Elem. – Ordinary People Change the World (Series NF)

Meltzer, Brad. Ordinary People Change the World. Dial Books for Young Readers, 2021. $14.27 ea. $385.29 set of 27. Unpaged. K-3.

I am Frida Kahlo. 978-0-525-55598-8.
I am I. M. Pei. 978-0-525-55601-5.
I am Oprah Winfrey. 978-0-593-40582-6.

In this remarkable biography series, Brad Meltzer presents American icons in an extremely conversational, unintimidating manner. Beginning with their childhood, he tells each person’s story from his/her own point of view, focusing on personality traits that made each of them unique. Cartoon-like drawings and speech bubbles are interspersed with realistic images (like actual works of art) to make each story more intriguing. A timeline and photographs are included at the end of each book. I personally reviewed I am Frida Kahlo, and I absolutely loved the message being sent to the intended audience. Despite all of Frida’s difficulties in life – a bout with polio, a terrible bus accident, being ostracized because of her dress and actions – she remained true to herself and became a legend because of it. Not only does this encourage children to overcome curveballs in life, but it also sends them the message that they should be unafraid of being different. The format of these biographies definitely is unique and deserves to be considered for inclusion in all elementary biography collections.

THOUGHTS: This series would be extremely useful for biographical research as well as for character building activities. I also would recommend it to fans of Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum on PBS Kids, as the television series was actually inspired by this book series. In addition, it is worth noting that there are 24 other books in the series with publication years before and after 2021.

921 Biography          Julie Ritter, PSLA Member

MG – Astronauts: Women of the Final Frontier

Ottaviani, Jim. Astronauts: Women of the Final Frontier. First Second, 2020. 978-1-626-72877-6. 157 p. $19.99. Grades 5-8.

From page one this graphic novel challenges sexist thinking showing an astronaut taking off their suit to reveal Mary Cleave, one of the first women in space. Throughout the story astronauts like Mary Cleave and Valentina Tereshkova work hard and accomplish many feats despite the sexism they face in their daily lives. At one point John Glen and other famous male astronauts laugh at the possibility of having women join men on space missions. The story explores the diverse paths that led these astronauts to their jobs at NASA and the impressive talent, work ethic, and intense training these astronauts had to be able to operate a spaceship. The illustrations are fun, and the format allows readers of all abilities to be introduced to the incredible science behind space exploration. After reading about the lives of these trailblazers, readers will be inspired to overcome obstacles, seize opportunities, and pursue their passions.

THOUGHTS: A good addition to any graphic novel collection. The story will be appreciated by readers of nonfiction and graphic novels and will encourage readers to learn more about space flight and the history of women in space.

629.45 Manned Space Flight          Jaynie Korzi, South Middleton SD

MG – Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Immigrant Women Who Changed the World

Favilli, Elena. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Immigrant Women Who Changed the World. Rebel Girls, 2020. 978-1-733-32929-3. 305. $35.00. Grades 6-8.

This collection of short stories explores the real lives of one hundred women who have immigrated to countries all over the world. Each one-page biography notes the country of origin, the country the woman resided in after immigrating, an illustration depicting the featured woman, and often a quote. Although short, each biography explains how each person has found success in the career she is passionate about. Included are a mix of historical figures like Rose Fortune, who was Canada’s first female policeman; and contemporary figures like Reyna Duong, who currently employs people with down-syndrome at the restaurant she owns. Immigrants featured have found success in the fields of finance, psychiatry, engineering, art, politics, activism, and more. After reading these biographies, readers will believe that no dream is too large and no person is too small to realize their potential.

THOUGHTS: Teachers can use this collection of stories as a daily read-aloud or writing prompt. Each story is sure to spark conversation and further research. The book will inspire readers to be brave, independent, and to overcome adversity. Display with other books in the Rebel Girls series to attract readers.

305.4 Social Groups Women          Jaynie Korzi, South Middleton SD

MS Series Nonfiction – Uncovering the Past; Collective Biographies

Hyde, Natalie. Uncovering the Past Analyzing Primary Sources. New York: Crabtree Publishing Co., 2017.  $31.32 ea. 48 pp. Gr. 5-8.

Internment Camps. 978-0-7787-28603.

Black Tuesday and the Great Depression.  978-077871721.                                                               

Civil Rights.  978-0778717225.                                                                                                        

The Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis.  978-0778725725.                                                                                                                                                                   

The Displacement of Native Peoples.  978-0778725718.                                                                      

The Holocaust.  978-0778715481.                                                                                

Immigration. 978-0778715542.                                                                                                     

The Underground Railroad.  978-0778715511.                                                                             

Women’s Suffrage. 978-0778715535.                                                                                       

Workers’ Rights.  978-0778728634.

This series of short but information packed titles covers significant events in United States history. The focus of these titles is on examining and analyzing the evidence of primary and secondary source material to interpret and understand historic events. Internment Camps tells the story of the internment of Japanese Americans as enemy aliens during World War II and features photos, excerpts of news articles, political cartoons, government documents and more as evidence.   Each section has information about the types of sources featured, the context of the source material and the possible biases presented.  Text boxes and sidebars feature questions to inspire students to think critically about the reasons for and the effects of the U.S. policies towards Japanese Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Includes a bibliography of print and internet sources, glossary and index.   THOUGHTS: This series would be an excellent source for teachers and librarians to use in class to incorporate information literacy skills with social studies.

U.S. History       Nancy Summers, Abington Senior HS

 

Blohm, Craig E. Sci-Fi Directors. Collective Biographies. (series) San Diego: Reference Point Press, 2017. 978-1-68282-030-8. $29.95. 80 pp. Gr. 5-8.

A reference series from Reference Point Press, Collective Biographies offers short concise overviews of the careers of popular culture figures in a range of fields. Sci-Fi Directors features six well known directors in the Science Fiction genre: Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Stanley Kubrick, James Cameron, Christopher Nolan, and J.J. Abrams, The chapters highlight the filmmakers’ personal lives, career achievements and struggles in snappy, vivid prose. The titles feature photos of the directors and scenes from their films and include side bars and text boxes with quotes and supplemental information that break up the text and provide visual interest.  With source notes, bibliography, and index. THOUGHTS: High interest independent reading selection for those who prefer non-fiction, this is a great titles for a starting point for career exploration.  Other titles include: Brand Empire Celebrities; Electronic Dance Music DJs; Great Cartoonists; Great Magicians and Illusionists; Internet Entrepreneurs; Women Scientists and Inventors; Women World Leaders; Young Adult Authors.

920 Biographies      Nancy Summers, Abington Senior HS