Archive for September 30, 2019

Hooray for Women!

Written and Illustrated by Marcia Williams

Packed with information, Hooray for Women! is a celebration of some of the contributions women have made to the world. Though this has the look of a graphic novel, all the information is true. The first sixteen women are highlighted with two-page spreads. After that, many women who became distinguished in a specific category get only one panel to shine. And the author left out many, many wonderful women.

Cleopatra is the first chapter. Though she only lived to be thirty none, she had a tremendous influence on both Egypt and Rome. Boudicca was a Celtic woman who led a revolt against the Romans and became a symbol to freedom fighters. Joan of Arc is well-known, but most people don’t know a lot of details about her life. The reader then learns about Elizabeth I, Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, and Florence Nightingale. Malala Yousafsai is the last woman with a two-page spread.

This is a great place for students to make a start studying each of these notable women. It is a valuable resource for classrooms and for home libraries. The approach is entertaining and should hold kids’ attention. Numerous little-known anecdotes are related.

  • Hooray for WomenTitle: Hooray for Women!
  • Author/Illustrator: Marcia Williams
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2019
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 48 pages
  • Grade Level: 3 to 7
  • Genre: History, Women
  • ISBN: 978-1-5362-0111-6

The Amazing Mr. Franklin

Written by Ruth Ashby

This is a re-print of a valuable book first published in 2004. As part of a classroom reading list, it will bring up innumerable topics for further exploration by students. As independent reading, it’s purely fascinating. Important principles are presented throughout.

Most people think of Benjamin Franklin as the elderly statesman present during the birth of the United States of America. The author gives a wonderful view of Franklin’s younger years. At ten, he began working for his father’s soap and candle making business. Bored with this activity, he began and apprenticeship for his brother’s printing company at age twelve. He hated working for his brother. At sixteen, he ran away to Philadelphia by way of an adventurous journey. He worked for one of the two Philadelphia printers until he could start his own printing company at age twenty-two. He began a public library with his buddies. He began a post office with himself as the first postmaster general. In additional intellectual pursuits, he helped established the University of Pennsylvania. He fiddled with electricity until he proved lightning is electricity were the same thing, and he invented the lightning rod. He also did the famous experiment with the kite and the key. He retired from his companies in his forties. As the elder statesman, he was the only person to sign the Declaration of Independence, the peace treaty with Britain, and the United States Constitution.

Multiple anecdotes make this a thoroughly enjoyable read.

  • The Amazing Mr FranklinTitle: The Amazing Mr. Franklin
  • Author: Ruth Ashby
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, 2004
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 112 pages
  • Grade Level: 2 to 5
  • Genre: History, Biography
  • ISBN: 978-1-68263-102-7

The Echo Park Castaways

Written by M. G. Hennessey

Told in an enlightening yet gentle way, this is the story of four typical children who fall into the foster care system in Los Angeles County. Each child develops coping mechanisms unique to them, as is true in real life. The tale is told in the voices of three of the children, with rotating parts. Very effective for getting inside their heads and helping the reader understand motivations or their actions.

Vic is Latinx and strongly ADHD. He creates fantasies and is currently on a spy mission. Nevaeh (heaven backwards) is black and tries to be the little mother. She just wants to get through the system and become a doctor so she doesn’t have to depend on anyone else. Quentin has Asperger’s and is therefore ritualistic in his approach. He’s focused on finding his mother. The fourth child, Mara, barely speaks English and is definitely a follower.

Vic decides to make finding Quentin’s mother his next mission, so they set off across Los Angeles. Mara follows them, in her pajamas. Nevaeh chases them down. Three buses, a Metro ride, an ambulance ride, and a lot of walking later, they have learned a lot about each other and about the world.

Readers will learn a lot without being preached to. You can’t help but love each and every character, even the pit bull who threatens them.

  • Echo Park CastawaysTitle: The Echo Park Castaways
  • Author: M. G. Hennessey
  • Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins Publishers, 2019
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 208 pages
  • Grade Level: 3 to 7
  • Genre: Foster care, Family
  • ISBN: 978-0-06-242769-4