Reference Book Reviews | June 2013

Referencing American Presidents, immigration, and education.

Native People of the WorldBARKAN, Elliott Robert, ed. Immigrants in American History: Arrival, Adaptation, and Integration. 4 vols. 1932p. bibliog. charts. illus. index. photos. reprods. ABC-CLIO. 2013. PLB $415. ISBN 978-1-59884-219-7; ISBN 978-1-59884-220-3. LC 2012034665; Online: ABC-CLIO eBook Collection Gr 9 Up–This collection of 163 articles is arranged in chronological order. It offers more than one essay per group, considering that immigrants from various parts of the world arrived in separate waves, and are still arriving. Part One focuses on those groups that arrived from the 1600s to 1870 and includes pieces on African, Chinese, and European arrivals. The other two parts cover 1870-1940 and 1940 to the present. The set is quite wide-ranging; it offers an entire article on ethnic Germans from Russia and one on Cape Verdeans, for example. Topics within each article might focus on why the group arrived as well as how it adapted, and what remnants of the original culture survive. The text is approachable, and each essay is roughly 10 pages in length, concluding with an individual bibliography. Readers will find plenty of material here for research, but casual browsers will also be engaged. The set is anchored by a collection of essays on general topics in U.S. immigration, including racial, economic, and political issues. A solid addition to any collection supporting a substantial history or political science curriculum.–Carol Fazioli, Barth Elementary School, Pottstown, PA

BEATY, Bart H, ed. Critical Survey of Graphic Novels: Independents & Underground Classics. 1500p. photos. further reading. bibliog. Salem Press. 2012. PLB $395. ISBN 978-1-58765-950-8. LC 2011051380. Online: Salem Literature database, eBooks on EBSCOhost Gr 9 Up–The emergence of graphic novels as a genre worthy of analysis is of no surprise; this title looks specifically at the body of work that is self-published or is originally from independent publishers, examining more than 215 titles in terms of publication history, plot, characters, artistic style, themes, and impact. For example, Shaun Tan’s The Arrival is described as a hybrid graphic novel and wordless picture book that is held in high regard for its universal tale of an immigrant family, placing readers in the role of immigrants who must rely on images and symbols to communicate. Interesting information about Tan’s use of graphite pencils and a photorealism that contextualizes the book historically may help content teachers looking for resources that fit nicely in the Common Core standards. Other familiar titles covered in the approximately four-page, individually authored entries include PersepolisMaus: A Survivor’s TaleStitches: A Memoir;Laika; and American Born Chinese. Black-and-white images accompany some entries, displaying the cover art or sample pages; other entries have an inset box with an author/artist photograph and a biography. All are followed by further-reading suggestions and a bibliography. Volume three boasts a number of appendixes, such as a time line and lists of online resources; major awards; and works by artist, author, or publisher, all followed by a complete index with many cross-references. An important and accessible resource.–Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY

CARRILLO, Karen Juanita. African American History Day by Day: A Reference Guide to Events. 420p. bibliog. chron. further reading. index. websites. Greenwood . 2012. PLB $89. ISBN 978-1-59884-360-6; ISBN 978-1-59884-361-3. LC 2012006083. Online: ABC-CLIO eBook Collection Gr 6 Up–Organized by the calendar year, this expansive reference work covers the people and events that have shaped African American history. Covering from January 1, 1880, when the transatlantic slave trade was banned in the U.S., to December 31, 1930, when blues singer Odetta was born, the book touches on the breadth of the African American experience in politics, education, civil rights, art, literature, sports, and science. Each date highlights a major entry, with year, description, excerpts from primary sources, and a list of books and websites for further reading. Most days also include other “Also Noteworthy” events. Educators can find lesson connections here for every day of the year, while an extensive bibliography and index provide multiple ways to get at the information. Unlike other recent books on the topic, Carrillo focuses on events in a historical context, rather than merely presenting the same lists of famous African Americans. The day-by-day approach allows the author to go beyond the well-known to celebrate more events and people who shaped American history.–Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD

DANVER, Steven, ed. Native Peoples of the World: An Encyclopedia of Groups, Cultures, and Contemporary Issues. 3 vols. 877p. bibliog. further reading. index. maps. photos. Sharpe Reference. 2013. PLB $349. ISBN 978-0-7656-8222-2. Online: Sharpe Online Reference Gr 9 Up–This informative encyclopedia surveys the history, language, culture, and current status of 400 native groups. The first two volumes discuss individual groups, profiling not only expected indigenous groups such as Native American and African tribes, but also the native populations of places such as Great Britain, France, and Norway. Articles are arranged alphabetically within sections based on world regions. The final volume’s two sections examine the general status of native peoples in 77 countries and the effects of important issues such as climate change, globalization, and women’s rights upon each of them. The signed, one- to five-page articles are accurate and reflect the perspective of native rights outlined in the 1992 Declaration of Indigenous Peoples of the World, which emphasizes the importance of sovereignty and self-determination. Numerous sidebars add information about important events such as the Navajo Long Walk and indigenous leaders such as Nelson Mandela. Average-quality, captioned black-and-white photos and illustrations add little, and the set’s most significant weakness is its single black-and-white political map, which fails to identify the locations of many of the regions and areas mentioned in entries. An extensive index, cross-references, and further-reading lists that are provided after each article will help users to navigate the work and to find additional sources. This set gives researchers a reliable introduction to native peoples of the world and their historical and current challenges. A useful addition.–Mary Mueller, Rolla Public Schools, MO

