March 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Highly Anticipated Follow-Ups from Gail Jarrow, John Lewis, and More | Nonfiction Grades 5 & Up

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redstarBenson, Kathleen. Draw What You See: The Life and Art of Benny Andrews. illus. by Benny Andrews. 32p. Clarion. Jan. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544104877. LC 2013046203.

Gr 4-6–Benny Andrews began drawing when he was able to hold pencil in his hands and “once he started, he never stopped.” He was born in 1930, one of 10 children to sharecroppers, and attended high school at a time when few of his friends had similar opportunities. After the service and college, Andrews went to New York City, where his work began to blossom: in scenes of Harlem life, the jazz world, and of his Georgia childhood. Social causes and injustice, particularly the civil rights movement and the exclusion of African American and female artists from museums fueled both his art and activism. Thick with broad, vibrant swatches of greens, blues, and reds and incorporating collage elements, the artist’s folklike paintings depicted the world around him—and illustrate Benson’s moving and accessible picture book biography. Whether two or three dimensional, existing on a shallow stage or in an expansive landscape, Andrews’s often elongated, stylized figures carry weight and their postures tell stories of oppression, of joy, of curiosity, and of pride. Readers will recognize the artist as the illustrator of Jim Haskins’s John Lewis in the Lead (Lee & Low, 2006), Delivering Justice (Candlewick, 2005), and Langston Hughes (Sterling, 2006). His poignant portrayals of the human condition in these and other titles and in paintings hanging on museum walls long ago earned him the title he chose for himself: the “people’s painter.” A powerful work about an influential artist and activist.–Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal

redstarBurns, Loree Griffin. Beetle Busters: A Rogue Insect and the People Who Track It. photos by Ellen Harasimowicz. 64p. bibliog. further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Houghton Harcourt. 2014. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780547792675.

Gr 5-9–They arrived unseen, burrowed in wooden pallets, spools, and crates, aboard ships from China. The first group spotted in the United States, in Brooklyn, NY, was contained, and quickly taken care of, but since then infestations have been discovered from Massachusetts to Illinois, and as far north as Canada. They’re Asian longhorned beetles, pests with “powerful jaws and a taste for wood” and the frightening potential to eat their way through North American forests. Burns takes readers alongside a team of dedicated scientists and citizen volunteers working to eradicate this invasive species in a quarantined area in Worchester County, MA. Along the way, she explains how the creatures can go undetected for years (their life cycle begins inside trees, which keeps them heavily camouflaged) and offers information that early studies on the creature have yielded—not all of it hopeful. Abundant, close-up, color photos of the insect (from egg to pupa to mature adult), damaged trees, onsite workers, and informative labeled diagrams and maps help tell this disquieting story. Burns questions the approach of the scientists she followed and both admires and “trusts.” But for her, the story is also personal. The author lives within the quarantined area in Massachusetts and has seen firsthand areas where swatches of infested (and other) trees have been cut down. Her questions about the method employed will leave readers asking some of their own—as they should. A timely, well-told story and a call to action.–Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal

redstarJarrow, Gail. Fatal Fever: Tracking Down Typhoid Mary. 176p. bibliog. chron. further reading. glossary. index. notes. photos. reprods. websites. Calkins Creek. Mar. 2015. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781620915974. LC 2014948476.

Gr 5 Up–Just who was Typhoid Mary? In this second installment of a planned trilogy featuring deadly diseases, the first being Red Madness: How a Medical Mystery Changed What We Eat (Calkins Creek, 2014), Jarrow relates the account of Typhoid Mary, also known as Mary Mallon, and places it in historical context, explaining the devastating effects of typhoid fever. A symptomless carrier of typhoid, Mallon was a cook who inadvertently infected numerous people and was responsible for many deaths. Jarrow skillfully weaves Mallon’s story into that of two other key figures working to fight and contain the disease: George Albert Soper, a sanitation engineer and typhoid expert; and Sara Josephine Baker, a doctor working at the New York City Department of Health. Citing newspaper articles, courtroom documents, and the personal accounts of several doctors, Jarrow acts as a medical detective, following the lives of Mallon, Soper, and Baker while illuminating a fascinating chapter in public health history. The work of Soper and Baker led to a dramatic decrease in typhoid cases as well as other infectious diseases. Mary, sadly, believed that she neither carried typhoid germs nor that she was responsible for outbreaks and spent most of her life virtually imprisoned on North Brother Island in New York’s East River. A nonfiction page-turner relying upon extensive research and copious source notes, this is a fantastic addition to any library.–Ragan O’Malley, Saint Ann’s School, Brooklyn, NY

redstarLeahy, Stephen. Your Water Footprint: The Shocking Facts About How Much Water We Use To Make Everyday Products. 144p. further reading. index. maps. notes. photos. websites. Firefly. 2014. Tr $35. ISBN 9781770854994; pap. $19.95. ISBN 9781770852952.

