Quibbles aside, this will find a receptive audience with trivia buffs, tourists, and residents of all ages.

WASHINGTON, D.C.

OUR NATION'S CAPITAL FROM A-Z

As with Ben Franklin (2011) and Abe Lincoln (2015), Schroeder and O’Brien employ the alphabet to pair lesser-known tidbits with humorous ink-and-watercolor caricatures to, in this case, present some of the people, places, and politics associated with the nation’s capital.

Although each letter has multiple entries, some are relegated to a half page while others are assigned two. There are interesting choices for “X,” such as the panda Mei Xiang, and the X-1 and X-15 planes in the Air and Space Museum. Humans include Benjamin Banneker, the African-American surveyor of the district’s boundaries, and Glenn Sundby, the white acrobat who descended the Washington Monument steps on his hands. A claw-footed, Capitol-shaped bathtub whimsically highlights 1860 amenities in the dusty building’s basement. Some details are summarized to the point of misleading; for instance, the statement that when black contralto Marian Anderson was barred from singing in Constitution Hall, she “simply changed the venue” is not accurate. (Eleanor Roosevelt and her husband intervened to procure the Lincoln Memorial.) Also, it is not possible to verify the rumor that underground tunnels stretch from the Capitol to the White House, as O’Brien depicts them. Quotes from figures as diverse as Shirley Chisholm, Groucho Marx, and Dan Quayle provide additional perspectives.

Quibbles aside, this will find a receptive audience with trivia buffs, tourists, and residents of all ages. (Informational picture book. 6-12)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3678-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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IF YOU LIVED DURING THE PLIMOTH THANKSGIVING

A measured corrective to pervasive myths about what is often referred to as the “first Thanksgiving.”

Contextualizing them within a Native perspective, Newell (Passamaquoddy) touches on the all-too-familiar elements of the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving and its origins and the history of English colonization in the territory now known as New England. In addition to the voyage and landfall of the Mayflower, readers learn about the Doctrine of Discovery that arrogated the lands of non-Christian peoples to European settlers; earlier encounters between the Indigenous peoples of the region and Europeans; and the Great Dying of 1616-1619, which emptied the village of Patuxet by 1620. Short, two- to six-page chapters alternate between the story of the English settlers and exploring the complex political makeup of the region and the culture, agriculture, and technology of the Wampanoag—all before covering the evolution of the holiday. Refreshingly, the lens Newell offers is a Native one, describing how the Wampanoag and other Native peoples received the English rather than the other way around. Key words ranging from estuary to discover are printed in boldface in the narrative and defined in a closing glossary. Nelson (a member of the Leech Lake Band of Minnesota Chippewa) contributes soft line-and-color illustrations of the proceedings. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Essential. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-72637-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Scholastic Nonfiction

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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A reasonably solid grounding in constitutional rights, their flexibility, lacunae, and hard-won corrections, despite a few...

WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT FREEDOM

Shamir offers an investigation of the foundations of freedoms in the United States via its founding documents, as well as movements and individuals who had great impacts on shaping and reshaping those institutions.

The opening pages of this picture book get off to a wobbly start with comments such as “You know that feeling you get…when you see a wide open field that you can run through without worrying about traffic or cars? That’s freedom.” But as the book progresses, Shamir slowly steadies the craft toward that wide-open field of freedom. She notes the many obvious-to-us-now exclusivities that the founding political documents embodied—that the entitled, white, male authors did not extend freedom to enslaved African-Americans, Native Americans, and women—and encourages readers to learn to exercise vigilance and foresight. The gradual inclusion of these left-behind people paints a modestly rosy picture of their circumstances today, and the text seems to give up on explaining how Native Americans continue to be left behind. Still, a vital part of what makes freedom daunting is its constant motion, and that is ably expressed. Numerous boxed tidbits give substance to the bigger political picture. Who were the abolitionists and the suffragists, what were the Montgomery bus boycott and the “Uprising of 20,000”? Faulkner’s artwork conveys settings and emotions quite well, and his drawing of Ruby Bridges is about as darling as it gets. A helpful timeline and bibliography appear as endnotes.

A reasonably solid grounding in constitutional rights, their flexibility, lacunae, and hard-won corrections, despite a few misfires. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-54728-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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