MS NF – Fannie Never Flinched; Superman Science; Inspiring Stories


Farrell, Mary Cronk.  Fannie Never Flinched: One Woman’s Courage in the Struggle for American Labor Union Rights.  New York: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2016.  978-1-4197-1884-7. 44 p.  $19.95.  Gr. 5-8.

Labor activist Fannie Sellins lived during the Gilded Age, when American industrial laborers worked in unsafe conditions for low wages.  Fannie made it her life’s work to travel the country and fight for higher wages and better working conditions for these laborers.  She started out by helping to organize Ladies’ Local 67 of the United Garment Workers of America in St. Louis and then went on to help organize unions for coal workers in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.  Ultimately, Fannie ended up giving her life for the cause, as she was shot down during a scuffle between deputies and striking coal miners while trying to herd children to safety.  In addition to period photographs and other primary source material, the author includes a glossary, timeline of events in the American labor struggle, notes, sources, and additional resources in this well-researched, well-written title. THOUGHTS: This book is an excellent addition to any middle school U.S. history collection.  It reads like a novel, making it both engaging and informative.  It provides information on many key concepts pertaining to workers’ rights throughout U.S. history, including strikes, pickets, boycotts, unions and more.  This book would pair well with fictional accounts of the American labor struggle, such as Melanie Crowder’s Audacity or Katherine Paterson’s Bread and Roses, Too.

331.88; Biography; Labor Unions     Julie Ritter, Montoursville Area High School



Biskup, Agnieszka and Tammy Enz. Superman Science (series). North Mankato, MN: Capstone Press, 2017. $27.32 ea (hbk). $7.95 (pbk.). $39.99 (ebk). 32 pp. Gr. 3-9.

Seeing Through Walls: Superman and the Science of Sight. 978-1-5157-0915-2 (hbk).

Stopping Runaway Trains: Superman and the Science of Strength. 978-1-5157-0914-5 (hbk.)

Outrunning Bullets: Superman and the Science of Speed. 978-1-5157-0915-2 (hbk).

Soaring the Skies: Superman and the Science of Flight. 978-1-5157-0913-8 (hbk).

Superman Science is a great series for upper elementary and middle grades students.  Through illustrations, images, charts, and graphs sight, strength, speed, and flight are presented in easy to follow, short sections; in Seeing Through Walls: Superman and the Science of Sight, section titles include “Human Sight”, “Enhancing Sight”, “Animal Vision”, and “Beyond Ordinary Sight” with each section broken down into two-page portions such as “Seeing Color”, “Corrective Lenses”, “Microscopes”, and “Heat Vision”.  The short sections and further two-page break-outs, allow students to focus attention on a particular area of interest within each of the varying topics.  Each book begins with an introduction about Superman and the particular superpower/science topic to be presented.  Seeing Through Walls begins with Superman’s backstory and discussion of his X-ray vision.  Each title concludes with a glossary, “Read More” pop-out box, and index, along with a code for FactHound, a website for further exploration.  THOUGHTS: Superman Science is a really fun way of introducing basic science to upper elementary and middle school students.  Using a famous superhero only makes the science more fun and interesting.  Think of these as Bill Nye in book form.

500s; Science     Erin Parkinson, Beaver Area MS/HS



Inspiring Stories (series). North Mankato, MN: Compass Point Books, 2017. $35.99 ea. 112 pp. Gr. 5-7.

Doak, Robin S. Phillis Wheatley: The Inspiring Life Story of the American Poet. 978-0-7565-5166-7.

Green, Mary. Sarah Winnemucca: The Inspiring LIfe Story of the Activist and Educator. 978-0-7565-5167-4.

Haugen, Brenda. Geronimo: The Inspiring Life of an Apache Warrior. 978-0-7565-5162-9.

Haugen, Brenda. Harriet Beecher Stowe: The Inspiring Life Story of the Abolition Advocate. 978-0-7565-5164-3.

Hill, Pamela. William Shakespeare: The Inspiring Life Story of the Playwright Extraordinaire. 978-0-7565-5163-6.

Stille, Darlene R. Madam C.J. Walker: The Inspiring Life Story of the Hair Care Entrepreneur. 978-0-7565-5165-0.

Most middle school students have not heard of Madam C.J. Walker, Sarah Winnemucca, or Phillis Wheatly, and they may have heard about Harriet Beecher Stowe or Geronimo, but are not quite sure what they did.  In Inspiring Stories, a new middle grades biography series from Capstone Publishing, students are introduced to somewhat lesser known Americans (except for William Shakespeare) who inspired change.   Each text utilizes primary sources, both textual and through images, along with a timeline that includes text and images, a glossary, information for further reading (both print and a code for FactHound), source notes, an index, and questions for critical thinking tied to Common Core.  THOUGHTS: This is a great addition for middle school libraries where biography projects are a staple.  Introducing students to lesser known, prominent Americans will peak their interests in learning more.  The only downside to this series is the Shakespeare title.  I’m not sure why that was included.

92; Biography      Erin Parkinson, Beaver Area MS/HS




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