Gr 4-8–With exceptionally clear and informative prose and an abundance of well-designed infographics, this book presents the shocking facts about our water usage. Quite simply, we are using too much water in our everyday lives and this consumption cannot be sustained. Consider, as Leahy points out, that it takes 634 gallons of water to produce a single cheeseburger or 660 gallons of water to produce one cotton shirt. This title provides an impressive amount of data, making the issue of water use concrete and inescapable. Leahy helps readers understand the nature of the problem by highlighting what is important to know about our global, national, and local water consumption and why; explaining the significance of concepts such as water footprint (or the amount of water it takes to produce the goods and services consumed by an individual or community); emphasizing noteworthy ideas; and providing suggestions for making wise choices. To assist readers in becoming informed decision-makers, the text and infographics work together to describe the scope of the problem by providing information about water consumption at home, in our foods, and in farming and manufacturing. The urgency of the situation is emphasized, but so, too, are the steps readers can take to address the crisis. This is an exemplary book for focusing on Common Core standards that emphasize the integration of text and graphics in both reading and writing. Pair this book with Paul Fleischman’s Eyes Wide Open (Candlewick, 2014) to enlighten readers further about urgent water and ecology issues.–Myra Zarnowski, City University of New York

Graphic Novels

redstarKick, Russ, ed. The Graphic Canon of Children’s Literature: The World’s Greatest Kids’ Lit as Comics and Visuals. 450p. Seven Stories. 2014. Tr $38.95. ISBN 9781609805302. LC 2014010178.

Gr 10 Up–The fourth volume of the critically acclaimedGraphic Canon” series is a high quality, visually stunning collection of more than 40 adapted works that cover a wide range of children’s literature illustrated by 21st century artists. Characters such as Alice, Dorothy, Goldilocks, and Harry Potter have a very definite look in our mind thanks to the media. This work transforms familiar and unfamiliar stories by putting them in comic form and reimagining the characters and settings: a rude and grotesquely drawn Alice, the city mouse as a man involved with the Russian mafia, or a young Chinese girl who sneaks into the home of three panda bears. The page layout, medium, and overall style of the art varies greatly, allowing each individual story to make an impression on readers. The versions of the folk- and fairy tales included are the ones that have been watered down for children; additionally, the lengthy size of the book and the analysis at the beginning of each chapter will make it unappealing to casual, child readers. However, this work will make a worthy addition to library collections and will be most appreciated by older teens and adults interested in art, graphic novels as a format, and the deconstruction of stories. Highly recommended.–Marissa Lieberman, East Orange Public Library, NJ

redstarLewis, John & Andrew Aydin. March: Book Two. 192p. Top Shelf Productions. Jan. 2015. pap. $19.95. ISBN 9781603094009.

Gr 8 Up–In this second volume, representative Lewis continues describing his experiences with the civil rights movement. As in the first book, Lewis attends Barack Obama’s inauguration, flashing back to his life as a young man taking part in the fight that would make it possible for America to eventually elect its first black president. Lewis lays out his involvement with sit-ins and the freedom rides, as well as becoming chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and speaking at the March on Washington in 1963, where he urged the crowd to “complete the revolution.” Graphic in every sense of the word, this memoir puts a human face on a struggle that many students will primarily know from textbooks. Lewis makes it clear that the movement was far from a uniform entity, with disagreements cropping up, some small, such as differing opinions about the wording in speeches, others more serious, including whether to respond to resistance passively or with violence. Visually stunning, the black-and-white illustrations convey the emotions of this turbulent time, from Lewis’s fear and pain while in prison to Governor George Wallace’s sneering indifference during his “Segregation forever” speech. Powell’s use of light and dark is masterly, and the contrast between the joy of Obama’s inauguration and the obstacles faced back in the 1960s is effective. This insider’s view of the civil rights movement should be required reading for young and old; not to be missed.–Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal

Grades 5 & Up

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

Bair, Sheila. Bullies of Wall Street: This Is How Greedy Adults Messed Up Our Economy. 272p. chart. glossary. S. & S. Apr. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481400855; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781481400879.

Caravantes, Peggy. The Many Faces of Josephine Baker: Dancer, Singer, Activist, Spy. 208p. appendix. bibliog. index. notes. photos. reprods. Chicago Review. Feb. 2015. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781613730348.

Coste, Marion. Hawai‘i’s Animals Do the Most Amazing Things! illus. by Rena Ekmanis. 48p. bibliog. glossary. Univ. of Hawai’i. 2014. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780824839628. LC 2014014460.

Doeden, Matt. Whistle-Blowers: Exposing Crime and Corruption. 96p. bibliog. chron. ebook available. filmog. further reading. glossary. index. notes. photos. websites. Twenty-First Century. Apr. 2015. RTE $33.32. ISBN 9781467742092. LC 2014011850.

Donovan, Sandy. Thrift Shopping: Discovering Bargains and Hidden Treasures. 64p. bibliog. ebook available. index. notes. photos. websites. Twenty-First Century. Mar. 2015. Tr $33.32. ISBN 9781467757836. LC 2014020885.

