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    • Children's & YA Literature

    2019 Notable Books for a Global Society

    By Sandip Wilson, Mary Ellen Oslick, and Junko Sakoi
     | Jan 28, 2019

    Each January the Notable Books for a Global Society Committee of the Children’s Literature and Reading Special Interest Group (CL/R SIG) selects 25 books published in the previous year that illustrate diversity in its many forms. This column is the first of two introducing the 2019 Notable Books for a Global Society list for pre-K–12 students. More information about Notable Books for a Global Society (including lists of previous winners) is available at clrsig.org.

    Ages 4–8

    All Are Welcome. Alexandra Penfold. Ill. Suzanne Kaufman. 2018. Knopf/Random House.

    all-are-welcome-th“Pencils sharpened in their case. / Bells are ringing, let’s make haste. / School’s beginning, dreams to chase. / All are welcome here.” School is a place where all children of different races, religions, and backgrounds are welcome and where they learn and grow together. Lively, brightly hued double-page spreads express the children’s joyous daily activities. In depicting parents as diverse as the children, Penfold and Kaufman share a message about celebrating diversity and inclusion. “We’re part of a community. / Our strength is our diversity. / A shelter from adversity. / All are welcome here.”
    —JS

    The Day War Came. Nicola Davies. Ill. Rebecca Cobb. 2018. Candlewick.

    The Day War CameWhile at school one day, a little girl survives bombs that destroy her school and discovers her home is also destroyed and her family killed. An orphan, she flees the unnamed country on a perilous journey with many other people and eventually finds safety in a refugee camp. When she is turned away from an overcrowded school because there is no place for her to sit, a child brings her a chair at the camp so that she can return to school. This story, depicted in delicate graphite, colored pencil, and watercolor illustrations, conveys the plight of refugee children and shows how kindness and generosity can surmount political and social limitations. Back matter includes background information on programs to aid refugees.
    —SW

    Drawn Together. Minh Lê. Ill. Dan Santat. 2018. Disney-Hyperion.

    Drawn TogetherA young boy visiting his grandfather speaks English; his grandfather speaks Thai. They struggle to communicate across language, age, and cultural divides, leading to confusion and uncomfortable silence, but when the boy takes out his sketchbook and markers and begins to draw, his grandfather gets out his brush and ink and they discover a mutual love of drawing. Double-page spreads with Santat’s dynamic illustrations depict how drawing fantastic heroic adventures together creates a bond between them that goes beyond language and—by the end of the book and their adventure in drawing—the marker and paint brush have changed hands.
    —JS

    Mommy's Khimar. Jamilah Tompkins-Bigelow. Ill. Ebony Glenn. 2018. Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster.

    Mommy's KhimarTompkins-Bigelow and Ebony Glenn present a story of a child who loves a common favorite activity of young children, playing dress-up. A young Muslim girl delights in her mother’s myriad beautiful khimars, or headscarves. “In Mommy’s closet, there are many khimars—so many that I can’t count them: black ones, white ones . . .  purple, blue, and red . . . stripes, patterns, and polka dots too.” Whimsical, warm illustrations portray the magicthe girl feels as she becomes the sun, a mother bird, or a superhero when she wears her mother’s khimars. Most importantly, wearing a khimar connects the young girl to her mother, her family, and her community.
    —MEO

    We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga. Traci Sorell. Ill. Frané Lessac. 2018. Charlesbridge.

    We Are GratefulOtsaliheliga is the way Cherokee people say we are grateful as they celebrate and remember experiences through the year. Each double-page spread includes a phrase to complete a statement of gratitude. “When cool breezes blow and leaves fall we say ostsaliheliga . . .” Expressions on each page complete the statement, “. . . while we collect buckbrush and honey suckle to weave baskets / . . . to remember our ancestors who suffered hardship and loss on the Trail of Tears.” Lessac depicts the events and practices of the Cherokee in brightly colored gouache, folk art-style paintings in contemporary settings. Back matter includes a glossary, the Cherokee syllabary developed by Sequoyah, and an author’s note.
    —SW

    Ages 9–11

    The Cardboard Kingdom. Chad Sell. 2018. Knopf/Random House.  

    The Cardboard KingdomThis graphic novel, a collaboration between cartoonist Chad Sell and 10 other creators,is a collection of short stories that showcase the imagination, creativity, and camaraderie of a group of children. During the summer, two children use cardboard boxes to create costumes and an imaginary world in a backyard. In the following stories, other children from the neighborhood transform themselves into royalty, superheroes, monsters, and other fantastic characters using cardboard and join in the imaginative play. One boy transforms himself into the Sorceress and a girl with a big voice becomes a roaring monster, the Big Banshee. The roles the 16 kids play in their Cardboard Kingdom give them the confidence to face real-life conflict with their families and to forge their identities. In the final chapter they celebrate their summer adventure at the Dragon’s Head Inn before starting off to school.
    —JS

    Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13. Helaine Becker. Ill. Dow Phumiruk. 2018. Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt.   

    Counting on KatherineThis picture book biography presents the life and work of trailblazing mathematician Katherine Johnson (1918–present). As a young girl, she loved numbers and counting, but segregation threatened to stymie her education. With the support of her family, she persevered in her love of discovering patterns in the universe through exploring numbers and solved mathematical problems. Katherine became a NASA researcher at the beginning of the space race in the 1950s. She was an important contributor to NASA programs, calculating flight paths for Apollo missions including the one that resulted in the safe return of the aborted Apollo 13 mission. Back matter includes additional information on Johnson’s life and a list of sources.
    —MEO

    Too Young to Escape: A Vietnamese Girl Waits to Be Reunited With Her Family. Van Ho & Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch. 2018. Pajama Press.

    Too Young to EscapeOne morning in 1981, in Ho Chi Minh City, 4-year-old Van woke up to find her mother, sisters, and brother gone, following her father and older sister, who left a year earlier. They had fled the communist regime in South Vietnam after the Vietnam War by boat, leaving behind Van, who was too young, and her grandmother, who was too old, to make such a dangerous journey. With her grandmother, Van lived with her aunt and uncle, who treated her like an unwelcome servant, and she struggled with loneliness and poverty. Four years later, her parents, now living in Canada, brought Van and her grandmother to their new home. Back matter includes family photographs and an interview with Van’s parents that provide historical context for their leaving Van in Vietnam.
    —JS

    What Do You Do With a Voice Like That?: The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan. Chris Barton. Ill. Ekua Holmes. 2018. Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster.
     
