Antarctica is undeniably cool, and this volume makes sure we know it.

THE CALL OF ANTARCTICA

EXPLORING AND PROTECTING EARTH'S COLDEST CONTINENT

One of the coldest and most remote places on Earth is brought into the spotlight with personal warmth, thrilling history, and bitter truths.

Henry presents a treasure trove of information about Antarctica as testimony to her late father George W. Gibbs Jr.’s impactful legacy as the first Black man to travel there in 1940 onboard the USS Bear as part of Richard E. Byrd’s expedition to establish permanent bases and further explore and map the continent. Excerpts from Gibbs’ diary frame stories of other intrepid explorers, the extreme challenges of the unique terrain, and the evolution of technology and equipment. Still, the story of Antarctica is at times unavoidably disheartening, as the same anti-Black racism that nearly erased from the history books Matthew Henson, a free Black man that played a pivotal role in Robert Peary’s famed 1909 expedition to the North Pole, is a point of focus here as Henry narrates her father’s own adventures and the historical context surrounding them. Fatal accidents, the mistreatment of wildlife, and negative human-made environmental impacts are also covered in this detailed description of the continent and our complicated relationship to it. This is an accessible look at the bio- and geo-diversity of our planet that focuses on a particular space full of relatively new discoveries and with much more still to teach us.

Antarctica is undeniably cool, and this volume makes sure we know it. (author’s note, glossary, source notes, bibliography, further reading, index, photo credits) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5415-6095-6

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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A concise companion and update to Vicki Oransky Wittenstein’s Planet Hunter (2010).

EXOPLANETS

WORLDS BEYOND OUR SOLAR SYSTEM

An enticing overview of tools, techniques, and discoveries in what the author rightly characterizes “a red-hot field in astronomy.”

Alas; it is perhaps too red-hot. Not only is Kenney’s count of accepted and potential exoplanets (as of May 2016) well out of date already, but her claim that “Wolf-1061” (sic: that’s actually the name of the star and its system) is the nearest Earthlike planet in the habitable “Goldilocks Zone” has been trumped by the recent discovery of a closer candidate orbiting Proxima Centauri. Still, along with describing in nontechnical terms each tool in the researcher’s kit—from space- and ground-based telescopes of various types to instruments that detect subtle stellar wobbles, spectrum changes, microlensing, and other telling signs—the author fills in the historical background of exoplanet research and profiles some of its weirder findings. She also casts side glances at extremophile life on Earth and other, at least tangentially related, topics. The small format gives the assortment of photos, artists’ renditions, diagrams, and generic star fields a cramped look, but readers curious about how researchers could possibly detect such dinky, distant objects as planets belonging to other star systems will come away satisfied and intrigued.

A concise companion and update to Vicki Oransky Wittenstein’s Planet Hunter (2010). (index, source notes, bibliography, websites) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-0086-1

Page Count: 92

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist.

MAYA LIN

THINKING WITH HER HANDS

One of the world’s most celebrated creators of civic architecture is profiled in this accessible, engaging biography.

Similar in style and format to her Everybody Paints!: The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family (2014) and Wideness and Wonder: The Life and Art of Georgia O’Keeffe (2011), Rubin’s well-researched profile examines the career, creative processes, and career milestones of Maya Lin. Rubin discusses at length Lin’s most famous achievement, designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Chinese-American Lin was a reserved college student who entered and won the competition to design and build the memorial. Her youth and ethnicity were subjects of great controversy, and Rubin discusses how Lin fought to ensure her vision of the memorial remained intact. Other notable works by Lin, including the Civil Rights Memorial for the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, a library and chapel for the Children’s Defense Fund, the Museum of Chinese in America, and the outdoor Wave Field project are examined but not in as much depth as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Attractively designed, the book is illustrated extensively with color photos and drawings.

An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist. (bibliography, source notes, index) (Biography. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0837-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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