Downing, Erin. For Soccer-Crazy Girls Only. 160p. bibliog. chart. illus. index. photos. Feiwel & Friends. 2014. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781250047090.

DuMont, Brianna. Famous Phonies: Legends, Fakes, and Frauds Who Changed History. 160p. ebook available. illus. index. notes. photos. reprods. Sky Pony. 2014. Tr $14.95. ISBN 9781629146454. LC 2014022733.

Finlay, Victoria. The Brilliant History of Color in Art. 128p. illus. index. Getty. 2014. Tr $24.95. ISBN 9781606064290.

Gormley, Beatrice. Nelson Mandela: South African Revolutionary. 256p. bibliog. chron. ebook available. glossary. index. photos. S. & S./Aladdin. Apr. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481420594.

Higgins, Nadia. US Government Through Infographics. illus. by Alex Sciuto. ISBN 9781467734639. LC 2013041241.

Kenny, Karen Latchana. Economics Through Infographics. illus. by Steven Stankiewicz. ISBN 9781467734608. LC 2013037679.

––––. World Geography Through Infographics. illus. by Steven Stankiewicz. ISBN 9781467734615. LC 2013044300.

ea vol: 32p. (Super Social Studies Infographics). chart. ebook available. further reading. glossary. illus. index. maps. notes. photos. websites. Lerner. 2014. lib. ed. $26.60.

Kallen, Stuart A. Running Dry: The Global Water Crisis. 64p. bibliog. diag. ebook available. filmog. further reading. glossary. index. notes. photos. websites. Twenty-First Century. Feb. 2015. RTE $33.32. ISBN 9781467726467. LC 2014003223.

Lauer, Brett Fletcher & Lynn Melnick, eds. Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation. 304p. Viking. Mar. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780670014798. LC 2014007144.

Lowery, Lynda Blackmon. Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March. Elspeth Leacock & Susan Buckley retel. illus. by PJ Loughran. 128p. reprods. Dial. Jan. 2015. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780803741232. LC 2013047316.

Marcovitz, Hal. Exposing Torture: Centuries of Cruelty. 112p. bibliog. chron. ebook available. further reading. glossary. index. notes. photos. reprods. Twenty-First Century. Mar. 2015. lib. ed. $34.65. ISBN 9781467750493. LC 2014003211.

Nakaya, Andrea C. Video Games and Youth. ISBN 9781601527509. LC 2014010450.

Netzley, Patricia D. How Do Video Games Affect Society? ISBN 9781601527486. LC 2014015008.

ea vol: 80p. (Video Games and Society). diag. further reading. index. notes. photos. reprods. websites. ReferencePoint Pr. 2014. lib. ed. $28.95.

Oliver, Narelle. Sand Swimmers: The Secret Life of Australia’s Desert Wilderness. illus. by Narelle Oliver. 40p. bibliog. index. Candlewick. Jan. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763667610. LC 2013955953.

Parker, Matt. Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension: A Mathematician’s Journey Through Narcissistic Numbers, Optimal Dating Algorithms, at Least Two Kinds of Infinity, and More. 320p. Farrar. 2014. Tr $27. ISBN 9780374275655; ebk. ISBN 9780374710378.

Russo, Monica. Birdology: 30 Activities and Observations for Exploring the World of Birds. photos by Kevin Byron. 128p. bibliog. index. photos. Chicago Review. Jan. 2015. pap. $15.95. ISBN 9781613749494.

Seidman, David. What If I’m an Atheist?: A Teen’s Guide to Exploring a Life Without Religion. 256p. appendix. bibliog. chart. ebook available. glossary. index. maps. notes. websites. Atria/Beyond Words. Mar. 2015. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781582704074; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781582704067.

Silvani, James. Draw-A-Saurus: Everything You Need to Know to Draw Your Favorite Dinosaurs. illus. by James Silvani. 160p. diag. index. maps. Watson-Guptill. 2014. pap. $18.99. ISBN 9780385345804; ebk. ISBN 9780385345811. LC 2014003420.

Starishevsky, Jill. My Body Belongs to Me: A Book About Body Safety. illus. by Angela Padrón. 32p. Free Spirit. 2014. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781575424613; ebk. ISBN 9781575425948.

Stone, Oliver & Peter Kuznick. The Untold History of the United States: Young Readers Edition, 1898–1945, Volume 1. adapted by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. 400p. bibliog. chron. index. photos. reprods. websites. S. & S./Atheneum. 2014. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781481421737; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781481421751.

Yousafzai, Malala with Patricia McCormick. I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World. Young Readers Edition. 224p. chron. glossary. maps. photos. Little, Brown. 2014. Tr $17. ISBN 9780316327930.

Graphic Novels

Griffith, Saul & others. Howtoons: Tools of Mass Construction. illus. by Nick Dragotta. 360p. Image Comics. 2014. pap. $17.99. ISBN 9781632151018.

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