    What Do You Do With a Voice Like ThatGrowing up in Houston, Barbara Jordan (1936–1996) confidently used her strong voice. After graduating from law school at Boston University, she returned to Houston, began a career in law, and served as a Texas state senator. In 1972, she was elected to the U.S. Congress and eventually, became a professor at the University of Texas, where she continued to use her voice to speak for equality and justice. This biography of extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, with stunning mixed-media collage illustrations, ends with an inspiring answer to the question posed in the title: “We remember it, and we honor it by making our own voices heard.” Back matter includes a detailed timeline, author’s note, references, and link to a bibliography.
    —MEO

    Ages 12–14

    Ghost Boys. Jewell Parker Rhodes. 2018. Little, Brown.

    Ghost BoysWhile playing with a toy gun, 12-year-old Jerome is fatally shot in the back by a white policeman. Returning as a ghost, Jerome observes the effects of his tragic death on his family, Sara (the policeman’s daughter, and Carlos (the friend who gave him the toy gun to fend off bullies) and discovers that he is surrounded by other ghost boys (including Emmet Till) killed in violent circumstances. Rhode’s work inspires important conversations about the complexities of blackness in America, conscious and unconscious bias, and privilege. Back matter includes an afterward, questions for discussion, and resources.
    —MEO

    Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein: Based on a True Story. Jennifer Roy (with Ali Fadhil). 2018. Houghton Mifflin.

    Playing AtariAt the beginning of the Gulf War in 1991, Ali and his family, living in Basra, Iraq, have food, water, electricity, television, and video games. When all-night bombing starts, however, Ali, his father (a dentist), mother (a math teacher), and two brothers crowd into a safe room and sleep on the floor. As the war intensifies the family’s living conditions worsen, Ali’s father is deployed to the south to treat wounded soldiers, and, as Ali runs through the rubble of bombed neighborhoods to obtain his family’s government rations, he discovers the costs of war. Back matter includes an author’s note on the collaboration between the author and Ali Fadhil, on whose life the novel is based.
    —SW

    The War Outside. Monica Hesse. 2018. Little, Brown.

    The War OutsideIn 1943, Haruko, a Japanese American from Colorado, and Margot, a German American from Iowa, live with their families in Crystal City Internment Camp (located near Crystal City, Texas) during World War II for “enemy aliens,” people of Japanese, Italian, and German ancestry and their American-born children. In this novel told from alternative points of view, friendship grows between Haruko and Margot despite the prejudice and racism they experience as tensions increase, relationships become strained, and families face deportation or deal with the hard decision to return to countries now unfamiliar. Back matter includes an informative “Note on Historical Accuracy” by the author describing her research.
    —SW

    Age 15+

    The Prince and the Dressmaker. Jen Wang. 2018. First Second/Roaring Brook.

    The Prince and the DressmakerIn this graphic novel, Frances is a talented dressmaker who dreams of fame as she creates elaborate dresses for her patron Prince Sebastian. He appreciates her unique gowns, which are beautifully displayed in the intricately detailed illustrations, and flaunts her designs in Paris nightlife as he adopts the persona of Lady Crystallia. Worried that his family will stop him from wearing Frances’ dresses, Prince Sebastian makes her promise to keep his true identity a secret. The graphic novel format conveys the growing complexity of this story of identity and friendship. To keep the prince’s secret safe, Frances must not take credit for her gowns and must remain anonymous, although she can’t keep silent forever if she wants her dream of being recognized as a fashion designer realized.
    —MEO

    The three reviewers are members of the 2019 Notable Books for a Global Society Committee. Sandip Wilson, cochair of the committee, serves as professor in the School of Education, Husson University, Bangor, Maine. Mary Ellen Oslick is an assistant professor in the Department of Education at Stetson University, DeLand, Florida. Junko Sakoi is program coordinator, Multicultural Curriculum Department, Tucson Unified School District, Arizona.

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    • Children's & YA Literature

    Looking Back at 2018 Fiction

    By Nancy Brashear and Carolyn Angus
     | Jan 22, 2019

    We have read extensively in all genres of fiction during the year and, like others who do so, we have our favorites (Nancy’s is fantasy and Carolyn’s is historical fiction). Deciding on a list of only 20 books the two of us could agree upon was a challenge. Here is our notable fiction of 2018 list. 

    Ages 4–8

    Alma and How She Got Her Name. Juana Martinez-Neal. 2018. Candlewick.

    AlmaAlma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela is a small girl with a big name. When her father shows her photos of the relatives for whom she’s named, she asks about Alma, who is not pictured. He replies, “You are the first and the only Alma. You will make your own story.” In “A Note from Juana,” Martinez-Neal tells about her own long name. 

    Baby Monkey, Private Eye. Brian Selznick & David Serlin. Ill. Brian Selznick. 2018. Scholastic.

    Baby MonkeyIn this innovative fusion of picture book, graphic novel, and early reader, Baby Monkey is good at being a private detective. A simple, patterned text and expressive black-and-white drawings reveal how Baby Monkey solves cases involving the missing jewels of an opera singer, the pie of a pizza maker, the nose of a clown, and the spaceship of an astronaut before taking on a most important case, which reunites a mother with her baby.

    The Day You Begin. Jacqueline Woodson. Ill. Rafael López. 2018. Nancy Paulsen/Penguin.

    The Day You BeginReaders see through the eyes of three children who learn that they are more alike than different when they begin to share their stories. López’s brightly colored, mixed-media illustrations perfectly complement the text and the final page depicting two of the children, Angelina and Rigoberto from Venezuela, swinging together on the playground, says it all. “This is the day you begin.”A Spanish edition, El día en que descubres quién eres, is also available.

    Drawn Together. Minh Lê. Ill. Dan Santat. 2018. Disney-Hyperion.

    Drawn TogetherDuring a visit, a young boy and his grandfather share lunch (although they eat different foods) and television (although the boy would rather watch something else) but cannot share language. When the boy takes out a sketchbook and markers, his grandfather takes out brush and ink. Santat’s illustrations (both black and white and color) show how art becomes a bridge between the two as they draw together.

    Dreamers. Yuyi Morales. 2018. Neal Porter/Holiday House.

    DreamersIn this beautifully crafted picture book, based on Morales’ own immigration story, a mother and her infant son make their way to a new country. Their discovery of the local library helps the two migrantes face the challenges of living in this strange place. “We learned to read, / to speak, / to write, / and / to make / our voices heard.” Also available in a Spanish edition, Soñadores.

    Fox + Chick: The Party and Other Stories. Sergio Ruzzier. 2018. Chronicle.

