A hardworking addition to U.S. history shelves.


From the Great Documents Collection series

In 1776, some of the most respected men in Great Britain’s American Colonies signed the Declaration of Independence, a revolutionary—but not necessarily transparent—document.

Although the declaration is one of the key documents of American history, its sometimes-archaic language may mystify young citizens of the 21st century. After a few pages of introductory information that describes the conflicts faced by colonists before the Revolutionary War, this effort presents the declaration line by line, explaining the concepts, defining confusing words and ideas, and illuminating the intent of the signers in the context of the time. Occasionally, in sections headed “Think Deeper,” the author asks pointed, thoughtful questions on a variety of issues that have never been fully resolved in the past 245 years, without devolving into revisionist history. The format places original text on verso with the translation on recto, but clever design keeps readers engaged. The double-page spreads are neatly laid out, many including portraits of Founding Fathers presented against appealing, brightly colored backgrounds that vary from spread to spread. A variety of maps, cartoon characters, and period illustrations extend the text. With a reading level appropriate to the upper grade schoolers who are often introduced to this tumultuous period of history, this engaging and surprisingly entertaining effort seems like the perfect choice to accompany and expand lesson plans. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A hardworking addition to U.S. history shelves. (bibliography) (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-638190-48-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Bushel & Peck Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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A great collection of harrowing, true survivor stories.


A large-format hardcover gathers together true stories of adventure and survival.

Two that are well-known, at least to adults, are Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated Antarctic expedition and the ordeal of Aron Ralston, who cut off his own arm with a dull pocketknife in order to extricate himself from a dislodged boulder that trapped him in a narrow canyon, the subject of the film 127 Hours. Lesser known is the story of Poon Lim, who survived 133 days alone in the South Atlantic when the merchant ship he was serving on was sunk by a U-boat. At one point, he caught a shark several feet long, pulled it aboard his raft, beat it to death, and proceeded to suck its blood and eat it raw for nourishment. Seventeen-year-old Juliane Koepcke, the sole survivor of a plane crash in the Peruvian rain forest, relied on survival lessons taught by her parents. During her nine-day ordeal, she poured gasoline on her wounds, which succeeded in removing 35 maggots from one arm. In a skiing accident, Anna Bågenholm was trapped under freezing water for so long her heart stopped. Four hours later, medics managed to warm her blood enough to revive her. The attractive design features a full-page or double-page–spread color illustration depicting a pivotal moment in each well-told story. Entirely absent are such standard features as table of contents, source notes, bibliography, or index, pegging this as an entertainment resource only.

A great collection of harrowing, true survivor stories. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-571-31601-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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How and when the Western Hemisphere, particularly North and South America, came to be populated continues to be both mysterious and controversial for scientists. Archaeologists plug away with the tools at their disposal but have “more questions than answers.” Harrison does a good job setting the issue in context. He describes the earliest efforts to identify the original inhabitants of the continents, exploring the Clovis culture, believed by many to be the first humans to reach North America. After clearly explaining how scholars decided that they were first, he then lists the arguments against this hypothesis. In the course of looking at both sides, he introduces young readers to “the strict rules of archaeology.” The author demonstrates the precise work of those attempting to understand the hidden aspects of human history and how many of these old questions are seen in the light of new technologies and discoveries. The narrative is aided by both photographs and original illustrations that imagine scenes from both the distant past and the field experiences. (glossary, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-59078-561-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2010

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