FERRARA, Miranda H, ed. Innovation Masters: History’s Best Examples of Business Transformation. 404p. bibliog. index. websites. Gale Cengage. 2012. PLB $462. ISBN 978-1-4144-9618-4; ebook $462. ISBN 978-1-4144-9619-1. LC 2012005369. Online: Gale Virtual Reference Library Gr 9 Up–Innovation successes featured in this high-interest, accessible reference are comprised of new technologies and inventions of the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as novel ideas and concepts that have impacted society. Coverage in the approximately 100 essays ranges from the iconic Ford Motor Company’s assembly line and Eli Whitney’s cotton gin to products such as Band-Aid Bandages and 3M Post-it Notes, and advertising campaigns such as “Got Milk?” and one promoting NASCAR. The digital explosion makes this a highly relevant, current source for factual information about innovators behind Facebook, Wikipedia, Netflix, Apple, Wi-fi, Google, eBay, and more. An essay on Pandora Radio/Music Genome Project, for example, begins with its inception by Tim Westergren and his vision of producing software that would make thoughtful music recommendations based on previous selections. Each entry is typically four pages in length and includes a description of a business plan, the extent of financial success, product details, marketing, improvements, and consumer response to the innovation, followed by a list of recommended books, journals, and websites. The publisher’s companion volume, Corporate Disasters: What Went Wrong and Why (2012), looks at innovator failures, rather than successes, offering teachers critical thinking and inquiry opportunities for their students.–Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY

RUBEL, David. Encyclopedia of the Presidents and Their Times. rev. ed. 256p. charts. chron. diag. illus. index. maps. photos. reprods. Scholastic. 2013. PLB $24.99. ISBN 978-0-545-49985-9. Gr 4 Up–Who was the only president to be elected unanimously by the electoral college? When did the first modern campaign take place? Which president was ticketed for driving his horse with excessive speed? What role did Carry A. Nation, The Little Rock Nine, or Seal Team Six play in U.S. history? These questions and more are answered in this fifth update of the 1994 edition (the previous update appeared in 2009). Front matter includes a usage guide that describes how to look up a particular president, find out who was in office in a partiular year, locate election results, and learn about important events and people. Presidents are covered in a chapter each. The top corners of the pages denote the years during which the man ruled; each entry opens with vital details–birth and death dates, party affiliation, Vice President, First Lady, and children, if any, and nickname. Also provided in this opening information is a fun fact; for example, James Madison was the first president to regularly wear trousers (before him they wore knee breeches). Featured events during each presidency may include literature and the arts, inventions, or notable individuals. President signatures, campaign details, and newspaper-style clips add color. With the additional information on newly elected commanders in chief, this title offers students the opportunity to gain a solid foundation of information on American history and its leaders.–Beth McGuire, Hempfield Area School District

RUSSO, Charles J. Debating Issues in American Education. 10 vols. 3968p. bibliog. charts. further reading. index. websites. SAGE. 2012. PLB $680. ISBN 978-1-4129-8978-7. LC 2011040901. Online: SAGE Reference Online Gr 10 Up–Each of about 150 issues in primary and secondary education, in areas that range from school financing and governance to alternative schooling and the uses of new technology, is addressed here in a piece that opens with a “Yes/No” question (with some exceptions), and is followed by an overview and a pair of point-counterpoint arguments. The general slant of the material is academic, and the arguments are tightly laced with research results and case studies. The entries and the general introductions that open each thematic volume end with recommended resources and, where relevant, lists of court cases and statutes. Despite the high level of discourse, much of what is explored here is practical and, at least theoretically, should be of interest to present and future educators, parents, and politicians. Questions tackled include, “Should corporal punishment in public schools be abolished?” “Should English-only curriculums be eliminated or expanded?” and, “Should all forms of ability grouping be eliminated in schools?” Other debates take on school vouchers, teacher certification, religious expression in public schools, appropriate sources of funding, homeschooling, safety, and more. Though usable (and available) individually, each volume is capped by an analytical index to the entire set that highlights overlapping and interlocking subjects–notably the Common Core State Standards Initiative, aspects of which are examined in all five volumes. Relentlessly utilitarian design notwithstanding, these titles merit serious consideration for their systematic approach and unusually broad scope.–John Peters, Children’s Literature Consultant, New York City

TREFIL, James. Space Atlas: Mapping the Universe and Beyond. 336p. appendix. bibliog. charts. diags. glossary. illus. index. maps. photos. National Geographic. 2012. PLB $50. ISBN 978-1-4262-0971-0. Gr 6 Up–This stunningly beautiful and informative guide to the planets, stars, and beyond is illustrated in full color, providing photographs, art, and computer graphics that will draw readers into the mysteries and vastness of space. Brief biographies credit and introduce scientists who made important discoveries. The book explains, for example, that Edwin Hubble, one of the scientists who transformed our understanding of the universe, was also an outstanding athlete who chose science over a career as a professional boxer. The finding aids in this guide to the solar system, galaxy, and the universe make it highly user friendly. Appended are a table of facts about the planets, in which information about each planet’s satellites is alphabetically arranged under each planet heading; a list of notable deep-sky objects–the stars, star clusters, galaxies, nebulae, etc., found beyond our solar system; and a glossary and a list of map terms. The general index uses bold type for the page numbers of illustrations and the biographies of pertinent scientists, and it is followed by a lengthy place-name index. A gorgeous, fact-filled must for reference sections that need up-to-date astronomy information.–Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD

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