    Fox and Chick The PartyIn this comic-style picture book with three humorous short stories—“The Party,” “Good Soup,” and “Sit Still”—Ruzzier introduces young readers to Fox and Chick. Cheerful pastel ink-and-watercolor illustrations and simple, repetitive text presented entirely in dialogue balloons make this book about the friendship of an unlikely pair a good choice for newly independent readers.

    A House That Once Was. Julie Fogliano. Ill. Lane Smith. 2018. Roaring Brook.

    A House That Once Was“Deep in the woods / is a house / just a house / that once was / but now isn’t / a home.” Julie Fogliano’s lyrical text and Lane Smith’s beautifully composed mixed media artwork tell how two children come upon a derelict house in the woods and wonder if the house remembers stories of “someone who we’ll never know” before returning to their own cozy and warm home.

    Julián Is a Mermaid. Jessica Love. 2018. Candlewick.

    Julian is a MermaidWhen Julián creates a lovely mermaid outfit from a gauzy curtain and dons a headdress of ferns and flowers, he is unsure how his abuela will react, but she smiles, hands him a necklace to add to his costume, and walks with him down the street to join the parade of mermaids on the beach. A series of wordless double-spread pages beautifully portray Julián’s daydream of an underwater adventure as a mermaid.

    Ages 9–11

    Harbor Me. Jacqueline Woodson. 2018. Nancy Paulsen/Penguin.

    Harbor MeHaley recalls the events of the previous school year in which Ms. Laverne, their teacher, took a diverse group of children in a special fifth- and sixth-grade classroom to Room 501, the ARTT room—“A Room To Talk”—where they learn to express their feelings and fears about personal problems (bullying, racial profiling, deportation, and incarcerated parents), without adult supervision and within a safe community of respectful listeners, every Friday.

    Louisiana’s Way Home. Kate DiCamillo. 2018. Candlewick.

    Louisiana's Way HomeRaised by her eccentric granny, 12-year-old Louisiana Elefante believes she carries a curse of sundering (or leaving), so she is not surprised when her granny flees with her in the middle of the night. After emergency dental surgery for Granny stops their flight in a strange town, Louisiana, abandoned and befriended by strangers, discovers family secrets that change everything she thought she knew about herself.

    Merci Suárez Changes Gears. Meg Medina. 2018. Candlewick.

    Merci Suarez Changes GearsSixth grader Merci Suárez lives with her multigenerational Cuban American family in Las Casitas. She is worried about her beloved grandfather Lolo’s Alzheimer’s, and at Seaward Pines Academy, where she and her brother, Roli, are scholarship students, bullying by Edna Santos increases after Merci is assigned to be the Sunshine Buddy for new student Michael Clark. Through it all, Merci learns that, similar to riding a bike, she must change gears and take a deep breath to keep pedaling into the future.

    The Parker Inheritance. Varian Johnson. 2018. Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic.

    The Parker InheritanceWhile spending the summer in the small town of Lambert, South Carolina, 12-year-old African-American Candice Miller becomes involved in deciphering clues to locate an “inheritance” in a letter she finds in a puzzle book in her deceased grandmother’s attic. Candice and Brandon Jones, a quiet, bullied, book-loving neighbor, dig into the troubled history of Lambert as they solve the puzzle mystery of the Parker inheritance.

    Ages 1214

    The Island at the End of Everything. Kiran Millwood Hargrave. 2018. Knopf/Random House.

    The Island at the End of EverythingIn 1906, when the Philippine government makes Culion Island a leper colony, 12-year-old “clean” Amihan is removed to an orphanage on a nearby island. When she learns that her mother, who has an advanced stage of the disease, is dying, Amihan is determined to return to Culion to say goodbye to her. An author’s note provides background for the story and Hargrave’s choice to call Culion “the island at the end of everything.”

    Tales from the Inner City. Shaun Tan. 2018. Scholastic.

    Tales From the Inner CityIn Tan’s imaginative book of illustrated short stories and poems in which animals and humans share urban spaces, the language of the storytelling is elegant and the surreal paintings are haunting and thought-provoking. Tan’s first sentences such as “Crocodiles live on the eighty-seventh floor” and “Where money gathers, so do pigeons” grab readers’ attention, making them eager to discover how each story unfolds in words and visual images.

    Zora & Me: The Cursed Ground. T. R. Simon. 2018. Candlewick.

    Zora & MeIn 1855, enslaved Lucia tells the story of a covered-up murder and the curse invoked on the Westin Plantation. In 1903, in Eatonville, Florida (America’s first incorporated town built for blacks), 12-year-old Carrie Brown tells how she and her best friend, Zora Hurston, become involved in uncovering the mystery behind the attack on Horatio Polk, the town mute. The stories told by Lucia and Carrie connect past history to the events in the Eatonville community. Back matter for this fictionalized story of Zora Neale Hurston’s (18911960) childhood includes a biography of Hurston, a timeline, and an annotated bibliography of her books.

    Ages 15+

    Blood Water Paint. Joy McCullough. 2018. Dutton/Penguin.

    Blood Water PaintThis free verse novel, interspersed with Artemisia’s deceased mother’s stories in prose, is told through the eyes of 17-year-old Artemisia Gentileschi, whose father doesn’t protect her as she is seduced by mentor Agostino Tassi. Inspired by Biblical women (Judith and Susanna), Artemisia tells how painting gives her the strength to face the truth of her abuse, bring her rapist to trial, and begin to heal. “They plunge my fingers into paint, / smear them across the outstretched cloth.” The afterword tells more about the famous Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi (15931656) and the actual trial. 

    Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha #1). Tomi Adeyemi. 2018. Henry Holt.

    Children of Blood and BoneIn this West African-inspired fantasy, Zélie, who remembers the night 11 years ago when King Saran hung her Maji mother and all magic disappeared in Orïsha, rescues Princess Amari, who is fleeing from her cruel father with a mysterious parchment. As Prince Inan pursues his sister Amari and Zélie (to whom he is strangely attracted) to win his father’s approval, Zélie, her brother Tzain, and Amari have only until the solstice to restore magic with three spellbinding artifacts (the parchment, a dagger, and a crystal)—or magic will be lost to Orïsha forever.

    Dry. Neal Shusterman & Jarrod Shusterman. 2018. Simon & Schuster.

    DryAlyssa is stunned when the governor announces that drought and shutdown of access to the Colorado River, the state’s major source of water, has left California dry. During the next 10 days, after her parents fail to return from a disaster water distribution center, chaos and destruction hit her quiet neighborhood—and the state. Alyssa, with her brother, Garrett, bands with unlikely allies (Kelton, a survivalist neighbor; Jacqui, a homeless teen; and Henry, a rich opportunist) to outlive this catastrophe.

