Elementary NF – Zaha Hadid; Europe’s Best Soccer Clubs; Harriet Tubman; Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Winter, Jeanette. The World is Not a Rectangle: A Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid. Beach Lane Books, 2017. 978-1481446693. 32 pp. $17.99. Gr. Pre-K – 5.

As a child in Iran, Zaha Hadid grew up visiting natural places and ancient ruins. Throughout her life, the memories of these locations never leave her. Hadid travels to London to attend school and becomes an architect. The book presents the obstacles Hadid had to overcome, as a young female math-loving grade school student and as a Muslim at a Catholic school. Hadid was selected as the winner of an architecture contest twice, but the city refused to build the concert hall she designed because of her gender and ethnicity and the building’s unconventional style. Hadid perseveres and prevails, with the author showing in simple elegant images how seashells became sports stadiums and marsh grass inspired buildings that resembled waving. THOUGHTS: A valuable addition to any library collection, this well-told, inspirational story highlights the accomplishments of a woman who overcame great challenges because of her gender, her religion, where she came from, and her unconventional ideas.

Biography; Picture Book          Emily Woodward, The Baldwin School

 

Europe’s Best Soccer Clubs. ABDO, 2018. $22.95 ea. $183.60 set of 8. 48p. Gr. 3-6.
Avise, Jonathan. FC Barcelona. 978-1-5321-1131-0.
Carothers, Thomas. Juventus FC. 978-1-5321-1134-1.
Karpovich, Todd. Manchester United. 978-1-5321-1135-8.
Kortemeier, Todd. AC Milan. 978-1-5321-1129-7.
Kortemeier, Todd. Real Madrid CF. 978-1-5321-1136-5.
Marthaler, Jon. Arsenal FC. 978-1-5321-1130-3.
Marthaler, Jon. FC Bayern Munich. 978-1-5321-1132-7.
Seidel, Jeff. Chelsea FC. 978-1-5321-1133-4.
European soccer seemingly gains in popularity in the United States with every passing year. In an effort to better inform U.S. fans about their favorite teams, ABDO has recently released a new eight volume series entitled Europe’s Best Soccer Clubs. Each volume outlines the history of the club, highlights well-known players and matches from club history, and discusses club traditions. The volume received for review, Arsensal FC, spotlights one of England’s most popular football clubs. Not only does this volume explain the basic information about the club, it also includes information about the various leagues and cups present in European football. The text is supplemented by current and historical photos as well as fact boxes, a timeline, glossary, and a website to obtain further up-to-date informational links on the club. THOUGHTS: If your school has soccer fans, you will want to add this series to your collection. While biographies of individual European players are not uncommon for middle grade readers, books that focus on individual clubs fill a void in the soccer nonfiction market. Recommended.
796.334 Soccer     Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg SD

 

Cline-Ransome, Lesa. Before She Was Harriet. Holiday House, 2017. 9780823420476. Unpaged.Gr. 2-5.

Cline-Ransome takes us on a journey through the life of Harriet Tubman in this unique picture book biography. Told in reverse chronological order, the book describes the various roles that Tubman played as an important figure in American history.  Some of these may not be as well-known to young readers, such as nurse, Union spy, and suffragist. Each page discusses one of these roles in simple yet lyrical text and is accompanied by full bleed illustrations by the award winning illustrator James Ransome.   Most illustrations depict Harriet on a large scale, so that she is the main focus of each two page spread. The story comes full circle as it begins and ends with Harriet as an old woman. The concept of journey is conveyed even further by the metaphor of the train and other modes of transportation, such as the boat in the river and the soldiers riding horses.  Ransome includes an illustration of a train in the countryside before the title page.  On the title page itself, we see a woman waiting for this train.  At the end of the book, we meet this woman again, now knowing that this is Harriet, who is free to ride this train wherever she chooses.   The author is perhaps sending the message that Harriet is no longer “riding” the Underground Railroad as an oppressed person because she is now free. THOUGHTS:  This is a beautiful book that deserves a place in every library collection.  While not a detailed account of Tubman’s life, this tribute is a wonderful introduction.  Young readers will gain a better understanding of Tubman’s many accomplishments and how one person can change the world.

Biography; Picture Book         Denise Medwick, West Allegheny SD

 

Winter, Jonah. Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The Case of R.B.G. vs. Inequality. Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2017. 978-1419725593. 32 pp. $17.99. Gr. 2-5.

