An inspiring tale of scientific discovery despite obstacles, with a feminist point of view.

CAROLINE'S COMETS

A TRUE STORY

Look up at the stars….

The long and eventful life of Caroline Herschel (1750-1848), a musician, astronomer, discoverer of comets, and involuntary servant in the English principality of Hanover (in modern-day Germany), is described here in straightforward, factual narrative, studded with interesting detail and relevant autobiographical snippets. Relegated to the position of her family’s maid because of her sex and thought to have poor marriage prospects because of smallpox scars, Caroline had already accepted her lot when her brother whisked her off to England to embark on a unique opportunity—a singing career. His interest in astronomy soon became hers, and she became his assistant at his request. The two went on to great work, both together and separately, and though Caroline did not necessarily choose her assignments (her brother did), she eventually discovered nebulae, star clusters, galaxies, and—famously—eight comets. While tracing Herschel’s life and development as a scientist, the text takes care to make mention of the limitations imposed on Herschel by her family and society while realistically portraying the frustrations and accomplishments of the first woman to be paid as a scientific researcher. McCully’s watercolor-and-ink illustrations are true to form; appealing and evocative, closely tied to the text, with just the right amount of relevant detail. Notes, bibliography, glossary, and timeline are included in the backmatter.

An inspiring tale of scientific discovery despite obstacles, with a feminist point of view. (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3664-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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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 lighthearted read that will offer comfort to young children that others too face challenges of friendship, teamwork and...

PARKER BELL AND THE SCIENCE OF FRIENDSHIP

In her debut chapter book, Platt shares the story of a young girl navigating friendships and the challenges of trying to win her school’s science triathlon.

Young Parker Bell is a curious child who loves science and aspires to match up to Mae Jemison and Jane Goodall one day. Her best friend and partner in science is coding whiz Cassie Malouf. They have been best friends since kindergarten, but Parker gets jealous when Cassie suddenly starts becoming friendly with Theo Zachary, a shy boy in their class. Parker worries that Cassie likes Theo more than her, and she fights hard to keep her friend. Matters only get worse when Cassie invites Theo to be part of their team for the science triathlon, which features a science trivia contest, an egg drop, and a presentation. In a somewhat predictable plot, Parker realizes she has a lot in common with Theo as she spends more time with him. Platt works hard to defy gender stereotypes. In addition to the girls’ STEM enthusiasm, Parker’s mom teaches phys ed, her dad owns a bakery, and Cassie’s mom teaches math. Zhai’s simple black-and-white illustrations of Parker, Cassie, and the classrooms provide a good visual aid to the story, depicting Parker and Theo as white and Cassie with dark skin and long black hair.

A lighthearted read that will offer comfort to young children that others too face challenges of friendship, teamwork and competition. (Fiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 21, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-97347-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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