awesome” to be average. (Nonfiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8753-5

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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A biography worthy of the larger-than-life Virginia Hamilton



From the Biographies for Young Readers series

If the children you know think biographies are boring, this one will make them reconsider.

The tapestry of words Rubini weaves together brilliantly portrays the amazing, quirky, shy, frog-loving woman and extraordinary writer who was Virginia Hamilton. Since Hamilton constantly dipped into the well of her own family history for book details, Rubini wisely begins several generations back, with Hamilton’s enslaved great-grandmother Mary Cloud, who smuggled her son from Virginia to Ohio and delivered him to free relatives then disappeared. Descended from a long line of storytellers and “plain out-and-out liars,” Hamilton relied heavily on what she called Rememory, “an exquisitely textured recollection, real or imagined, which is otherwise indescribable.” Rubini traces Hamilton’s evolution from aspiring writer to becoming “the most honored author of children’s literature.” Hamilton received award after award and in 1975 became the first African-American winner of the coveted Newbery Medal. (To date, only three other African-Americans have won the Newbery.) Rubini’s biography entertains and informs in equal measure, and because she writes short paragraphs and highlights challenging words, young readers will find this a quick, accessible, and memorable read. Photographs and book covers punctuate the chapters, as do useful explanations of Hamilton’s historical context and impact. Rich backmatter will also make this a useful classroom text.

A biography worthy of the larger-than-life Virginia Hamilton . (Biography. 10-16)

Pub Date: June 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8214-2268-7

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Ohio Univ.

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2017

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