This biography of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is told as a picture book court case. With unusual and eye-catching illustrations, this highly reviewed version of Bader Ginsburg’s life shows her courage and fortitude in the face of prejudice and gender discrimination. Starting with her father and continuing through her education and being a working mother, Bader Ginsburg proves to everyone that she wins against inequality.  THOUGHTS: This is a great introduction to any research project about overcoming hardships to succeed. Particularly appropriate in highlighting women in leadership roles.

Biography; Picture Book     Emily Woodward, The Baldwin School

YA Fiction – Loving vs. Virginia; The Cruelty; Frostblood

Powell, Patricia Hruby.  Loving vs. Virginia. Illustrated by Shadra Strickland, Chronicle Books, 2017. 978-1-4521-2590-9. 260 pp. $21.99. Gr. 7 and up.

“Here in Washington my name is Mrs.  Loving. / That is one good thing about Washington, D.C.” (181).  In 1963, at the height of the Civil Rights movement, 24 states had laws making interracial marriage illegal.  In 1958, five years prior, Mildred Jeter, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, who grew up together on Passing Road, Central Point, Caroline County, Virginia, married in Washington D.C.  Upon their return to Caroline County, they were arrested in the middle of the night by the Sheriff.  They were found guilty of miscegenation and sentenced to one year in prison or a suspended sentence for 25 years so long as they left Caroline County and the Commonwealth of Virginia.  They returned to Washington D.C. but did not give up their fight.  For nine years they fought for the freedom to love one another publicly, through marriage, in their home, Caroline County, Virginia.  On June 12, 1967, Richard and Mildred Loving were granted the ability to return home when the United State Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of the Lovings.  “Upholding the Virginia laws amounted to ‘legalized prejudice’ and relegated the Negro to second-class citizenship” (232).  The Lovings’ 14th Amendment Right would no longer be denied.  THOUGHTS:  Loving vs. Virginia is one of the most amazing historical fiction/documentary novels/novel-in-verse available for young adults.  It beautifully captures the Lovings’ relationship and the prejudice and discrimination they fought daily while highlighting the love of family and spirit necessary to forge on in a fight that seemed hopeless.  This is a must-have for all high school libraries.

Historical Fiction (Novel-in-Verse/Documentary Novel)     Erin Parkinson, Beaver Area

This is the best historical, documentary novel I’ve read in awhile.  It literally gave me goosebumps as I read about Mildred and Richard Loving, especially when Mildred writes a letter to Attorney General Bobby Kennedy about their situation; all I could think was, “You Rock!”  It’s hard to imagine that interracial marriage was once a felony in almost half of the United States and that the last miscegenation law wasn’t abolished until 2000.  This novel is eye-opening and beautifully written and illustrated.  It shares the story of love overcoming all without being sappy or romantic.  It takes a little known court case that was crucial to Civil Rights and presents it in a very understandable setting: two people just want to be married and live in the home they’ve known all their lives.  The interspersed primary sources are excellent and add just enough for context and connections.  The timeline at the end and the notes add to reader’s understanding.  I read about the film Loving earlier in the year and thought it sounded interesting.  Now, I have to see it.  It’s a shame  the Lovings never lived to see the full impact they made on our society.

 

Bergstrom, Scott. The Cruelty. Feiwel & Friends, 2017. 978-1-250-10818-0. 384 p. Gr. 9 and up.  

With the roles reversed from the Taken movies, The Cruelty begins by building the backstory of Gwendoyln Bloom’s life with her father before he disappears. Upon her father’s disappearance, though not always believable, Gwendoyln transforms from average high school student to mafia/mob spy infiltrator after her father goes missing. Instead of trusting the authorities, Gwendolyn follows a series of clues left behind by her father. THOUGHTS:  Readers looking for a fast-paced, though not necessarily realistic, action-packed adventure around the world will enjoy The Cruelty. Though the ending is somewhat resolved, it absolutely sets up book two, and readers will anxiously await more of the story.  

Action/Adventure       Maryalice Bond, South Middleton School District

 

Blake, Elly. Frostblood. Little, Brown Books, 2017. 978-0-316-27325-1. 376 p. Gr. 9 and up.

With action, adventure, revenge, and a little bit of romance all set in a fantasy world of frost and fire, Frostblood does not disappoint! Readers will devour this book and won’t be able to wait for book 2, Fireblood, release!  The twists and turns of the story are unexpected, and one cannot easily predict how the story will end. There certainly is something for everyone in this genre-blending YA book!

Fantasy       Maryalice Bond, South Middleton School District