“So, speak up, rise up, dream big,” Clinton urges—but, again, offers only tantalizing glimpses of women who did that.

SHE PERSISTED AROUND THE WORLD

13 WOMEN WHO CHANGED HISTORY

A scope-broadening companion to She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World (2017).

Arranged in their subjects’ birth order (though frequently without any dates), the brief tributes focus on the achievements of selected women from countries other than the U.S. Activists’ causes include the right to an education (Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Mexico, and Malala Yousafzai, Pakistan), environmentalism (Wangari Maathai, Kenya), anti-war protests (Leymah Gbowee, Liberia) and women’s suffrage (Kate Sheppard, New Zealand, whose cause included Maori women). Marie Curie gets a nod for her two Nobel prizes, Egyptian Aisha Rateb for her trailblazing legal career, and Joanne “J.K.” Rowling for Harry Potter. Brazilian soccer star Sisleide “Sissi” Lima do Amor is the one athlete in the lineup. The roster is, overall, both racially and nationally diverse—though as Chinese-American dancer Yuan Yuan Tan has spent most of her life in this country, East Asia seems underrepresented. Personal detail is so skimpy that, for instance, readers will have to infer from context that Canadian civil rights activist Viola Desmond was a woman of color. Clinton does note that astronomer Caroline Herschel was barely 4 feet tall due to a childhood disease, and following an early accident, pioneering Indian doctor Mary Verghese worked from a wheelchair. Each entry appears with a visionary quote and, from Boiger, fluidly brushed watercolor portraits of the subject as a dignified adult and also, often, a child. There is no backmatter to guide inspired readers to further information.

“So, speak up, rise up, dream big,” Clinton urges—but, again, offers only tantalizing glimpses of women who did that. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-51699-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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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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