    The Poet X. Elizabeth Acevedo. 2018. HarperTeen/HarperCollins.

    The PoetWritten in English, and punctuated by Spanish, 15-year-old Dominican-American Xiomara Batista’s poetry describes her relationship with her secret boyfriend, Aman, which her overly strict Catholic mother and reformed run-around father wouldn’t tolerate if they knew about it. Joining her Harlem school’s Spoken Word Poetry Club, she performs original slam poetry under the stage name Poet X: “I stand on a stage and / say a poem. / There is power in the word," and finds a way to speak what’s on her heart.

    Speak: The Graphic Novel. Laurie Halse Anderson. Ill. Emily Carroll. 2018. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

    SpeakEmily Carroll’s artwork for this graphic novel of Laurie Halse Anderson’s ground-breaking novel Speak (1999) expresses the raw, debilitating terror that dominates the life of Melinda, who finds herself an outcast during her freshman year at Merryweather High School. Shunned by former friends and bullied by classmates for making a 911 call that brought police to a summer party, Melinda has been keeping secret that she was raped by a popular senior. To save herself, she must find a way to speak.

    Nancy Brashear is Professor Emeritus of English at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California. Carolyn Angus is former director of the George G. Stone Center for Children's Books, Claremont Graduate University, in Claremont, California.

    These reviews are submitted by members of the International Literacy Association's Children's Literature and Reading Special Interest Group (CL/R SIG) and are published weekly on Literacy Daily.

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    Looking Back at 2018 Nonfiction

    By Carolyn Angus and Nancy Brashear
     | Jan 14, 2019

    In looking back at the nonfiction published in 2018 (including informational books, biographies, and poetry), we considered the identification of outstanding trade books with curriculum connections and the diverse reading interests of children and young adults, as well as our favorites among the many books we read during the year.

    Ages 4–8

    Imagine. Juan Felipe Herrera. Ill. Lauren Castillo. 2018. Candlewick.

    ImagineLyrical questioning in English (laced with Spanish) and dreamy earth-toned, pen-and-foam monoprint illustrations tell the story of a young boy, the son of migrant workers, who imagines his future if he picked flowers, gazed at stars, helped Mama feed chickens, attended a new school where he didn’t know English, wrote poems using newly learned English words, and became Poet Laureate of the United States (which Herrera did in 2015). This free verse memoir invites the young reader to “imagine what you could do.”

    Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain. Cheryl Bardoe. Ill. Barbara McClintock. 2018. Little, Brown.

    Nothing Stopped SophieSophie Germain (17761831) overcame many obstacles to pursue her love of math. Secretly completing a university-level study of mathematics, winning a prestigious prize from the Paris Academy of Science for her work on predicting patterns of vibration, and making significant contributions to the field of mathematics and physics, Sophie proved that she was unshakable and unstoppable. Beautifully designed illustrations (created with ink, watercolor, and collage) accompany this story of determined self-taught mathematician Sophie Germain. Back matter includes biographical and historical notes, a bibliography, and author’s and illustrator’s notes. 

    Otis and Will Discover the Deep: The Record-Setting Dive of the Bathysphere. Barb Rosenstock. Ill. Katherine Roy. 2018. Little, Brown.

    Otis and WillIn the 1930s, two men obsessed with the sea, engineer Otis Barton and naturalist Will Beebe, worked together to build the bathysphere, a diving tank for exploring the ocean at great depths. Dramatic text and illustrations (including a wordless double gatefold of the bathysphere at the depth of 800 feet) chronicle Barton and Beebe’s record-setting dive.

    Prickly Hedgehogs! Jane McGuiness. 2018. Candlewick.

    Prickly Hedgehogs!“Someone’s sniffling and snuffling and snaffling . . . whirring and churring and purring.” It’s a prickly hedgehog! Engaging text (with insets of related facts in smaller print) and colorful mixed-media illustrations introduce a mother hedgehog and her five hoglets. Leaving the nest after a few weeks, charming Little Hedgehog eats and eats on nocturnal forays, gets fatter and fatter, and at the end of fall makes a nest in preparation for hibernation.

    Seeing into Tomorrow: Haiku by Richard Wright. Richard Wright. Nina Crews (Ed.). Ill. Nina Crews. 2018. Millbrook/Lerner.

    Seeing Into TomorrowTwelve haiku and photo collages on double-page spreads celebrate the activities and observations of African American youth throughout the year. This beautifully designed book begins with “Just enough of snow / For a boy’s finger to write / His name on the porch,” and ends with “A spring sky so clear / That you feel you are seeing / Into tomorrow.”

    Ages 9–11

    Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes Went from the Football Field to the Art Gallery. Sandra Neil Wallace. Ill. Bryan Collier. 2018. Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster.

    Between the LinesThis picture book biography, with stunning watercolor-and-collage artwork, tells the story of African American Ernie Barnes (19382009), who kept his childhood dream of being an artist alive, even during his time as an NFL football player. Today Ernie Barnes’ paintings hang in art galleries. Back matter includes author and illustrator notes, a bibliography, a list of museums exhibiting Barnes’ paintings, and sources.

    The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science. Joyce Sidman. 2018. Houghton Mifflin.

    The Girl Who Drew ButterfliesOne of the first naturalists to observe insects directly, artist Maria Merian's (1647–1717) paintings of the life cycles of insects set the standard for scientific illustration for centuries. Her careful observation of the life cycle of insects disproved traditional beliefs about how they developed. This picture book biography includes reproductions of Merian’s paintings and excerpts from her journals.

    A History of Pictures for Children: From Cave Paintings to Computer Drawings. David Hockney & Martin Gayford. Ill. Rose Blake. 2018. Abrams.

    A History of PicturesIn this children’s edition of A History of Pictures: From the Cave to the Computer Screen (2016), artist David Hockney and art critic Martin Gaylord let readers listen in on their lively conversation about how artists have pictured the world from cave painting to computer-generated imagery. The book ends with a thought-provoking “What’s next for pictures?” discussion. Back matter for this engaging and accessible history of art includes a timeline, glossary, endnotes, bibliography, list of illustrations, and index.

    Martin Rising: Requiem for a King. Andrea Davis Pinkney. Ill. Brian Pinkney. 2018. Scholastic.

    Martin RisingThirty-nine lyrical poems written by Andrea Pinkney and stunning impressionistic gouache-and-India ink paintings by Brian Pinkney follow Martin Luther King, Jr. from cradle to grave in a moving requiem presented in three sections: “Daylight” (King’s life), “Darkness” (his death on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee), and “Dawn” (his legacy). Back matter includes reflections by the author and the illustrator on their creation of Martin Rising, a “Now Is the Time” section providing historical context, a time line, and a bibliography.

    What Do You Do with a Voice Like That?: The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan. Chris Barton. Ill. Ekua Holmes. 2018. Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster.

    What Do You Do With a Voice Like ThatAfrican-American Barbara Jordan (19361996), who was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas in 1972, confidently used her strong voice throughout her life. This picture book biography of extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan ends with an inspiring answer to the question posed in the title: “We remember it, and we honor it by making our own voices heard.”

    Ages 12–14

    Chasing King’s Killer: The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Assassin. James L. Swanson. 2018. Scholastic.

    Chasing King's KillerSwanson’s meticulously researched and documented narrative focuses on the murder of civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee, and the manhunt for his assassin, James Earl Ray. The epilogue ends with thought-provoking questions: “Where do we go from here? How long will it take? How long?”


    Countdown: 2979 Days to the Moon. Suzanne Slade. Ill. Thomas Gonzalez. 2018. Peachtree.

    CountdownIn 1961, President John F. Kennedy committed to landing a man on the moon and safely returning him to earth within a decade. Beautifully composed verse, dramatic paintings, informational double-page spreads, and extensive back matter tell the Project Apollo 11 story that became a reality 2979 days later (on July 20, 1969) when the Eagle landed on the Moon’s surface and astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to step onto the Moon.

    Facing Frederick: The Life of Frederick Douglass, a Monumental American Man. Tonya Bolden. 2018. Abrams.

    Facing FrederickBolden chronicles the life and accomplishments of Frederick Douglass (18181895), who used his experiences with slavery and racism—what he called the “twin-monsters of darkness”—to enhance his effectiveness as a voice for the anti-slavery movement. Quotes, archival photographs, drawings, and documents contribute to the reader’s understanding of events and decisions that shaped Douglass’s life and U.S. history.

    The Hyena Scientist (Scientists in the Field). Sy Montgomery. Ill. Nic Bishop. 2018. Houghton Mifflin.

    The Hyena ScientistIn their latest collaboration, naturalist/author Montgomery and biologist/photographer Bishop challenge popular negative perceptions of the hyena with an engaging account of their observations and experiences working with zoologist Kay Holekamp and her research team at Camp Fisi in Masai Mara, Kenya. Sidebars and numerous close-up photographs of the spotted hyena provide information on the carnivore and the researchers studying its behavior.

    Jabber-Walking. Juan Felipe Herrera. 2018. Candlewick.

    Jabber-WalkingJuan Felipe Herrera (U.S. Poet Laureate, 20152017) created this zany and imaginative stream-of-consciousness poetry-writing handbook with black-and-white scribble artwork to help writers turn their “Jabber Burbles” into “Poetry” that can “make all life so beautiful your heart becomes a diamond-galaxy that shines out fast flickering, moving, turning on lights—everywhere.” Experimental forms of poetry-writing exercises are interspersed with excerpts from Herrera’s “Jabber Notebook.” 

    Ages 15+

    Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam. Elizabeth Partridge. 2018. Viking/Penguin.

    Boots on the GroundPartridge’s well-documented story of the war in Vietnam is presented from the perspectives of eight individuals (six American soldiers, a nurse, and a refugee) and complemented with archival photographs and sidebars about the roles of four presidents (John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, and Gerald R. Ford), as well as other influential individuals, during the conflict that divided the nation.

    Hey, Kiddo: How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction. Jarrett J. Krosoczka. 2018. Graphix/Scholastic.

    Hey, KiddoAuthor/illustrator Krosoczka’s graphic memoir covers his childhood and teen years of being raised by his maternal grandparents, Joe and Shirl, in Worcester, Massachusetts, while having only sporadic contact with his heroin-addicted mother through letters and visits and not knowing who his father was. Supporting Jarrett’s love of drawing, his grandparents enroll him in a comic book class at the Worcester Art Museum, and art becomes a means for dealing with the ups and downs of his unconventional family life. An author’s note and a note on the art add to the reader’s understanding of this inspiring memoir.

    The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees. Don Brown. 2018. Houghton Mifflin.

    The Unwanted Stories of the Syrian RefugeesUsing a graphic novel format, Brown weaves together stories of refugees of the Syrian Civil War, which began in March 2011. In the intervening years, millions of people have fled the conflict, overwhelming neighboring countries and making desperate escapes to Europe. In a postscript, Brown addresses how the Syrian refugee crisis has “sparked a present-day backlash against immigration of all kinds and upended politics across the globe.”

    Votes for Women!: American Suffragists and the Battle for the Ballot. Winifred Conkling. 2018. Algonquin.

    Votes for Women!Conkling’s captivating account of the long-fought battle for women’s suffrage in the U.S. focuses on the personal stories of leaders in the suffrage movement including Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Carrie Chapman Catt, and Alice Paul and key events from the 1848 Woman’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls to the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920. Back matter includes an “In Her Own Words” section of primary sources, time line, bibliography, chapter-by-chapter notes on quotations, and index.

    All Ages

    Sing a Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem for Each Day of the Year. Fiona Waters (Ed.). Ill. Fran Preston-Gannon. 2018. Nosy Crow/Candlewick.

    Sing a Song of Seasosns“Sing a song of seasons! / Something bright in all! / Flowers in the summer, / Fires in the fall!” (from the last stanza of “Autumn Fires” by Robert Louis Stevenson). The poems in this collection by writers from the past and the present vary by subject, length, form, and mood and are arranged on double-spread pages of colorful mixed media illustrations. A delightful celebration of the world of nature for readers of all ages.

    Carolyn Angus is former director of the George G. Stone Center for Children's Books, Claremont Graduate University, in Claremont, California. Nancy Brashear is Professor Emeritus of English at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California.

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    Books Too Good to Miss

    By Carolyn Angus, Chelsey Bahlmann Bollinger, and Nancy Brashear
     | Jan 07, 2019

    As each year comes to an end, we are always aware of the many books still on our shelves that we wanted to see reviewed in this weekly column. So here, in this first column of the new year, we feature 20 books published in 2018 that we think are just too good to miss.

    Ages 4–8

    Blue. Laura Vaccaro Seeger. 2018. Neal Porter/Roaring Brook.

