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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ISAAC NEWTON

From the Giants of Science series

Hot on the heels of the well-received Leonardo da Vinci (2005) comes another agreeably chatty entry in the Giants of Science series. Here the pioneering physicist is revealed as undeniably brilliant, but also cantankerous, mean-spirited, paranoid and possibly depressive. Newton’s youth and annus mirabilis receive respectful treatment, the solitude enforced by family estrangement and then the plague seen as critical to the development of his thoughtful, methodical approach. His subsequent squabbles with the rest of the scientific community—he refrained from publishing one treatise until his rival was dead—further support the image of Newton as a scientific lone wolf. Krull’s colloquial treatment sketches Newton’s advances in clearly understandable terms without bogging the text down with detailed explanations. A final chapter on “His Impact” places him squarely in the pantheon of great thinkers, arguing that both his insistence on the scientific method and his theories of physics have informed all subsequent scientific thought. A bibliography, web site and index round out the volume; the lack of detail on the use of sources is regrettable in an otherwise solid offering for middle-grade students. (Biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-670-05921-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2006

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