Ida B. Wells

Aladdin/Jeter. (Discovering History’s Heroes). Aug. 2019. 160p. bibliog. glossary. notes. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534424852; pap. $6.99. ISBN 9781534424845.
Gr 4-6–Bailey explores Wells’s journey to becoming a prominent part of the fight for African American equality in the United States. Readers learn about Wells from her time as a young teen to her death. She is an often overlooked part of the history of civil rights, but Bailey does a superb job of maintaining readers’ interest through a chronological account of Wells’s journey. The author highlights particularly tense moments when Wells’s work became dangerous, such as being a vocal crusader against lynching. As a young teen, Wells made the decision to care for her siblings after her parents’ death. She faced considerable challenges, as supporting a large family with a meager education at the turn of the century was difficult. Additionally, many people thought the odds were against Wells due to her race and gender. She proved her naysayers wrong and used her skills, grit, and determination to become an undeniable force in journalism. Each chapter has bolded words that are clearly explained in context, and a glossary is provided at the end of the book. This vocabulary addition is helpful with terms that require some content knowledge for full understanding.
VERDICT Readers who appreciate nonfiction and biographies will enjoy the quick pace and suspenseful moments detailed in this look at the life of Ida B. Wells. Bailey’s writing is clear and accessible to young readers who will understand the perilous risks Wells took as she fought against racism

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