November 17, 2017

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Typhoid Mary, the Danish Resistance, and an Enchanting Memoir from Margarita Engle | Middle to HS Nonfiction

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redstarBartoletti, Susan Campbell. Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America. 240p. bibliog. chron. index. notes. photos. HMH. Aug. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544313675. LC 2014023057.

Gr 5 Up –This well-researched biography of Mary Mallon, also known as Typhoid Mary, begins in 1906, when Mallon was hired as a cook for a wealthy family vacationing in Oyster Bay, Long Island. The outbreak of typhoid that swept through the household a few weeks later turned out to be a pivotal event that forever changed her life. George Soper, a sanitation engineer and typhoid expert, was hired to discover the source of the disease. He eventually determined that Mallon was what was known as a healthy carrier: although she experienced no symptoms of typhoid, her body continued to produce the bacteria, which she inadvertently shed. Soper took his discovery to the New York City Board of Health, and soon thereafter, Mallon was arrested and quarantined against her will on North Brother Island. Mallon has often been described as ignorant and a menace to society due to her refusal to stop working as a cook when she was later briefly released from quarantine, but Bartoletti tells the woman’s story with empathy and understanding. The author also explores the myriad violations of Mallon’s civil rights and her unusually harsh treatment in comparison to other healthy typhoid carriers (nationwide 50 carriers were identified at the time, but only Mary was quarantined). Energetic, even charming prose (chapter headings include “In Which Mrs. Warren Has a Servant Problem”) will easily engage readers. Pair this work with Gail Jarrow’s Fatal Fever: Tracking Down Typhoid Mary (Boyds Mills, 2015). VERDICT Middle grade biography lovers will gravitate toward this compelling title.–Ragan O’Malley, Saint Ann’s School, Brooklyn, NY

redstarEngle, Margarita. Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir. illus. by Edel Rodriguez. 208p. S. & S./Atheneum. Aug. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481435222; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781481435246. LC 2014017408.

Gr 6-10 –A deeply personal memoir-in-verse filled with Engle’s trademark intricately woven lyricism. The author’s memories focus on the first 14 years of her life, beginning with idyllic summers spent in her mother’s homeland of Cuba and ending during the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis and subsequent travel ban. Engle captures the heart of a quiet, young girl torn between two cultures. This historical memoir/love poem to Cuba couldn’t be more timely. With the recent easing of relations with Cuba, teachers can use the text as an accessible entry point into the history behind this very current event. And while the narrative unfolds over 50 years ago, Engle’s experiences will still resonate with adolescents and teens today. Any child who has felt like an outsider will recognize themselves in Margarita’s tale. When the Cuban Missile Crisis ended and everyone’s focus shifted, \the author was left confused, empty and unfulfilled by her school’s seemingly senseless focus on what felt like irrelevant historical events. What American child with ties to a country experiencing turmoil couldn’t relate to the lingering after-effects of far off events in our era of two-minute news bytes? VERDICT A more than worthwhile purchase for any library in need of a universally applicable coming-of-age tale, a fantastic new memoir-in-verse, or a glimpse into Cuba’s past.–Jill Heritage Maza, Montclair Kimberley Academy, Montclair, NJ

redstarHoose, Phillip. The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club. 208p. bibliog. illus. index. maps. notes. photos. Farrar. May 2015. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780374300227; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780374302726.

Gr 9 Up –In April 1940, occupying German forces made Denmark a “protectorate” of the Third Reich. The Danish government accepted the occupation, but a small group of teen boys, angry at their nation’s cowardice, formed the secret Churchill Club to resist the Germans and conducted a six-month spree of sabotage and destruction. Incorporating lengthy first-person reminiscences of one of the group’s leaders, Knud Pedersen, Hoose describes how the club recruited members, exploited their youth and innocent looks to deceive their parents and the Germans, appropriated weapons, and carried out guerilla-style attacks from their bicycles. Although the boys were eventually arrested and imprisoned, their exploits made them national heroes, shamed many adults, and fueled Danish resistance. After the war, Winston Churchill honored their efforts. The book is well organized, effectively integrating Pedersen’s vivid descriptions of his group’s motives, determination, and sometimes foolhardy bravery within the larger narrative, which includes information about Denmark, the war, and the boys’ families and lives. Sidebars, detailed maps, and period photos supplement the text. Often reading like a thriller, this title puts a human face on the often-overlooked Danish Resistance and complements titles such as Michael Burgan’s Refusing to Crumble: The Danish Resistance in World War II (Compass Pt., 2010) and Ellen Levine’s Darkness over Denmark: The Danish Resistance and the Rescue of the Jews (Holiday House, 2000). VERDICT A captivating work that will appeal to many readers.–Mary Mueller, Rolla Public Schools, MO

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

Atkinson, Rick. The Battle of the Bulge. 256p. bibliog. chron. index. further reading. glossary. maps. photos. reprods. websites. Holt. Jun. 2015. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781627791137; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9781627791144.

