Gives readers excellent reasons to remember this pioneering woman politician.

MARGARET CHASE SMITH

From the She Persisted series

One of the least-known members of the original She Persisted pantheon gets her due.

Margaret Chase was born in the mostly White mill town of Skowhegan, Maine, in 1897. From girlhood, she was a hard worker, first in the home (she was the oldest of six) and then in the community. A job as a telephone operator cultivated what would much later be called networking skills, and thanks to her work ethic and confident independence, she became a leader among professional women both local and statewide and won election to the town council twice. In 1930, she married local politician Clyde Smith, masterfully running his successful campaign for Congress. When he died, she ran for—and won—his seat, serving in Congress for several terms before winning election to the Senate. It was there, as a freshman Republican senator, that she faced down Joseph McCarthy and his enablers with her “Declaration of Conscience” speech. Though Shamir neglects to name the speech, she provides a cogent, age-appropriate summary of McCarthyism as well as giving her young readers an excellent overview of U.S. electoral politics and the structure of the federal government. She also makes clear the unique challenges that Smith faced as a woman in mostly male spaces throughout her career, up to her 1964 run for the Republican nomination for president.

Gives readers excellent reasons to remember this pioneering woman politician. (suggested activities, bibliography) (Biography. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11589-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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Lacking structure.

BOTTLE TOPS

THE ART OF EL ANATSUI

An introduction to the work of El Anatsui.

In this half-baked biography of the acclaimed Ghanaian artist, Goldberg attempts to string together a comprehensive description of the subject’s life and art—with special attention to his striking sculptures made from bottle caps—and the politics that shaped both. Compelling illustrations—in paint and collage and supported with photographs of Anatsui’s original works in the backmatter—convey aspects of the artist’s life, though they may not hold a young reader’s attention as well as a sparkling, 30-foot-tall fabric sculpture. With little to no background on how Anatsui rose to prominence in the global art scene and only the lightest of touches on the political background in Ghana, why he left to live in Nigeria, or why the trans-Atlantic slave trade might be an important topic for his art, the writing lacks a clear driving theme or message. Passable for those familiar with the work but otherwise flimsy, this book falls prey to the trap of oversimplification on too many fronts, among them the development of an artist, the importance of contemporary African art abroad, and the concept of reusing and recycling; even the “art activity” proposed in the backmatter leaves something to be desired. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Lacking structure. (author’s note, text sources, quotation sources) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: May 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-62014-966-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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This lighthearted addition to the STEM shelf encourages children to question, hypothesize, experiment, and observe.

IT'S A ROUND, ROUND WORLD!

From the Joulia Copernicus series

In a confident first-person narrative, young scientist Joulia Copernicus debunks the story that Columbus “proved Earth is round.”

Informing readers that Columbus knew this fact, and so did most people of his time, Joulia also points out that “Ancient Greek, Islamic, and Indian scholars theorized that Earth was round WAY before Columbus’s time.” Confident Joulia explains how Columbus, shown as a haughty captain in the humorous, cartoon illustrations, and his fellow mariners confirmed Earth was round by discerning “that when ships sail away from you, they seem to disappear from the bottom. When they sail toward you, they appear from the top. On a flat Earth, you’d see the entire ship the entire time.” The accompanying illustrations, almost like animation cels, provide the visuals readers need to confirm these assertions. Joulia also turns to astronomy. A lunar eclipse is the highlight of a double-page spread with a large yellow sun, a personified blue and green Earth wearing sunglasses, and the moon moving in iterations through the Earth’s shadow. This shows readers that the Earth’s shadow is “ROUND!” Joulia has straight, brown hair and pale skin and is almost always the only human in any given illustration. It’s great to see a young woman scientist, but it’s too bad there’s not more diversity around her. Two experiments stimulate further exploration.

This lighthearted addition to the STEM shelf encourages children to question, hypothesize, experiment, and observe. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63592-128-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: StarBerry Books

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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