ALL-AMERICAN FIGHTING FORCES SERIES. BLACK
RABBIT/WORLD BOOK. GR. 2–4.
American Indian Code Talkers. By Julia Garstecki. 2016. 32p.
illus. lib. ed., $31.35 (9780716696643). 940.54.
Go for Broke Regiment. By Julia Garstecki. 2016. 32p. illus.
lib. ed., $31.35 (9780716696704). 940.5404.
Harlem Hellfighters. By Julia Garstecki. 2016. 32p. illus. lib.
ed., $31.35 (9780716696674). 940.4.
WASPs. By Julia Garstecki. 2016. 32p. illus. lib. ed., $31.35
The All-American Fighting Forces series introduces the subject of
prejudice in the armed forces by focusing on minority groups who
faced great obstacles in order to fight for their country. In American
Indian Code Talkers, readers learn that Native Americans aided the U.S.
in both WWI and WWII. Although the book does a good job of describing the mechanics of how the units did their jobs, it falls flat when
explaining the codes themselves. Go for Broke Regiment spotlights the
Japanese American soldiers of WWII, most of whom were recruited
from internment camps. The book notes both the regiment’s success
and how few of these soldiers had homes to return to at the end of the
war. Harlem Hellfighters explains how this decorated African American unit fought bravely during WWI, even though its soldiers faced
extreme prejudice at home. Women Airforce Service Pilots are the subject of WASPs, which spotlights how these women took on difficult
tasks—like helping to train male pilots and flying broken planes in
for repair—but were not permitted to fight in WWII themselves. The
books’ limited text is sometimes confusing in its brevity, but the graphics will draw reluctant readers with historical photographs, colorful
time lines, and startling statistics. Use these titles to spark kids’ interest
before moving them on to more comprehensive titles. —Ilene Cooper
COLLECTIVE BIOGRAPHIES SERIES. REFERENCEPOINT.
Brand Empire Celebrities. By Adam Woog. 2016. 80p. illus.
$29.95 (9781601529947). 791.092.
Great Magicians and Illusionists. By John Allen. 2016. 80p.
illus. $29.95 (9781601529985). 793.8092.
Women World Leaders. By Stephen Currie. 2016. 80p. illus.
$29.95 (9781682820346). 320.082.
Young Adult Authors. By Christine Wilcox. 2016. 80p. illus.
$29.95 (9781682820360). 810.9.
Clear and well organized, each entry in the Collective Biographies
series profiles six notable figures in industries of particular interest or
value for students. Placed in roughly chronological order, each chap-
ter details the early life, major accomplishments, and challenges faced
by its subject. Brand Empire Celebrities is perhaps the highest-interest
though weakest volume of the set; broadly and with a gossipy tone, it
introduces the artistic successes, entrepreneurial ventures, and philan-
thropy (or lack thereof) of celebrities like Jay Z, Kim Kardashian, and
Taylor Swift. Great Magicians and Illusionists opens with a comprehen-
sive look at the life of—who else?—Harry Houdini before examining
the careers of other influential magicians; Ning Cai is both the only
woman and person of color profiled, though the male-dominated na-
ture of the industry is discussed. Women World Leaders, on the other
hand, focuses specifically on the women in the field of politics and
government, presenting an unbiased discussion on the successes, fail-
ures, and controversies of leaders, including Indira Gandhi, Margaret
Thatcher, and Hillary Clinton. Young Adult Authors discusses the lack
of diversity in publishing before expounding on how authors such as
Walter Dean Myers, Rainbow Rowell, and Nnedi Okorafor are push-
ing boundaries in their work. The text-heavy layout is broken up by
occasional photos, boxed asides, and pull quotes, but the high-interest
topics will draw curious readers. —Maggie Reagan
FOUNDATIONS OF DEMOCRACY SERIES. MASON
CREST. GR. 7–12.
Citizenship and Immigration. By Tom Lansford. 2016. 64p.
illus. $23.95 (9781422236260). 325.
Gender Equality and Identity Rights. By Marie des Neiges
Léonard. 2016. 64p. illus. $23.95 (9781422236291). 305.3.
Justice, Policing, and the Rule of Law. By Tom Lansford.
2016. 64p. illus. $23.95 (9781422236307). 364.
Political Participation and Voting Rights. By Tom Lansford.
2016. 64p. illus. $23.95 (9781422236314). 324.60973.
More than voting in elections, democracy is dependent on a range
of freedoms and exists to protect those freedoms. The volumes in the
Foundations of Democracy series introduce and reflect upon democratic issues and how they affect citizens in the U.S. and around
the world. Each title offers a concise look at an individual issue,
addressing both the progress and challenges of having and obtaining freedoms. Because the series isn’t cookie-cutter in approach,
the content of the books complements one another. Citizenship
and Immigration identifies different categories of immigrants, their
economic impact, and the path to citizenship in diverse countries.
Gender Equality and Identity Rights defines the difference between sex
and gender before relating the historic and ongoing battles of equal
rights for women and the LGBT community. Justice, Policing, and
the Rule of Law highlights the need for judiciary and legal systems
and how they work in varying nations. Political Participation and
Voting Rights describes different ways to participate in and challenge
democracies as well as similarities and differences in democratic governments and elections throughout the world. Each chapter begins
with key vocabulary and concludes with summary questions and
research ideas, indicated by preestablished icons. Students who can
overlook the textbook feel will find a deeper understanding and appreciation of their rights and freedoms. —Angela Leeper
GEOLOGY ROCKS! SERIES. CHILD’S WORLD. GR. 2–4.
Crystals. By Carla Mooney. 2016. 24p. illus. lib. ed., $28.50
Fossils. By Carla Mooney. 2016. 24p. illus. lib. ed., $28.50
Igneous Rocks. By M. J. York. 2016. 24p. illus. lib. ed., $28.50
Minerals. By Roberta Baxter. 2016. 24p. illus. lib. ed., $28.50
Despite the cute series name (Geology Rocks!) and the books’ flashy
covers, the content of these books is very straightforward. The tone
is scientific and explanatory, with little sense of fun or playfulness.
Even the sidebars maintain the informative tone. Illustrative photos,
diagrams, and tables further showcase key details. Oddly, at least one