This slender volume accomplishes a great deal.



Accomplished ballerina Copeland pays homage to her predecessors and contemporaries in this roundup of Black ballerinas.

Copeland introduces this collection from her perspective as someone who was simply a proud Black girl growing up but whose identity became more complex when she became a professional dancer. The list of Black ballerinas included here features those who played a role in Copeland’s journey, whether they never met, had only one encounter, or enjoyed an ongoing relationship. Copeland aptly points out that biracial and light-skinned women are overrepresented in this list, as they are in the dance world, with colorism being an additional barrier for darker-skinned dancers. Among these talented, dedicated artists, whose birth years range from 1917 to 1998, patterns emerge: exclusion from the White world of ballet; perseverance; international travel for opportunities; giving back to their communities; and leaving strong legacies within the dance world—sometimes documented and sometimes not. Each ballerina’s ink–and-watercolor image appears with a quote of hers on a full page facing a page of densely set, small, gray text summarizing her dance career and personal connection to Copeland. Barnes’ gorgeous illustrations of these strong, graceful dancers are enough to keep readers turning pages. With each story, the landscape of an underappreciated community of dancers of color grows wider. The perspective of an insider to this world intensifies the intimacy and interest.

This slender volume accomplishes a great deal. (Biography. 11-16)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-534-47424-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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Pure gold for readers in search of role models who buck conventional masculine expectations.



Single-page profiles of men who were guided by their better angels.

“History books are full of men who have made their mark,” Peters writes. “But these great men were not always good men.” So this atypical gallery focuses on men who served communities, demonstrated real respect for others, or otherwise acted on worthy principles. With one exception, men presented were born in or at least lived into the 20th century. That exception, John Stuart Mill, leads off for his then-radical notions about human (including women’s) rights and the “tyranny of the majority.” The ensuing multiracial, multinational roster mixes the predictable likes of Cesar Chavez, Thích Nhất Hạnh, and Roberto Clemente with Chinese diplomat Feng-Shan Ho (who helped “hundreds, and possibly thousands” of Jews escape Nazi-occupied Vienna), Indian child-labor activist Kailash Satyarthi, Malala Yousafzai’s dad and champion, Ziauddin, transgender activist Kylar W. Broadus, and socially conscious creative artists including Lin-Manuel Miranda and Kendrick Lamar. Though intent on highlighting good works, the author doesn’t shy away from personal details—she identifies six entrants as gay and one, Freddie Mercury, as bisexual—or darker ones, such as Harvey Milk’s assassination and Anthony Bourdain’s suicide. Washington works with a severely limited menu of facial expressions, but each subject in his full-page accompanying portraits radiates confidence and dignity.

Pure gold for readers in search of role models who buck conventional masculine expectations. (source notes) (Collective biography. 11-14)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-52941-9

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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An unusually vivid retelling of the epic survival tale.



A novelistic account of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-1916, based in part on unpublished archival materials.

Taking place against the backdrop of World War I and following in the wake of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen’s record-setting achievements and the death of fellow countryman Robert F. Scott, Ernest Shackleton and his crew set off on the Endurance in hopes of being the first to successfully cross Antarctica. Though for the sake of drama the disastrous expedition’s events need no embellishment, Grochowicz does add considerable immediacy to her account by casting events in the present tense and inventing some colorful dialogue with occasional speculative thoughts or actions to accompany it. Showing a fine sense of discrimination, she leaves the shooting of the sledge dogs (and the expedition’s cat, Mrs Chippy) offstage but presents in exacting detail rousing scenes such as the time one of the all-White expedition’s members fell into the rotting carcass of a whale as well as need-to-know bits like how to gut and skin a penguin and use its blubber as makeshift soap. The spate of short, rapid-fire chapters is prefaced by two maps and a portrait gallery of rugged-looking expeditioners (including Mrs Chippy) by Lippett and closes with a substantial, scholarly source list. Additional spot art enhances the opening of each new chapter. The engaging and dynamic writing will hook even readers who typically do not gravitate toward nonfiction.

An unusually vivid retelling of the epic survival tale. (key individuals, timeline) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-76052-609-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: A & U Children/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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