Highlighting an important figure, this book also demonstrates that one can excel in more than one field.

MARYAM’S MAGIC

THE STORY OF MATHEMATICIAN MARYAM MIRZAKHANI

The achievements of mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani—first woman and first Iranian to win the Fields Medal, the most important award in the field of mathematics—are celebrated in this new picture book.

Readers meet Maryam as a young girl, a storyteller and an avid reader—her favorite street was filled with bookstores. She was not, however, a fan of math until she discovered geometry, which made her feel like “every number held a story.” Reid delves into Maryam’s life, describing her studies and interests in high school and college in Iran, her pursuit of a graduate degree at Harvard University, her winning the Fields Medal in 2014, and her death in 2017, at the age of 40. She weaves in details such as Maryam’s native language, Farsi; her best friend, Roya; her daughter, Anahita; her secret battle with breast cancer. Jaleel’s soft cartoons pair well with Reid’s words, reinforcing that Maryam was not just a math genius, but someone who loved books and used stories to solve tough problems. When depicting her life in Iran, illustrations show Maryam wearing hijab according to custom; in the U.S. Maryam’s short hair is shown uncovered. An author’s note includes more information on the connections Reid felt with Maryam; a timeline and further reading round out the work. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 63.9% of actual size.)

Highlighting an important figure, this book also demonstrates that one can excel in more than one field. (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-291596-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Informative yet optimistic, this cri du coeur from Planet Awesome deserves wide attention.

OUR PLANET! THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE EARTH

From the Our Universe series , Vol. 6

The sixth in McAnulty’s Our Universe series focuses on Earth’s human-caused problems, offering some family-level activities for mitigation.

Vivaciously narrated by “Planet Awesome,” the text establishes facts about how Earth’s location with regard to the sun allows life to flourish, the roles of the ocean and atmosphere, and the distinctions between weather and climate. McAnulty clearly explains how people have accelerated climate change “because so many human things need energy.” Soft-pedaling, she avoids overt indictment of fossil fuels: “Sometimes energy leads to dirty water, dirty land, and dirty air.” Dire changes are afoot: “Some land is flooding. Other land is too dry—and hot. YIKES! Not good.” “And when I’m in trouble, Earthlings are in trouble, too.” Litchfield’s engaging art adds important visual information where the perky text falls short. On one spread, a factory complex spews greenhouse gases in three plumes, each identified by the chemical symbols for carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Throughout, planet Earth is appealingly represented with animated facial features and arms—one green, one blue. The palette brightens and darkens in sync with the text’s respective messages of hope and alarm. Final pages introduce alternative energy sources—wind, hydro, solar, and “human power—that’s from your own two feet.” Lastly, Earth provides excellent ideas for hyperlocal change, from buying less new stuff to planting trees. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Informative yet optimistic, this cri du coeur from Planet Awesome deserves wide attention. (author’s note, numerical facts, atmospheric facts, ideas for action, sources) (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-78249-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments.

SUPERHEROES ARE EVERYWHERE

The junior senator from California introduces family and friends as everyday superheroes.

The endpapers are covered with cascades of, mostly, early childhood snapshots (“This is me contemplating the future”—caregivers of toddlers will recognize that abstracted look). In between, Harris introduces heroes in her life who have shaped her character: her mom and dad, whose superpowers were, respectively, to make her feel special and brave; an older neighbor known for her kindness; grandparents in India and Jamaica who “[stood] up for what’s right” (albeit in unspecified ways); other relatives and a teacher who opened her awareness to a wider world; and finally iconic figures such as Thurgood Marshall and Constance Baker Motley who “protected people by using the power of words and ideas” and whose examples inspired her to become a lawyer. “Heroes are…YOU!” she concludes, closing with a bulleted Hero Code and a timeline of her legal and political career that ends with her 2017 swearing-in as senator. In group scenes, some of the figures in the bright, simplistic digital illustrations have Asian features, some are in wheelchairs, nearly all are people of color. Almost all are smiling or grinning. Roe provides everyone identified as a role model with a cape and poses the author, who is seen at different ages wearing an identifying heart pin or decoration, next to each.

Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments. (Picture book/memoir. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-984837-49-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more