A highly recommended addition to this stellar series.

OPRAH WINFREY

From the She Persisted series

In this series of chapter-book biographies, the common theme is persistence, and that word certainly applies to Oprah Winfrey.

Born to a single mother in Kosciusko, Mississippi, during the Jim Crow era, Oprah was raised by her grandparents on their farm. Once she started school, it was obvious she was bright. However, Oprah’s life was unsettled, as she moved to Wisconsin to join her mother, then two years later to Tennessee to live with her father. Her father was strict about school and church attendance, two areas that gave Oprah opportunities to excel. Her love of reading was noticed, and she was recommended for the Upward Bound program and a rigorous high school. Nevertheless, she struggled with her behavior. During those tumultuous years, Oprah discovered the writings of poet Maya Angelou, and they helped her settle in to schoolwork and speech tournaments. That led to her getting an after-school job at a radio station, then a TV station during college. A move to a Baltimore station led to her success in the interview format and ultimately The Oprah Winfrey Show and international fame. This is a lively introduction to the life of a woman who beat many odds to become successful. Award-winning author Watson describes Oprah’s triumphs as well as her difficulties, including sexual abuse, in age-appropriate prose. Young readers who know only the accomplished philanthropist will take inspiration from knowing of her beginnings. Flint’s black-and-white illustrations enhance the text.

A highly recommended addition to this stellar series. (suggested activities, acknowledgments, references) (Biography. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11598-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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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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A book to share that celebrates an immigrant and his abiding love for his adopted country, its holidays, and his “home sweet...

IRVING BERLIN, THE IMMIGRANT BOY WHO MADE AMERICA SING

A Jewish immigrant from Russia gives America some of its most iconic and beloved songs.

When Israel Baline was just 5 years old, his family fled pogroms in the Russian Empire and landed in New York City’s Lower East Side community. In the 1890s the neighborhood was filled with the sights, smells, and, most of all, sounds of a very crowded but vibrant community of poor Europeans who sailed past the Statue of Liberty in New York’s harbor to make a new life. Israel, who later became Irving Berlin, was eager to capture those sounds in music. He had no formal musical training but succeeded grandly by melding the rich cantorial music of his father with the spirit of America. Churnin’s text focuses on Berlin’s early years and how his mother’s words were an inspiration for “God Bless America.” She does not actually refer to Berlin as Jewish until her author’s note. Sanchez’s digital illustrations busily fill the mostly dark-hued pages with angular faces and the recurring motif of a very long swirling red scarf, worn by Berlin throughout. Librarians should note that the CIP information and the timeline are on pages pasted to the inside covers.

A book to share that celebrates an immigrant and his abiding love for his adopted country, its holidays, and his “home sweet home.” (author’s note, timeline) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-939547-44-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Creston

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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