Runs off the rails partway through but offers food for thought to children taking their right to an education for granted.

SECRET SCHOOLS

TRUE STORIES OF THE DETERMINATION TO LEARN

Inspiring tributes to select underground and nontraditional schools and those who founded them.

Gathering her brief accounts into thematic chapters, Camlot starts off with cases of schools founded to preserve suppressed languages or cultural identities—for Japanese migrant workers in Brazil and Indigenous Kichwa speakers in Ecuador in the mid-20th century, for instance—then goes on to highlight similar efforts to educate enslaved or imprisoned people (in the United States and the Third Reich) and girls and women in countries such as Iran, Afghanistan, and Poland. Many of the activist founders and teachers remain anonymous, but Camlot does offer nods to, for example, Frederick Douglass and Nelson Mandela as well as Ecuador’s crusader Dolores Cacuango, Lithuanian book smuggler Jurgis Bielinis (whose birthday is a national holiday), and Mohammed Nasir Rahiyab, supporter of the subversive “Golden Needle Sewing School” in Herat, Afghanistan. How an ensuing look at spy training academies in Canada, Great Britain, and the USSR fits in is anybody’s guess, though, and along with reporting on a school in Jakarta for children of Muslim suicide bombers and underground reading groups in South Korea in the 1980s, the final chapter features only tantalizing glimpses of modern experiments in, as the heading has it, “Radical Learning.” Taniguchi’s stylized illustrations of studious figures in small groups underscore the fact that most of the courageous teachers and students here are or were people of color.

Runs off the rails partway through but offers food for thought to children taking their right to an education for granted. (notes, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-77147-460-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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Superficial but kind of fun.

THE ADVENTUROUS KID’S GUIDE TO THE WORLD’S MOST MYSTERIOUS PLACES

Take a magic-carpet ride to far-flung and seldom-seen locations.

Readers can follow a young, pale-skinned, khaki-clad adventurer as they set out on their magic carpet to explore unusual, unexpected, and sometimes dangerous spots around the world. Locations visited include the exclusive interior of Air Force One, the remote depths of the Mariana Trench, and the (potentially) fatal shores of Brazil’s Snake Island, among others. Each adventure follows a uniform template, whereby the location is introduced in a sweeping double-page painting with an introductory paragraph followed by another spread of images and facts. The illustrations are attractive, a bit reminiscent of work done by the Dillons in the 1970s and ’80s. Alas, while the text correctly states that the Upper Paleolithic art in France’s Lascaux cave features only one depiction of a human, the introductory illustration interpolates without explanation a probably Neolithic hunting scene with several humans from a Spanish site—which is both confusing and wrong. Trivia fans will enjoy the mixture of fact and speculation about the various locations; a small further-reading section in the back points to more information. While the potentially off-putting choice of magic carpet as conveyance is never explained, there is a disclaimer warning readers that the book’s creators will not take responsibility if they suffer calamity trying to actually visit any of these places. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Superficial but kind of fun. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5159-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Magic Cat

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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A disorganized grab bag with parts that may be of some value to young stargazers.

LUNA

THE SCIENCE AND STORIES OF OUR MOON

A picture of our nearest cosmic neighbor, from violent origins to likely demise.

Aguilar, a veteran science writer and illustrator, opens with a recap of (theorized) stages in the moon’s evolution over the past 4.5 billion years. Then, in no particular order, he speeds through a jumble of lunar topics including tides and phases, the Great Moon Hoax of 1835, werewolves, moon-based festivals, and visits both fantastic and real. In a more practical vein, at least for budding sky watchers, he follows a simplified map of the moon’s near side with closer looks at 17 craters and other features easily visible through small telescopes or binoculars before closing, after a scenario of the moon’s probable end, with instructions for creating a plaster or papier-mâché moonscape and for drawing (not photographing!) lunar features observed through a lens. All of this is presented against a seamless series of photos and realistic paintings, sometimes a mix of the two. The author’s ethnography in his discussion of myths is at best superficial, and his survey of earthly history ends with the Apollo program, but his astronomy-based descriptions and explanations are clear and well-founded.

A disorganized grab bag with parts that may be of some value to young stargazers. (websites, index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3322-4

Page Count: 64

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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