EDITH WILSON

THE WOMAN WHO RAN THE UNITED STATES

In the ``Women of Our Time'' series, the first biography from an author noted for innovative looks at social history (Milk, 1986). After President Wilson's stroke during his unsuccessful effort to promote US membership in the League of Nations, his wife—at the behest of his doctors—acted for more than a year as his intermediary, deciding what he was told, summarizing documents for him, and conveying his decisions. Though she was attacked for her role (particularly by the White House staff and the Republican opposition), history credits her with doing a fine job of it; as Giblin concludes, ``she showed a remarkable devotion, courage, intelligence, and sense of what was important...essential qualities for anyone...who hopes to be an effective president.'' Focusing on this crucial period, Giblin describes previous circumstances that were germane to it (Edith's caring for a disabled grandmother as a child; her successful management of a business after her first husband's death; Woodrow's habit of sharing issues and decisions with her, even before their marriage), skillfully enlivening his text with direct quotes from letters, diaries, etc. Scrupulously authentic and lucidly presented: a fascinating glimpse of the political scene, not so long ago. Illustrations not seen. (Biography. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-670-83005-4

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1992

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For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

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BROWN GIRL DREAMING

A multiaward–winning author recalls her childhood and the joy of becoming a writer.

Writing in free verse, Woodson starts with her 1963 birth in Ohio during the civil rights movement, when America is “a country caught / / between Black and White.” But while evoking names such as Malcolm, Martin, James, Rosa and Ruby, her story is also one of family: her father’s people in Ohio and her mother’s people in South Carolina. Moving south to live with her maternal grandmother, she is in a world of sweet peas and collards, getting her hair straightened and avoiding segregated stores with her grandmother. As the writer inside slowly grows, she listens to family stories and fills her days and evenings as a Jehovah’s Witness, activities that continue after a move to Brooklyn to reunite with her mother. The gift of a composition notebook, the experience of reading John Steptoe’s Stevie and Langston Hughes’ poetry, and seeing letters turn into words and words into thoughts all reinforce her conviction that “[W]ords are my brilliance.” Woodson cherishes her memories and shares them with a graceful lyricism; her lovingly wrought vignettes of country and city streets will linger long after the page is turned.

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-25251-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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FARMER GEORGE PLANTS A NATION

A pleasing new picture book looks at George Washington’s career through an agricultural lens. Sprinkling excerpts from his letters and diaries throughout to allow its subject to speak in his own voice, the narrative makes a convincing case for Washington’s place as the nation’s First Farmer. His innovations, in addition to applying the scientific method to compost, include a combination plow-tiller-harrow, the popularization of the mule and a two-level barn that put horses to work at threshing grain in any weather. Thomas integrates Washington’s military and political adventures into her account, making clear that it was his frustration as a farmer that caused him to join the revolutionary cause. Lane’s oil illustrations, while sometimes stiff, appropriately portray a man who was happiest when working the land. Backmatter includes a timeline, author’s notes on both Mount Vernon and Washington the slaveholder, resources for further exploration and a bibliography. (Picture book/biography. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-59078-460-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2008

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