Fight of the Century: Alice Paul Battles Woodrow Wilson for the Vote by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by Sarah Green

Published by Calkins Creek

Fight of the Century: Alice Paul Battles Woodrow Wilson for the ...

Coming Soon: The Fight Of The Century - sarah.green

Summary:  When Woodrow Wilson was elected president in 1912, Alice Paul decided to convince him that U.S. women should be given the right to vote.  After a parade the day before his inauguration and multiple visits to the White House failed to garner any results, Paul and other suffragists began a silent protest in front of the White House.  She was eventually arrested and spent seven months in jail, where she staged a hunger strike. Finally, in early 1918, Wilson agreed to support an amendment for women’s suffrage, and the rest is history as the Nineteenth Amendment granting women the right to vote became law on August 26, 1920.  Includes additional information about Alice Paul and Woodrow Wilson; a timeline of women’s suffrage in the U.S.; photos; and a lengthy bibliography. 40 pages; grades 2-5.

Pros:  Using the format of a prize fight with Paul and Wilson as the two worthy opponents adds an element of fun to this story, but doesn’t take away from the informational value.  The extensive back matter makes it a great research resource.

Cons:  Readers with no background knowledge may find the format a bit confusing.

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All the Way to the Top: How One Girl’s Fight for Americans with Disabilities Changed Everything by Annette Bay Pimentel, pictures by Nabi H. Ali, foreword by Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins

Published by Sourcebooks

All the Way to the Top: How One Girl's Fight for Americans with ...

All the Way to the Top: How One Girl's Fight for Americans with ...

Summary:  From the time she was a young girl, Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins realized her cerebral palsy kept her from doing everything her sister could–and she was determined to change that.  She and her family became activists, joining protests for disability rights all over America. Upon hearing that members of Congress didn’t want to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), they decided to go to Washington, D.C. to join the protest there.  When Jennifer saw some of the adults sliding from their wheelchairs to crawl up the steps to the Capitol building, she wanted to join them. Photos of her climb were shown around the world and helped get the ADA into the news, and finally, passed by Congress. Includes two pages with additional information about disabilities, accessibility, and activism; a page on life before and after the ADA; a timeline of the Disability Rights Movement; the photo of Jennifer; and a bibliography.  32 pages; grades K-4.

Pros:  This excellent resource tells Jennifer’s story in a way that’s accessible to all readers.  Her determination and activism from such a young age may inspire others to get involved in causes they feel passionate about.  If they do, the back matter will give them a good start.

Cons:  It seemed like a photo and biography of the adult Jennifer belonged on the back flap with the author and illustration information.

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Breaking Through: How Female Athletes Shattered Stereotypes in the Roaring Twenties by Sue Macy

Published by National Geographic

Breaking Through by Sue Macy: 9781426336768 | PenguinRandomHouse ...

Summary:  While few women athletes from the 1920’s are widely remembered today, it was an important decade for women’s sports.  In chapter one, we meet Olympic diving gold medalist 14-year-old Aileen Riggin, one of the first American women to compete in the Olympics, held in 1920, the same year U.S. women finally got the right to vote.  Subsequent chapters look at each year in the decade, profiling women athletes, and also looking at the men (and sometimes women) who tried to discourage them from competing. There are plenty of photos and sidebars, and each chapter ends with two pages of other events that occurred during the year, offering a big of historical perspective.  An epilogue summarizes what has happened in women’s sports since the end of the 1920’s, with brief profiles of women athletes from 1930 until the present. Includes an author’s note, additional resources, source notes, and an index. 96 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  A fresh and interesting look at sports, written in an engaging style that will draw readers in.  Boys and girls alike will be inspired by these women who competed, often in multiple sports, against a backdrop of criticism and naysaying, opening up opportunities that continue to this day.

Cons:  The font seemed unnecessarily small, and a high-powered microscope may be needed to decipher the source notes and index.

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My Ocean Is Blue by Darren Lebeuf, illustrated by Ashley Barron

Published by Kids Can Press

Image result for my ocean is blue darren

Image result for my ocean is blue darren

Summary:  A girl and her mother explore many different aspects of the ocean.  It can be shallow or deep; slimy or sandy; sparkly or dull. It can splash, crash, echo, squawk, or be silent. It appears and disappears with the tides.  She finds things that are pink, orange, grey, green, and red in and around the ocean, but mostly it is deep, endless blue. 32 pages; ages 3-7.