    BlueSeeger explores the color blue with stunning acrylic-on-canvas paintings and rhyming two-word couplets (“baby blue / berry blue / maybe blue / very blue”) to tell a story of the bond between a boy and his dog as they grow up together. This companion to Seeger’s 2013 Caldecott Honor book, Green, beautifully expresses the range of emotional responses to the color blue.
    —CA

    The Dreamer. Il Sung Na. 2018. Chronicle.

    The DreamerThe dreamer in this whimsical picture book is a plump, blue-green pig who wonders if he could ever fly like the birds he admires. He studies, thinks, designs, builds, recruits the help of friends, and modifies plans until one day he does fly and reaches even higher heights than he initially intended. Through this experience, he sees the world differently—and still a dreamer, he continues to admire the birds.
    —CBB

    A First Book of the Sea. Nicola Davies. Ill. Emily Sutton. 2018. Candlewick.

    A First Book of the SeaThis collection of 53 poems set on expansive double-page spreads with dramatic, realistic watercolor illustrations is organized into four sections—"Down by the Shore,” “Journeys,” “Under the Sea,” and “Wonders.” The anthology is a celebration of the sea, its abundance of plant and animal life, and the joy of playing and exploring at the seaside.
    —CA

    Hansel & Gretel. Bethan Woollvin. 2018. Peachtree.

    Hansel & GretelIn Woollvin’s imaginative retelling of this classic folktale, Willow, a good witch, encounters Hansel and Gretel in the forest. After nibbling at her gingerbread home, the siblings take advantage of the good witch’s hospitality and misuse her spells and wands. When Hansel and Gretel push her into the oven and continue their mischief until the house is literally bursting with magic, Willow (who “wasn’t ALWAYS a good witch”) finally gets angry and takes revenge in a delightful way.

    —CBB

    Little Robot Alone. Patricia MacLachlan & Emily MacLachlan Charest. Ill. Matt Phelan. 2018. Houghton Mifflin.

    Little Robot AloneEvery morning Little Robot sings a song as he puts on his tracks, charges his battery, and eats breakfast as part of his peaceful—but lonely—daily routine. One morning, inspired by a dream, he creates a perfect companion in his workshop, Little Dog, a robotic pet. A lyrical narration with Little Robot’s cheery song and soft watercolor-and-pencil illustrations make this gentle story perfect for reading aloud.
    —NB

    The Patchwork Bike. Maxine Beneba Clarke. Ill. Van Thanh Rudd. 2018. Candlewick.

    The Patchwork BikeA lively text and stunning textured acrylic-on-cardboard paintings tell the story of three siblings who cobble together a bike from discarded items they find around their “mud-for-walls home” in a village at the edge of a “no-go desert.” Author’s and illustrator’s notes call attention to third-world poverty and celebrate the ability of children to find joy regardless of circumstances.
    —CA

    Whale in a Fishbowl. Troy Howell. Ill. Richard Jones. 2018. Schwartz & Wade/Random House.

    Whale in a FishbowlEmotional prose and moody hues capture the melancholy of Wednesday, a whale who lived in a fishbowl in the middle of a gray city. When she leaps up, Wednesday sees “a calm bit of blue” in the distance. She wonders what it is, and with a tremendous leap that tips over the fishbowl (pictured in a vertical gatefold), the spilled water whooshes Wednesday through the city and out to sea, and she finds herself singing for the first time in her life.
    —CBB

    Zola’s Elephant. Randall Sève. Ill. Pamela Zagarenski. 2018. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

    Zola's ElephantA young girl with an overactive imagination doesn’t want to meet her new neighbor, Zola, who she believes has an elephant with whom she takes baths, plays hide-and-seek, builds a clubhouse, and tells stories (activities portrayed in playful multimedia paintings). Admitting, “I really like elephants,” she finally goes next door and discovers that her assumptions are incorrect and that, indeed, she can be Zola’s new friend.
    —NB

    Ages 9–11

    Every Month Is a New Year: Celebrations Around the World. Marilyn Singer. Ill. Susan L. Roth. 2018. Lee & Low.

    Every Month is a New YearFree verse poems and colorful, mixed-media collage illustrations create a calendar of celebrations of the new year around the world including the midnight ball drop in Times Square in New York City (December 31); Songkran, the Thai New Year Celebration in Thailand  (April 13 to 15); and Diwali, the five-day Hindu Festival of Lights, in India in November.
    —NB

    Lu (Track #4). Jason Reynolds. 2018. Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum/Simon & Schuster.

    LuIn this conclusion to Reynolds’ series about the members of the Defenders, an elite youth track team, Lu—with the help of his friends, family, and coach—overcomes hurdles on and off the track, as he practices for the championship track meet and faces bullies, accepts his identity as an albino African-American, and begins to understand his father’s past. Most importantly, Lu learns that integrity means “having a gold medal . . . on the inside.”
    —NB

    Not One Damsel in Distress: Heroic Girls from World Folklore. Jane Yolen. Ill. Susan Guevara. 2018. Houghton Mifflin.

    Not One Damsel in DistressIn an introductory letter to her daughter and granddaughters, Yolen states that she wrote this book because she didn’t have a book like it as a child. Her retellings of 15 folktales show that strong, brave, and resourceful girls have always been around. They’ve just been “hidden away . . . in the back storeroom of folklore.”
    —CBB

    Pass Go and Collect $200: The Real Story of How Monopoly Was Invented. Tanya Lee Stone. Ill. Steven Salerno. 2018. Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt.

    Pass GoIn 1904, Elizabeth Magie patented the board game that we now call Monopoly, which has been played by over one billion people around the world. Lizzie created the Landlord’s Game based on the economic injustices she noticed in 1800s America. Over the years, others have modified the game and tried to take credit for Monopoly, but Stone shares the true story of the game’s inventor. Back matter includes a “Tremendous Trivia! page, some “Monopoly Math” problems, an author’s note, and sources.
    —CBB

    Ages 12–14

    Backyard Bears: Conservation, Habitat Changes, and the Rise of Urban Wildlife (Scientists in the Field). Amy Cherrix. 2018. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

    Backyard BearsCherrix, a resident of Asheville, provides a close-up view of “backyard bears” being studied in a five-year investigation of North Carolina’s black bear population as she reports on her in-the-field experiences with biologists from the North Carolina Urban/Suburban Black Bear Study. Cherrix also includes other examples of the rise of urban wildlife around the world. 
    —CA

    China: A History. Cheryl Bardoe. 2018. Abrams.

