November 21, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Obscure Historical Figures Brought to Life | Nonfiction Grades 5 & Up

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See our complete list of
February 2015 SLJ Stars.

redstarBolden, Tonya. Capital Days: Michael Shiner’s Journal and the Growth of Our Nation’s Capital. 96p. chron. glossary. index. maps. notes. photos. reprods. Abrams. 2015. RTE $21.95. ISBN 9781419707339. LC 2014024668.

Gr 4-6 –This well-designed read details the story of Michael Shiner (1805–80), a slave in 19th-century America who eventually gained his freedom and who left a diary behind detailing an account of his life. Born into slavery in Maryland, Shiner came to Washington, DC as a child, where he was later leased by his owner Thomas Howard to the Navy Ship Yard. Shiner eventually purchased his freedom, started a family, and learned to read and write—skills that would allow him to start writing his journal. Bolden tracks Shiner’s life, giving readers a unique view into the history of America’s capital. Shiner wrote about major historical events, such as the burning of Washington, DC in 1814, as well more personal anecdotes that shed light on attitudes of the day, such as facing aggression from those who erroneously assumed that he was a runaway slave. Artifacts and documents from the time period are mixed in as well, and each chapter ends with a time line, effectively putting Shiner’s life into context. VERDICT Well written and impeccably researched, this excellent title offers a uniquely personal look at history. A must-have.–April Sanders, Spring Hill College, Mobile, AL

redstarCooney, Robert P.J., Jr. Remembering Inez: The Last Campaign of Inez Milholland, Suffrage Martyr. 90p. American Graphic. Mar. 2015. pap. $14.95. ISBN 9780977009527. LC 201493850.

Gr 9 Up –When a friend spoke at suffragist Inez Milholland’s funeral in 1916, she said that Inez “is one around whom legends will grow up.” In her time, certainly, Milholland was a celebrity. Young, beautiful, rich, and articulate, she was a passionate and active proponent of women’s suffrage. Somehow, her name is lesser known compared with her predecessors, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, and her contemporary Alice Paul. Even though Milholland died when she was 30, her contributions to the cause of women’s suffrage are immeasurable. This slim volume consists largely of articles, speeches, and resolutions from issues of the magazine The Suffragist, all of which concern Milholland’s background, character, beliefs, and work. The excerpts are accessible to modern-day readers, being largely devoid of the stiff, formal language common in writings of the day. Cooney’s introduction provides ballast to the laudatory articles, pointing out aspects of Milholland’s life that were controversial, especially her advocacy of socialism and free love. In addition, Cooney describes in brief the political clime of the nation, couching Milholland’s attitudes and actions in a larger historical context. The illustrations consist of black-and-white archival photos. The well-curated images depict suffragist promotional materials of the day and Milholland and other women participating in protests. VERDICT This is a vivid, engaging account of a young woman who filled her short life with activity and meaning. Perhaps this book will bring Milholland’s life and works back into the spotlight.–Jennifer Prince, Buncombe County Public Libraries, NC

The following titles are reviewed in this month's print issue:

Alifirenka, Caitlin & Martin Ganda with Liz Welch. I Will Always Write Back. 400p. photos. Little, Brown. Apr. 2015. Tr $18. ISBN 9780316241311; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780316241342. LC 2014030355.

Casey, Susan. Women Heroes of the American Revolution: 20 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Defiance, and Rescue. 240p. (Women of Action). bibliog. filmog. further reading. photos. reprods. websites. Chicago Review. Mar. 2015. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781613745830.

Froud, Brian & Wendy Froud. Brian Froud’s Faeries’ Tales. 144p. Abrams. 2014. Tr $35. ISBN 9781419713866.

Gerry, Lisa M. Puppy Love: True Stories of Doggy Devotion. 160p. National Geographic. 2015. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781426318672.

Healy, Nick, ed. Love & Profanity: A Collection of True, Tortured, Wild, Hilarious, Concise, and Intense Tales of Teenage Life. 232p. index. Capstone/Switch Pr. Mar. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781630790127.

Rauch, Georg. Unlikely Warrior: A Jewish Soldier in Hitler’s Army. tr. from German by Phyllis Rauch. 352p. glossary. illus. photos. Farrar. Feb. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780374301422.

Rhatigan, Joe. Inventions That Could Have Changed the World…But Didn’t. illus. by Anthony Owsley. 80p. bibliog. ebook available. further reading. illus. index. notes. photos. reprods. websites. Charlesbridge/Imagine! Feb. 2015. Tr $14.95. ISBN 9781623540241.

Ruurs, Margriet & Katherine Gibson. A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison. 40p. index. further reading. photos. reprods. websites. Pajama Pr. Mar. 2015. Tr $22.95. ISBN 9781927485637.

Saucier, Cap. Explore the Cosmos Like Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Space Science. 120p. bibliog. chart. glossary. notes. photos. reprods. Prometheus. Mar. 2015. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781633880146; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9781633880153.

Schatz, Kate. Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries who Shaped our History..and Our Future. illus. by Miriam Klein Stahl. 64p. City Lights. Mar. 2015. Tr $14.95. ISBN 9780872866836.

Valk, Laurens. The LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Discovery Book: A Beginner’s Guide to Building and Programming Robots. 352p. further reading. index. photos. websites. No Starch Press. 2014. pap. $34.95. ISBN 9781593275327. LC 2010011157.

Yee, Paul, retel. Chinese Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook. illus. by Shaoli Wang. 160p. notes. Interlink. 2014. Tr $25. ISBN 9781566569934.

Graphic Novels

Geary, Rick. A Treasury of Victorian Murder Compendium II. illus. by Rick Geary. 400p. bibliog. NBM. 2015. lib. ed. $29.99. ISBN 9781561639076.

Quinn, Jason. Genesis: From Creation to the Flood. illus. by Naresh Kumar. 80p. Campfire. Mar. 2015. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9789381182031.

Rehr, Henrik. Terrorist: Gavrilo Princip, the Assassin Who Ignited World War I. illus. by Henrik Rehr. 232p. maps. Graphic Universe. Apr. 2015. lib. ed. $33.32. ISBN 9781467772792; pap. $11.99. ISBN 9781467772846. LC 2014021939.

Rodriguez, Jason, ed. Colonial Comics: New England, 1620-1750. 256p. illus. maps. notes. Fulcrum. 2014. pap. $25.95. ISBN 9781938486302. LC 2014031715.

This article was published in School Library Journal's February 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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