A compelling story that's empowering and inspirational.


From the She Persisted series

This latest in the She Persisted series explores the life of Malala Yousafzai, the fierce teenage activist from Pakistan who advocated for the right to an education.

This nonfiction chapter book opens with Yousafzai’s birth in Pakistan’s verdant Swat Valley. Readers learn that Yousafzai’s father named her after legendary Afghan poet Malalai of Maiwand. Inherently curious, she was a bright student, encouraged by her schoolteacher father. When the Taliban started closing, and then blowing up, schools, 11-year-old Yousafzai was forced to give up her education temporarily. But she refused to let that defeat her and began to write and talk about what was happening—a move that brought her into the Taliban’s crosshairs; when she was 15, two men shot her in the head. Yousafzai recovered from her injury and refused to let the attempt on her life deter her, becoming an inspiration to the world, a staunch defendant of the right to education. The book brings together major events in Yousafzai’s life yet also offers readers a deeper understanding about larger issues such as the right to education, which has often been denied to girls and women, and the power of advocacy. It also offers a comprehensible yet nuanced consideration of Islam (“But Malala was also Muslim, and she knew what they were doing was not acceptable in her religion”). Final illustrations not seen.

A compelling story that's empowering and inspirational. (“how you can persist,” references) (Illustrated chapter book. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-40291-7

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

What makes one person step into danger to help others? A question worthy of discussion, with this title as an admirable...



An extraordinary athlete was also an extraordinary hero.

Gino Bartali grew up in Florence, Italy, loving everything about riding bicycles. After years of studying them and years of endurance training, he won the 1938 Tour de France. His triumph was muted by the outbreak of World War II, during which Mussolini followed Hitler in the establishment of anti-Jewish laws. In the middle years of the conflict, Bartali was enlisted by a cardinal of the Italian church to help Jews by becoming a document courier. His skill as a cyclist and his fame helped him elude capture until 1944. When the war ended, he kept his clandestine efforts private and went on to win another Tour de France in 1948. The author’s afterword explains why his work was unknown. Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust museum, honored him as a Righteous Among the Nations in 2013. Bartali’s is a life well worth knowing and well worthy of esteem. Fedele’s illustrations in mostly dark hues will appeal to sports fans with their action-oriented scenes. Young readers of World War II stories will gain an understanding from the somber wartime pages.

What makes one person step into danger to help others? A question worthy of discussion, with this title as an admirable springboard. (photograph, select bibliography, source notes) (Picture book/biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68446-063-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Capstone Editions

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Gives readers a fresh and thrilling sense of what it took to make history.


The backstory of a renowned address is revealed.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech” is one of the most famous ever given, yet with this book, Wittenstein and Pinkney give young readers new insights into both the speech and the man behind it. When Dr. King arrived in Washington, D.C., for the 1963 March on Washington, the speech was not yet finished. He turned to his fellow civil rights leaders for advice, and after hours of listening, he returned to his room to compose, fine-tuning even the day of the march. He went on to deliver a powerful speech, but as he closed, he moved away from the prepared text and into a stirring sermon. “Martin was done circling. / The lecture was over. / He was going to church, / his place to land, / and taking a congregation / of two hundred and fifty thousand / along for the ride.” Although much hard work still lay ahead, the impact of Dr. King’s dramatic words and delivery elevated that important moment in the struggle for equal rights. Wittenstein’s free-verse narrative perfectly captures the tension leading up to the speech as each adviser urged his own ideas while remaining a supportive community. Pinkney’s trademark illustrations dramatize this and the speech, adding power and further illuminating the sense of historical importance.

Gives readers a fresh and thrilling sense of what it took to make history. (author’s note, lists of advisers and speakers, bibliography, source notes) (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4331-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet