A worthy introduction to some of the Hispanic-Americans who have left their marks on the country and culture through their...

PORTRAITS OF HISPANIC AMERICAN HEROES

Short and engaging biographies of 20 inspirational Hispanic-Americans from fields as varied as sports, arts, sciences, politics, and teaching.

In his introduction, Herrera—the current poet laureate of California—says, “In a land of immigrants, it is an irony that Latino lives have been largely ignored.” It is this gap that he has set out to fill with his book. He includes several well-known figures, such as community organizers César Chávez and Dolores Huerta; artists Desi Arnaz, Rita Moreno, and Joan Baez; baseball player Roberto Clemente; and Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor. He also makes plenty of room for the less-renowned but equally inspirational, such as teacher Jaime Alfonso Escalante, whose life story became the basis of the feature film Stand and Deliver; suffragist Adelina Otero-Warren, who fought for women and children; and astronaut Ellen Ochoa. The task the author has set out to accomplish is big, and the space allotted him is not big enough, but the very helpful recommended readings, bibliography, and source notes at the end of the book should help motivated readers seek out more information. Each profile is accompanied by a beautiful full-page portrait done in watercolor, colored pencils, and litho pencils, etched in Colón’s signature style to stunning effect.

A worthy introduction to some of the Hispanic-Americans who have left their marks on the country and culture through their commitment and dedication. (Biography. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3809-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2015

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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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Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care.

OIL

In 1977, the oil carrier Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of oil into a formerly pristine Alaskan ocean inlet, killing millions of birds, animals, and fish. Despite a cleanup, crude oil is still there.

The Winters foretold the destructive powers of the atomic bomb allusively in The Secret Project (2017), leaving the actuality to the backmatter. They make no such accommodations to young audiences in this disturbing book. From the dark front cover, on which oily blobs conceal a seabird, to the rescuer’s sad face on the back, the mother-son team emphasizes the disaster. A relatively easy-to-read and poetically heightened text introduces the situation. Oil is pumped from the Earth “all day long, all night long, / day after day, year after year” in “what had been unspoiled land, home to Native people // and thousands of caribou.” The scale of extraction is huge: There’s “a giant pipeline” leading to “enormous ships.” Then, crash. Rivers of oil gush out over three full-bleed wordless pages. Subsequent scenes show rocks, seabirds, and sea otters covered with oil. Finally, 30 years later, animals have returned to a cheerful scene. “But if you lift a rock… // oil / seeps / up.” For an adult reader, this is heartbreaking. How much more difficult might this be for an animal-loving child?

Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care. (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3077-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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