A matter-of-fact mirror that reflects reality and respect, not bewildered embarrassment.



Body hair, biology, and boyhood are dissected and demystified in this guide to pubescence.

As the XY follow-up to her XX exposé into what makes a preteen body tick, neuroscientist and actress Bialik (Girling Up, 2017, etc.) lends her scientific and maternal expertise to anyone fumbling through the boy-to–young man process. Replacing mystery and misunderstanding with science (proteins, chemicals, and hormones, oh my) the book scrutinizes the human body’s pubescent evolution. This is a pragmatic and relatable tool for understanding how, why, and what you’re chemically wired for, from hair growth to attention span, and it’s careful to note that generalizations are guides not rules. In other words, there’s no “right” time for the P word to kick in. What’s happening to girls (breasts, ovaries, height) on the puberty periphery is also discussed, as is gender identity. (Of note: a global map of countries recognizing more than two genders.) Merging research with experience raising two young boys, the result avoids a myopic point of view by peppering pages with lighthearted line drawings and sidebars with firsthand accounts from anonymous men. Bialik assures readers that we all figure out this hormonal playground called our body: In other words, when it comes to puberty, you’ve got this. Knowing where to sit at lunch when you get to high school? That’s another book entirely.

A matter-of-fact mirror that reflects reality and respect, not bewildered embarrassment. (Nonfiction. 9-15)

Pub Date: May 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-51597-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

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An attractive, solid entry on a disaster that continues to fascinate.



With the 100th anniversary of the Titanic tragedy coming up in April 2012, this engaging overview retells the powerful story and its aftermath.

McPherson opens effectively, with the crucial scene when the iceberg was spotted “right ahead,” noting that the lookout binoculars had been missing for days, and gives a brief recap of the sinking. The narrative then goes back through a brief history of steamships and the business reasons for building huge ones, followed by a more detailed account of the trip and its terrible end, the survivors’ arrival in New York and the quickly convened Senate hearings about the disaster. Final chapters report on finding and excavating the ship in recent years. The smooth writing uses many quotes from the time, deftly incorporates facts and conveys the terror and heartbreak of the sinking, in which more than 1,500 died, and the rescue of about 700. A graceful design with a wide format features many historical photographs and illustrations, and sidebars on a host of topics such as significant people and statistics. Although the source notes and index are inadequate, McPherson provides a timeline, glossary, bibliography and thoughtful list for finding more information.

An attractive, solid entry on a disaster that continues to fascinate. (Nonfiction. 11-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7613-6756-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Salutary portraits in radicalism.



A gallery of historical troublemakers starting with Hannibal and ending with Martin Luther King, Jr.

Fleischer chooses figures who worked, with high visibility but varying levels of success, to overthrow governments, liberate countries from foreign rule or fight for the rights of the oppressed. He arranges his entries by birth date, opens each with an old or period image and spins out career portraits in an occasionally breezy idiom: Julius Caesar’s heir Octavian was “ticked off,” Guy Fawkes was a man “jonesing to fight” Protestantism, and Elizabeth Cady and Henry Stanton were “an activist power couple.” Snarky picture captions (“Emma Goldman is not interested in your nonsense”) and sidebar references to pop culture further lighten the overall tone. Still, the author does not soft-pedal the brutality to which some of his subjects turned, however idealistic they may have started out, or the violent ends to which many of them came. Though the cast is largely European and/or male, it includes such less-well-known male freedom fighters as Metacom (aka King Philip), Maori leader Hone Heke and Daniel Shays and such women as Boudica and New Zealand feminist Kate Sheppard. Suggestions for further reading, a discussion guide and relevant updates will be available online; alas, there are no bibliography or source notes as such, nor is there an index.

Salutary portraits in radicalism. (Collective biography. 11-14)

Pub Date: March 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-936976-74-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Zest Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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