Chrisp, Peter. Explore 360°: Pompeii. illus. by Somchith Vongprachanh. 48p. diag. photos. reprods. w/CD. Barron’s. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780764167669. LC 2014940635.

Gilliland, Ben. Rocket Science for the Rest of Us. 192p. diag. index. photos. reprods. DK. 2015. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781465433657.

Goldstein, Margaret J. Fuel Under Fire: Petroleum and Its Perils. 104p. bibliog. glossary. index. notes. photos. websites. Twenty-First Century. Aug. 2015. lib. ed. $34.65. ISBN 9781467738316. LC 2014020890.

Lora, Loris. Eventually Everything Connects. illus. by Loris Lora. 24p. Flying Eye Books/Nobrow. 2015. Tr $40. ISBN 9781907704888.

Mahoney, Ellen. Nellie Bly and Investigative Journalism for Kids: Mighty Muckrakers from the Golden Age to Today, with 21 Activities. 144p. bibliog. chron. index. notes. photos. reprods. websites. Chicago Review. May 2015. pap. $16.95. ISBN 9781613749975.

Martin, Steve & Clive Gifford & Marianne Taylor. The Wacky & Wonderful World Through Numbers: Over 2,000 Figures and Facts. illus. by Andrew Pinder. 128p. Barron’s. 2015. pap. $11.99. ISBN 9781438005904. LC 2014934403.

Nadel, Matt. Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers: An Introduction to Baseball History. 96p. chron. ebook available. photos. reprods. Summer Game Books. 2015. pap. $10. ISBN 9781938545467.

O’Sullivan, Joanne. Migration Nation: Animals on the Go from Coast to Coast. 96p. ebook available. glossary. index. photos. websites. Charlesbridge/Imagine! May 2015. Tr $15.95. ISBN 9781623540500.

Pitamic, Maja & Jill Laidlaw. Modern Art Adventures: 36 Creative, Hands-on Projects Inspired by Artists from Monet to Banksy. 160p. glossary. index. photos. reprods. Chicago Review. 2015. pap. $19.95. ISBN 9781613731772. LC 2014037521.

Plain, Nancy. This Strange Wilderness: The Life and Art of John James Audubon. 112p. appendix. bibliog. ebook available. glossary. illus. index. notes. reprods. Univ. of Nebraska. 2015. pap. $19.95. ISBN 9780803248847.

Reynolds, Toby & Paul Calver. Extreme Earth. ISBN 9781438005782. LC 2014935422.

––––. Ocean Life. ISBN 9781438005799. LC 2014935424.

––––. Rainforests. ISBN 9781438005812. LC 2014935421.

ea vol: 32p. (Visual Explorers). glossary. index. photos. Barron’s. 2015. pap. $6.99.

Samuelsson, Marcus with Veronica Chambers. Make It Messy: My Perfectly Imperfect Life. 224p. ebook available. photos. Delacorte. Jun. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780385744003.

Schmidt, Jason. A List of Things That Didn’t Kill Me. 432p. Farrar. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780374380137; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780374380144.

Stayton, Robert Arthur. Power Shift: From Fossil Energy to Dynamic Solar Power. 348p. chart. diag. further reading. illus. index. notes. reprods. Sandstone. 2015. pap. $22.95. ISBN 9780990479208.

van der Linde, Laurel. So, You Want to Be a Dancer?: The Ultimate Guide to Exploring the Dance Industry. 208p. (Be What You Want). bibliog. diag. ebook available. filmog. further reading. glossary. illus. notes. websites. S. & S./Aladdin. 2015. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781582704517; pap. $11.99. ISBN 9781582704500. LC 2014015767.

Webb, Mick. The Book of Languages: Talk Your Way Around the World. 64p. glossary. illus. index. maps. photos. Owlkids. 2015. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781771471558.

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

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