    China HistoryUsing artifacts and images from The Field Museum in Chicago, where she was the senior project manager of exhibitions, Bardoe presents a fascinating and accessible history of China, the world’s oldest urban civilization, from prehistoric times to the 21st century, as well as predictions for the future. Back matter includes a time line and detailed notes on artifacts from the museum.
    —CBB

    D-Day: The World War II Invasion That Changed History. Deborah Hopkinson. 2018. Scholastic Focus/Scholastic.

    D-DayHopkinson’s fascinating and accessible account on the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, focuses on the experiences of Americans at Omaha and Utah Beaches. The narrative, which includes sections called “Briefings” that provide context, “Dispatches” with personal accounts, and “Reporter’s Notebook” entries about reporters and photographers who covered the invasion, is enhanced by maps, archival photographs and extensive back matter.
    —CA

    Thoreau at Walden. John Porcellino. 2018. Disney-Hyperion.

    Thoreau at Walden 2Porcellino tells the story of the two years Henry David Thoreau (18171832) spent at Walden Pond with excerpts of Thoreau’s philosophical observations on man’s relationship to nature (“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”) paired with simple line drawings in graphic novel panels. An introduction describing Thoreau’s life, an afterword by the author telling why he chose to write this book as an “impression of experience,” and a “Panel Discussions” section are included.
    —NB

    Ages 15+

    All the Stars Denied. Guadalupe Garcia McCall. 2018. Tu/Lee & Low.

    All the Stars DeniedIn this companion book to Shame the Stars (2016), which takes place 15 years later, 15-year-old Estrella del Toro, her family, and many in their community, whether citizens or not, have been brutally deported from their Texas homes to Mexico through mass Mexican repatriation during the Great Depression (the first “repatriation” deportation in U.S. history). Estrella and her family must overcome horrific obstacles to be reunited in Texas. Back matter for this timely, thought-provoking historical novel includes an author’s note, a further reading list, and glossary.
    —NB

    Isle of Blood and Stone (Tower of Winds #1). Makiia Lucier. 2018. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

    Isle of Blood and StoneNineteen-year-old Elias, the royal mapmaker, is set on a quest by his best friend, King Ulises, to solve an 18-year-old mystery: What happened to Elias’ father, Lord Antoni (the Royal Navigator) and Ulises’ two older brothers (one of whom would have become king) who vanished during a picnic along with Elias’ father? Through solving riddles on two cryptic maps and with the help of Ulises, the king’s cousin Mercedes, and sometimes unexpected allies, Elias uncovers unimaginable truths that could change his life and the course of the island kingdom of St. John del Mar in this adventurous fantasy.
    —NB

    A Thousand Beginnings and Endings: 15 Retellings of Asian Myths and Legends. Elise Oh & Elsie Chapman (Ed.). 2018. Greenwillow/HarperCollins.

    A Thousand Beginnings and EndingsAuthors with Asian roots reimagine popular myths and legends in East and South Asian cultures in short stories incorporating folktale elements such as love, fate, malevolence, revenge, and magic that delight and evoke a range of emotional responses. Each story is followed by a note from the author with a description of the traditional tale that inspired its retelling.
    —CA

    Undocumented: A Worker’s Fight. Duncan Tonatiuh. 2018. Abrams ComicArts/Abrams.

    UndocumentedEighteen-year-old Mixteco Juan crosses the border and takes a job as a busboy in a restaurant where he is underpaid and works 12-hour shifts, seven days a week. After years working under unfair conditions, Juan joins the fight for equal rights for all workers. Tonatiuh’s evocative and timely graphic story about the plight of undocumented workers in the U.S. is illustrated in his signature Mixtec codex style on accordion-fold pages.
    —CA

    Carolyn Angus is former director of the George G. Stone Center for Children's Books, Claremont Graduate University, in Claremont, California. Chelsey M. Bahlmann Bollinger is an assistant professor in the Early, Elementary, and Reading Department at James Madison University, in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Nancy Brashear is Professor Emeritus of English, Azusa Pacific University, in Azusa, California.

    These reviews are submitted by members of the International Literacy Association's Children's Literature and Reading Special Interest Group (CL/R SIG) and are published weekly on Literacy Daily.

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    Herstory: Achievements of Women in the Past and the Present (Continued)

    By Nancy Brashear and Carolyn Angus
     | Dec 17, 2018

    In this week’s column we review more of the trade books published in 2018 that tell “her stories,” stories about the achievements of female visionaries, creative thinkers, innovators, activists, and doers in the past and the present. These stories need to be heard and read today and will inspire young people to dare to dream big.

    Ages 4–8

    Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race. Margot Lee Shetterly (with Winifred Conkling). Ill. Laura Freeman. 2018. HarperCollins.

    Hidden FiguresThis informational picture book, inspired by Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race (William Morrow), tells the story of four black women who “were good at math. Really good.” These women were “hidden figures” who did the seemingly impossible, overcoming sexism and racism through determination, persistence, and hard work to make important contributions in the field of aeronautics and space exploration. Back matter includes a timeline highlighting the dates when the four women started working as computers in the federal government’s aeronautics and space programs (during a time when mathematical computations were done by humans, not machines); a “Meet the Computers” section with biographies of Dorothy Johnson Vaughan (19102008), Mary Winston Jackson (19212005), Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson (1918–present), and Dr. Christine Mann Darden (1942–present); a glossary; and an author’s note in which Shetterly shares her hope that Hidden Figures will inspire readers “to ride their dreams as high as their talent and determination will take them.”
    —CA

    Spring After Spring: How Rachel Carson Inspired the Environmental Movement. Stephanie Roth Sisson. 2018. Roaring Brook.

    Spring After Spring“Spring after spring, year after year,” Rachel Carson explored nature during her childhood. She wanted to be a writer until, during a college course, she became fascinated by the plants and animals she saw in a drop of water through a microscope and decided to study biology. She became an underwater researcher and wrote books about the sea. Then, always a careful observer, she started to notice that “all around, nature’s voices were going quiet” and began the research that led to the discovery that the chemicals being used to kill insects were harmful to humans and other animals. Her book Silent Spring (Houghton Mifflin) raised public awareness of the destruction of the environment by poisons such as DDT, led to the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency, and inspired the environmental movement. Stephanie Roth Sisson’s use of paneled, full-page, and double-page spreads of mixed-media artwork makes this biography of Rachel Carson (19071964) an inviting introduction for young readers to the important contributions made by this scientist, writer, and environmental activist. Back matter includes an author’s note, notes providing additional information related to specific pages of the book, a bibliography, and source notes.
    —CA

    Turning Pages: My Life Story. Sonia Sotomayor. Ill. LuLu Delacre. 2018. Philomel/Penguin.

