MG – The Great Chicago Fire: Rising from the Ashes

Hannigan, Kate. The Great Chicago Fire: Rising from the Ashes. First Second, 2020. 978-1-250-17425-3. 119 p. $19.99. Grades 4-8.

Everyone knows Mrs. O’Leary and her cow – at least everyone in Chicago does! The Great Chicago fire of 1871 was devastating and destructive to this wooden city. This graphic novel tells the story of the Great Chicago fire through the eyes of two children, Franny and John Patrick Fitzgerald, who get separated from their parents in order to get a puppy back to it’s mother. The story explains how the fire supposedly was started,how it traveled across the river, and the struggle to save the city. The duo must change course, help others, and stick together to outrun the blaze. The story also tackles the xenophobia of Irish immigrants and how it caused the people of Chicago to blame Mrs. O’Leary (and her cow). The illustrations capture the burning Chicago with detail and will delight the reader while pulling them into the past.

THOUGHTS: This historical graphic novel (by the creators of Science Comics) does a fantastic job of telling the story of the Great Chicago fire with colorful illustrations and short bursts of text. This series is sure to delight fans of graphic novels and history! The extra information provided in the back is a bonus for students who want to know more about the Chicago fire and the Columbian Exposition in 1893.

973 Graphic Novel          Jillian Gasper, Northwestern Lehigh 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