An in-depth examination for a motivated audience or dedicated browsers.

HEROISM BEGINS WITH HER

INSPIRING STORIES OF BOLD, BRAVE, AND GUTSY WOMEN IN THE U.S. MILITARY

Throughout the history of the Unites States, brave women have chosen to serve in the armed forces, at first in secret but more recently achieving very visible success and responsibility.

Conkling provides brief, accurate biographies—often a couple of pages long—of 72 women who have served, divided chronologically with an emphasis on the periods of America’s wars. At first, there are, of course, few women to focus on; those that served in early wars were often disguised as men, and few are well documented. When available, each biography includes a photograph or Kuo’s neat drawing of the woman, information about her childhood and education, highlights of her service, a list of medals awarded to her, and a notation of her cause and date of death. Some of the tales are broken up by sidebars, but these are rarely long enough to be disruptive and provide interesting additional details. As the text moves into the modern era and the number of biographies per section grows, however, the repetitive format becomes increasingly tedious. While all the women merit attention, only steadfast readers are likely to last until the end, perhaps making this volume best suited to readers who like to dip in and out. However, it’s rewarding to see—in such detail—how women’s duties and responsibilities in the military have grown over time. The biographees are a nice mixture of various races. Excellent backmatter, including a timeline and chart of ranks, rounds out this effort.

An in-depth examination for a motivated audience or dedicated browsers. (Collective biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-284741-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats.

50 IMPRESSIVE KIDS AND THEIR AMAZING (AND TRUE!) STORIES

From the They Did What? series

Why should grown-ups get all the historical, scientific, athletic, cinematic, and artistic glory?

Choosing exemplars from both past and present, Mitchell includes but goes well beyond Alexander the Great, Anne Frank, and like usual suspects to introduce a host of lesser-known luminaries. These include Shapur II, who was formally crowned king of Persia before he was born, Indian dancer/professional architect Sheila Sri Prakash, transgender spokesperson Jazz Jennings, inventor Param Jaggi, and an international host of other teen or preteen activists and prodigies. The individual portraits range from one paragraph to several pages in length, and they are interspersed with group tributes to, for instance, the Nazi-resisting “Swingkinder,” the striking New York City newsboys, and the marchers of the Birmingham Children’s Crusade. Mitchell even offers would-be villains a role model in Elagabalus, “boy emperor of Rome,” though she notes that he, at least, came to an awful end: “Then, then! They dumped his remains in the Tiber River, to be nommed by fish for all eternity.” The entries are arranged in no evident order, and though the backmatter includes multiple booklists, a personality quiz, a glossary, and even a quick Braille primer (with Braille jokes to decode), there is no index. Still, for readers whose fires need lighting, there’s motivational kindling on nearly every page.

A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats. (finished illustrations not seen) (Collective biography. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-14-751813-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Puffin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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A standout among writing guides, valuable for its sage and friendly encouragement and for the sheer fun of hanging out with...

WRITING RADAR

USING YOUR JOURNAL TO SNOOP OUT AND CRAFT GREAT STORIES

Advice on writing from one of the best writers around.

“I’m a writer and I’m on your side,” Gantos says, as if he’s putting an arm around a young writer’s shoulder and guiding them through a door to a new life. With a snappy voice, his own funny ink drawings, and expertise drawn from a career full of great books, he covers just about everything: where to find ideas and characters, how to structure a story, why to keep a journal, and even what to write with. Every step of the way he includes examples from his own writing. As humorous as he is, Gantos is authoritative and serious about his craft, careful to include every building block for constructing a good story—characters, setting, problem, action, crisis, resolution, and the need for a double ending (physical and emotional). Chapter 2 (“Getting Started”) ought to be read by all teachers and parents: it’s a manifesto on how to raise a reader (and writer) by reading aloud excellent picture books to young children and placing good books in the hands of children as they get older, and he offers a handy list of just what some of those books should be. While his list of picture books is not a particularly diverse one, the middle-grade titles suggested are nicely inclusive.

A standout among writing guides, valuable for its sage and friendly encouragement and for the sheer fun of hanging out with Jack. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-374-30456-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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