An upbeat, reassuring showcase of notable, successful people who refused to let adversities and setbacks stand in their way.

FANTASTIC FAILURES

TRUE STORIES OF PEOPLE WHO CHANGED THE WORLD BY FALLING DOWN FIRST

In this hybrid of collective biography and self-help, Reynolds hammers home the message that everyone fails, and failure can be used as a source of enlightenment, insight, and inspiration.

Thirty-four people and one horse (Seabiscuit) are held up as examples of those who achieved success despite numerous adversities and setbacks. Many of the six- to eight-page profiles are of well-known figures, such as J.K. Rowling, Nelson Mandela, Albert Einstein, Steven Spielberg, and Frida Kahlo. Among the lesser known is Ilhan Omar, who came to America with her family from Somalia as a refugee and recently became the first Somali-American Muslim woman elected a national lawmaker. Luis Fernando Cruz, raised in Honduras with little access to computer science education, nevertheless channeled his passion into inventing accessible technologies for computer users with disabilities. Om Prakash Gurjar, once a child laborer, is a children’s rights activist protecting children from slavery, trafficking, and forced marriage. Intermixed with the profiles are brief highlights of additional figures. Each profile includes inspirational words from Reynolds that are similar to what one might see on posters in a school guidance office: “Nobody gets to tell you who you are—that’s your job, and yours alone,” for example. Reynolds concludes with 100 questions about failure and success to prompt reflection and inspiration.

An upbeat, reassuring showcase of notable, successful people who refused to let adversities and setbacks stand in their way. (bibliography) (Collective biography. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58270-664-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Beyond Words/Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 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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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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