Though Whitman’s sophisticated 19th-century vocabulary may tax today’s youth, this dynamic volume proves a seminal addition...

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WALT WHITMAN

From the Poetry for Kids series

The third installment in the hard-core Poetry for Kids series again weds top-notch scholarship with visual artistry in introducing children to the poetic wonders of another American treasure: Walt Whitman.

Here, Whitman scholar Karbiener (Liberal Studies, New York Univ.) and illustrator Evans harmoniously capture the immediacy of Whitman’s verse, and perhaps in no other instance does this series’ 8-inch-wide format serve better, affording readers the rare pleasure of seeing Whitman’s seemingly endless lines run clear across the page, unenjambed as he intended. In her preface, Karbiener explains that she seeks to provide a rough biographical sketch of Whitman, fleshed out in endnotes. For example, “Come Up from the Fields Father” depicts the moment a family receives the news its only son has been injured in battle: “O this is not our son’s writing, yet his name is sign’d; / O a strange hand writes for our dear son—O stricken mother’s soul!” Karbiener’s notes on the poem describe how that “strange hand” often belonged to Whitman, who, as a volunteer during the Civil War, “wrote hundreds of letters that briefed families on soldiers’ conditions.” Evans’ deeply expressive earth-toned watercolors match both the poet’s exacting attention to detail and his proclivity for cataloging vast states of nature and cityscapes.

Though Whitman’s sophisticated 19th-century vocabulary may tax today’s youth, this dynamic volume proves a seminal addition to any library. (glossed terms in margins) (Picture book/poetry. 10-16)

Pub Date: July 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63322-150-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Moondance/Quarto

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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

VIRGINIA HAMILTON

AMERICA’S STORYTELLER

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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Despite its not insignificant flaws, this book provides insights into the lives of important women, many of whom have...

SHE DID IT!

21 WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE WAY WE THINK

Caldecott Medalist McCully delves into the lives of extraordinary American women.

Beginning with the subject of her earlier biography Ida M. Tarbell (2014), McCully uses a chronological (by birth year) structure to organize her diverse array of subjects, each of whom is allotted approximately 10 pages. Lovely design enhances the text with a full-color portrait of each woman and small additional illustrations in the author/illustrator’s traditional style, plenty of white space, and spare use of dynamic colors. This survey provides greater depth than most, but even so, some topics go troublingly uncontextualized to the point of reinforcing stereotype: “In slavery, Black women had been punished for trying to improve their appearance. Now that they were free, many cared a great deal about grooming”; “President Roosevelt ordered all Japanese Americans on the West Coast to report to internment camps to keep them from providing aid to the enemy Japanese forces.” Of the 21 surveyed, one Japanese-American woman (Patsy Mink) is highlighted, as are one Latinx woman (Dolores Huerta), one Mohegan woman (Gladys Tantaquidgeon), three black women (Madam C.J. Walker, Ella Baker, and Shirley Chisholm), four out queer white women (Billie Jean King, Barbara Gittings, Jane Addams, and Isadora Duncan; the latter two’s sexualities are not discussed), two Jewish women (Gertrude Berg and Vera Rubin), and three women with known disabilities (Addams, Dorothea Lange, and Temple Grandin).

Despite its not insignificant flaws, this book provides insights into the lives of important women, many of whom have otherwise yet to be featured in nonfiction for young readers. (sources) (Collective biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-01991-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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