AMERICA'S CHAMPION SWIMMER

GERTRUDE EDERLE

The author and illustrator (The Babe & I, 1999, Lou Gehrig: The Luckiest Man, 1997) team up for a third time in this engaging picture book biography of the first woman to swim the English Channel. Gertrude Ederle, born in 1906, learned to swim at age seven when, after falling into a pond and nearly drowning, her father decided that teaching his daughter to swim was essential. It immediately became apparent that Trudy had a great talent—she won her first big race at 15, swam from lower Manhattan to Sandy Hook, New Jersey at 16 (breaking the men’s record along the way), and won three medals at the 1924 Paris Olympics. In 1925, Trudy made her first, albeit unsuccessful, attempt to swim the English Channel and in 1926, on her second attempt, she became the first woman to successfully swim the 20-odd mile body of water. David Adler clearly places this biography in its cultural context, reminding the reader that women and girls were expected to stay at home in this era and were excluded from many activities. Women were deemed the weaker sex and to challenge this notion, especially in the world of sport, took exceptional courage and unusual determination. The stylized illustrations successfully evoke the period of the 1920s. A wide range of beautiful blues, greens, and grays depicts the various forms of water—ocean, pool, pond—and seem thickly applied, deliberately contrasting with the flatness of the human figures. A welcome addition to the growing body of works about female athletes. (Picture book/biography. 59)

Pub Date: March 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-15-201969-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

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A picture book worth reading about a historical figure worth remembering.

THE AMAZING AGE OF JOHN ROY LYNCH

An honestly told biography of an important politician whose name every American should know.

Published while the United States has its first African-American president, this story of John Roy Lynch, the first African-American speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives, lays bare the long and arduous path black Americans have walked to obtain equality. The title’s first three words—“The Amazing Age”—emphasize how many more freedoms African-Americans had during Reconstruction than for decades afterward. Barton and Tate do not shy away from honest depictions of slavery, floggings, the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow laws, or the various means of intimidation that whites employed to prevent blacks from voting and living lives equal to those of whites. Like President Barack Obama, Lynch was of biracial descent; born to an enslaved mother and an Irish father, he did not know hard labor until his slave mistress asked him a question that he answered honestly. Freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, Lynch had a long and varied career that points to his resilience and perseverance. Tate’s bright watercolor illustrations often belie the harshness of what takes place within them; though this sometimes creates a visual conflict, it may also make the book more palatable for young readers unaware of the violence African-Americans have suffered than fully graphic images would. A historical note, timeline, author’s and illustrator’s notes, bibliography and map are appended.

A picture book worth reading about a historical figure worth remembering. (Picture book biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5379-0

Page Count: 50

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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A likable journey that is sensitive to the triumphs and agonies of being a 13-year-old girl.

FRIENDS FOREVER

From the Friends series , Vol. 3

Shannon just wants to get through eighth grade in one piece—while feeling like her own worst enemy.

In this third entry in popular author for young people Hale’s graphic memoir series, the young, sensitive overachiever is crushed by expectations: to be cool but loyal to her tightknit and dramatic friend group, a top student but not a nerd, attractive to boys but true to her ideals. As events in Shannon’s life begin to overwhelm her, she works toward finding a way to love and understand herself, follow her passions for theater and writing, and ignore her cruel inner voice. Capturing the visceral embarrassments of middle school in 1987 Salt Lake City, Shannon’s emotions are vivid and often excruciating. In particular, the social norms of a church-oriented family are clearly addressed, and religion is shown as being both a comfort and a struggle for Shannon. While the text is sometimes in danger of spelling things out a little too neatly and obviously, the emotional honesty and sincerity drawn from Hale’s own life win out. Pham’s artwork is vibrant and appealing, with stylistic changes for Shannon’s imaginings and the leeching out of color and use of creative panel structures as her anxiety and depression worsen.

A likable journey that is sensitive to the triumphs and agonies of being a 13-year-old girl. (author's note, gallery) (Graphic memoir. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-31755-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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