    Turning PagesIn this picture book autobiography, Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina U.S. Supreme Court associate justice, encourages young readers to dream big. Although forced to deal with difficult challenges during her childhood such as learning English, experiencing the death of her father, and being diagnosed with childhood diabetes, she found courage and direction in words. The recurrent phrase “Books were . . .” threads itself throughout the text of Turning Pages, and LuLu Delacre’s artwork, created in mixed media with oil washes and collage elements, clearly shows how important books have been to Sotomayor throughout her life. The endpapers feature captioned photographs of Sotomayor’s childhood, family, and friends and milestones of her academic and professional life. Back matter includes a timeline of Sotomayor’s life from her birth in the Bronx (June 25, 1954) to her swearing in as the 111th Justice of the Supreme Court (August 8, 2009).
    —NB

    Ages 9–11

    Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World. Vashti Harrison. 2018. Little, Brown.

    Little DreamersThis collective biography is an inspiring celebration of 36 visionary women from around the world and throughout history. Double-page spreads pair a colorful, interest-catching portrait (done in Adobe Photoshop) with one page of text about the life and work of each trailblazer—from Fatima Al-Fihri, a ninth-century North African educational philanthropist who built Al Quaraouiyine, the oldest university in the world, to Maya Lin (1959), the sculptor and architect who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC.  A “More Little Dreamers” section includes biographical sketches of 18 other visionary women. Back matter includes a list of resources to learn more about these women, sources Harrison used in her research, a glossary, and acknowledgments.
    —CA

    So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth’s Long Walk Toward Freedom. Gary D. Schmidt. Ill. Daniel Minter. 2018. Roaring Brook.

    So Tall WithinSold into slavery as a child, Isabella continued to face hardship: a family ripped apart, betrayal by an owner who lied about setting her free, the kidnapping of her 5-year-old son (who was later returned to her, damaged for life), and other painful injustices. Daniel Minter’s beautifully composed and somber paintings, created in a predominately russet and blue palette, complement Gary D. Schmidt’s lyrical story that culminates in Isabella adopting the name Sojourner Truth and walking across America “to tell the truth about Slavery.” Weary upon her return home, she asks herself, “What is anybody in the world for?” and realizes “[I] had a work to do. My lost time . . . being a slave was made up.” Back matter includes a biographical note with additional information about Sojourner Truth, a bibliography, and artist’s notes in which Minter explains his use of a series of vertical paintings to introduce events in Sojourner Truth’s life.
    —NB

    Ages 12–14

    Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women. Catherine Thimmesh. Ill. Melissa Sweet. 2018. Houghton Mifflin.

    Girls Think of EverythingThis new edition of Girls Think of Everything, originally published in 2000, has been revised and updated to include stories that spotlight the diversity of the female inventors and inventions related to the technological world we live in today. Following an introduction on women as inventors throughout history, short chapters with Catherine Thimmesh’s engaging narratives, complemented by Melissa Sweet’s clever mixed-media collage artwork, present 15 inventions and the creative thinkers behind them that range from the famous chocolate chip cookie accidentally created by Ruth Wakefield to the computer compiler invented by Grace Murray Hopper to the space bumper invented by Jeanne Lee Crews. Front and back endpapers present a time line of inventions by women from pre-1800s to the present. The final chapter, “Your Turn,” includes information on patenting inventions and contests and organization that will be of particular interest to aspiring young innovators. Back matter includes sources, a glossary, and an index.
    —NB

    She Did It!: 21 Women Who Changed the Way We Think. Emily Arnold McCully. 2018. Hyperion.

    She Did It!In this collective biography, Emily Arnold McCully profiles 21 women who have significantly influenced the way Americans think. The entries (arranged chronologically) feature a full-page portrait (rendered in pen-and-ink and watercolors) and one-page introduction, followed by extensive narrative on each woman’s life and accomplishments. The accessible and well-organized chapters include sidebars providing historical context, spot art, and a quotation. The diverse group of women begins with pioneer investigative journalist Ida Minerva Tarbell (1857–1944) and ends with Temple Grandin (1947–present), the scientist who changed perceptions of autism. A last section, “Second Wave Feminism,” covers the women’s liberation movement in the 1960s and 1970s. McCully ends with a timely, thought-provoking statement: “The Second Wave had made women’s rights human rights. A generation had awakened and fought for those rights. But sexism is ancient and persistent and must be beaten back again and again.” Back matter includes sources and an index.
    —CA

    Ages 15+

    Becoming. Michelle Obama. 2018. Crown/Random House.

    Becoming Michelle ObamaMichelle Robinson Obama—lawyer, writer, and wife of Barack Obama, 44th president of the United States—is the first African-American woman to serve as First Lady. Her memoir, which is divided into “Becoming Me,” “Becoming Us,” and “Becoming More,” begins with her growing up in a loving family in the South Side of Chicago and ends as she, her husband, and two daughters reenter civilian life after eight years (2009–2017) in the White House. Spending the majority of her adult life as an advocate within African-American and other communities for women’s rights in the workplace, for issues related to childhood obesity, for needs of military families, and for educating girls around the world, she celebrates the transformative power of “owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.” Endpaper photographs, a preface, and an epilogue complete this inspiring story of a woman who continues to empower us to work together for greater possibilities for all people.
    —NB

    The Strange True Tale of Frankenstein’s Creator Mary Shelley. Catherine Reef. 2018. Clarion/Houghton Mifflin.

    The Strange True Tale of Frankenstein's CreatorIn 1797, Mary Shelley was born to feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft, who died shortly after giving birth to her. Raised by William Godwin (her strict, atheist, bookseller, anti-establishment father), Mary met poet Percy Bysshe Shelley when he attended intellectual discussions with other up-and-coming young gentlemen, led by her father in their home. Falling in love, 16-year-old Mary married Percy. The couple fled and began a family, living an unconventional life as they traveled as free spirits from one place to another—and suffered tragedies along the way. Early on, beginning with a challenge to write a ghost story in a week, 18-year-old Mary created her soon-to-become-a-classic Frankenstein and, thus, began her career as an author. This fascinating biography is enlivened with an abundance of photographs, sketches, engravings, and documents. Back matter includes notes, a bibliography, a list of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s published works, and an index.  
    —NB

    Nancy Brashear is Professor Emeritus of English, Azusa Pacific University, in Azusa, California. Carolyn Angus is former director of the George G. Stone Center for Children's Books, Claremont Graduate University, in Claremont, California.

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