Pros:  This follow up to My Forest Is Green will make kids want to go to the beach and look closely at all that is in and around the ocean.  The collage illustrations are filled with great colors and textures that really capture the feel of the seashore.

Cons:  I turned the last page, eagerly expecting additional information and sources about the ocean…nothing.

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Joni: The Lyrical Life of Joni Mitchell by Selina Alko

Published by HarperCollins

Image result for joni the lyrical life of joni mitchell

Summary:  “Joni Mitchell painted with words” begins this story of iconic singer Joni Mitchell.  Growing up in Canada, Joni loved art and music, often feeling a bit alienated from her parents who were “cautious and fixed in their ways”.  After surviving polio at age 10 (the same epidemic that sickened Neil Young), Joni began to pursue music in earnest, buying her first guitar in high school.  Moving from Toronto to New York to California, Joni found inspiration wherever she went: the clouds from her window on an airplane to write “Both Sides Now” and the view from her NYC apartment for “Chelsea Morning”.  Missing Woodstock to perform on TV prompted her to write “Woodstock”, and the aforementioned Neil Young’s song about staying young forever inspired “The Circle Game”. “I sing my sorrow, and I paint my joy,” Joni said, and this quote is illustrated by a collage of her albums spanning 1968 to 2007.  Includes an author’s note, discography, and bibliography. 48 pages; grades 1-5.

I looked at this book from both sides now, and:

Pros:  Any Joni Mitchell fan will appreciate this lyrical story of her life.  The illustrations are a gorgeous mix of painting and collage that perfectly capture Joni’s spirit and her music.  I particularly liked the one of her performing to an audience of Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Judy Collins, Arlo Guthrie, and Pete Seeger.

Cons:  There are probably few 21st century kids who know who Joni Mitchell is.  

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On a Snow-Melting Day: Seeking Signs of Spring by Buffy Silverman

Published by Millbrook Press

Image result for on a snow melting day amazon

Image result for on a snow melting day buffy silverman

Summary:  “On a drip-droppy, slip-sloppy, snow-melting day…squirrels cuddle.  Snakes huddle. Clouds break. Salamanders wake.” The rest of the text of this book takes this format, describing a type of spring day, then showing signs of spring with a subject/verb combination.  The photographs illustrate each phrase, portraying plants and animals in early spring. The final two pages give more information about each of the photos; there’s also a glossary and list of books for further reading.  32 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  This would be a great catalyst to start a conversation about looking for signs of spring.  The photos are sure to inspire kids to think of what they’ve noticed in their own neighborhoods.

Cons:  Like my other recent Millbrook Press review (Run, Sea Turtle, Run), this only comes in an expensive library-bound format: $23.88 on Amazon; $21.04 on Follet.

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Ruth Objects: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Eric Velasquez

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Image result for ruth objects the life of ruth bader ginsburg

Image result for ruth objects doreen rappaport

Summary:  Part of the Big Words series, this biography of Ruth Bader Ginsburg traces her life from her childhood in Brooklyn, New York to her present career as a Supreme Court justice.  From the days when her beloved mother (who died two days before Ruth’s high school graduation) encouraged her to learn and to think for herself to her arguments for gender equality on behalf of women and men, Ruth’s path has prepared her for her role as beloved Supreme Court justice.  Each page has at least one quote from Ginsburg to accompany the text and large, full-color illustrations.  Includes a timeline, author’s and illustrator’s notes, and a bibliography. 48 pages; grades K-5.

Pros:  Another beautiful picture book biography of Ruth Bader Ginsburg to put on the shelf next to I Dissent by Debbie Levy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The Case of RBG vs. Inequality by Jonah Winter (which I could have sworn I reviewed, but apparently didn’t).  The quotes and illustrations make all the books in this series excellent resources.

Cons:  It would be nice to see some picture books about the other two women on the Supreme Court.  Sonia Sotomayor has written her own, but there’s very little for kids on Elena Kagan.

Happy birthday to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who turns 87 today!  Long may you reign.

Image result for ruth bader ginsburg birthday

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