Girl Rising: Changing the World
One Girl at a Time.
By Tanya Lee Stone.
Feb. 2017. 208p. illus. Random/Wendy Lamb, $22.99
(9780553511468); lib. ed., $25.99 (9780553511475).
371.822. Gr. 9–12.
Much more than a companion volume to
the 2013 semidocumentary of the same title,
which portrayed nine girls
around the globe overcoming daunting barriers to
obtain an education, this
vibrant book stands on its
own as a source of inspiration. Going into greater
detail than is possible in
a cinematic format, the
author tells the girls’ backstories with empathy
and grace; she also provides heartening updates
and illuminates the context of the struggle. In
50 countries, education is not free, and in many
of these, education for girls is viewed as, at best,
inessential, at worst, anathema— 60 million
girls receive limited or no schooling. Instead,
they are required to work: in some of the cases
described here, they’re sold very young by their
families as virtual slaves (restaveks in Haiti,
ka-mlari in Nepal). Child marriage— 14 million
cases yearly worldwide—represents essentially
the same script. The closing chapter is a call
to activism, and close-up full-color photos of
the girls profiled will let young readers connect
even more. Some of the stories contained here
are perhaps too strong for younger readers, although it was a seven-year-old girl in Toronto
who came up with the notion of Pencil Mountain, which ships school supplies to Ethiopia.
Readers may be moved to initiate projects of
their own. —Sandy MacDonald
Racial Profiling: Everyday Inequality.
By Alison Marie Behnke.
Apr. 2017. 160p. illus. Lerner/Twenty-First Century, lib.
ed., $35.99 (9781512402681). 363.2. Gr. 9–12.
An impressive amount of information is
packed into this relatively slim book. Assum-
ing no previous knowledge, and attempting to
relate topics to readers’ personal experiences,
coverage addresses multiple aspects of racial
profiling, including definitions, historic roots,
legalities, and documented examples of diverse
subconscious and institutionalized prejudices
found in law enforcement, education, hiring,
home buying, and almost every aspect of ev-
eryday society (public transportation, media,
etc.). There is an equally impressive variety of
delivery methods: personal experiences and
quotes; case studies; charts and graphs; archi-
val and color photos; and engaging, accessible
text documented by extensive source notes. The
coverage is current through the end of 2016,
addressing such issues as the Black Lives Mat-
ter movement and the ongoing water crisis in
Flint, Michigan. The final chapter addresses ac-
tivism and offers realistic ways for young adults
to become involved in change initiatives. This is
a balanced introduction to a sometimes contro-
versial and often emotional subject and should
serve report writers well. —Kathleen McBroom
The Language of Angels: A Story about
the Reinvention of Hebrew.
By Richard Michelson. Illus. by Karla
Feb. 2017. 32p. Charlesbridge, $16.99 (9781580896368).
492.4092. K–Gr. 3.
Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, a Jewish resident of
Jerusalem in the 1880s, devoted his life to promoting the modern use of Hebrew. Although
always used for religious prayers and rites, Hebrew had died out as a spoken language more
than 2,000 years before and lacked terms for
modern ideas and objects. Ben-Yehuda created new words, often borrowing from related
languages, and published a modern Hebrew
dictionary, his milon. Through his efforts,
Hebrew became Israel’s official language in
1948. Michelson’s text draws on Ben-Yehuda’s
memoirs, although he tells this story from
the perspective of Ben-Yehuda’s young son,
Ben-Zion. Gudeon’s mixed-media illustrations depict period clothing and architecture,
and she effectively incorporates Hebrew letters and words into the art. Appended with
a generous afterword explaining the changes
Michelson made to this story, this title also
offers information about important individuals, the Hebrew language, and Palestine. With
a smoothly written text and an appealing
child focus, this makes a perfect resource for
religious school collections and public library
language shelves. —Kay Weisman
The Monkey King: A Classic Chinese Tale
By David Seow. Illus. by L. K. Tay-Audouard.
Mar. 2017. 32p. Tuttle, $9.95 (9780804848404). 398.2.
In this pastel-toned retelling of a portion of
the Chinese classic, Journey to the West, a virtu-
ous monk, here called Tripitaka, wishes to find a
set of important scriptures for the Jade Emper-
or. Tripitaka sets out with his horse in tow, and
before long he meets Monkey, who promises to
help him in exchange for the Jade Emperor’s
favor. Along the way, they find more creatures
to battle, but at almost every encounter, their
foe turns out to be another disciple hoping to
regain his standing, and before long, Tripitaka
has three companions: Monkey, Pigsy, and San-
dy. Tay-Audouard’s soft, rounded figures recall
classic illustrations of these iconic figures, and
her dynamic layouts and cantilevered points-
of-view imbue the scenes with engaging action
and movement. Though the text is a bit long
on each page, and some kids might be disap-
pointed that this retelling concludes just before
the four friends embark on their dangerous
journey together, this will be a useful addition
to libraries hoping to expand the diversity of
their folklore collections. —Sarah Hunter
The Rock Maiden: A Chinese Tale of Love
By Natasha Yim. Illus. by Pirkko Vainio.
Mar. 2017. 28p. Wisdom Tales, $17.95
(9781937786656). 398.2. K–Gr. 3.
Long ago, Ling Yee, a young Chinese girl,
marries a kind fisherman named Ching Yin.
They have a baby son and live happily until the
sad day Ching Yin is lost at sea in a devastating
storm. Convinced that her husband will return,
Ling Yee climbs a high cliff overlooking the
ocean every day. With her baby on her back,
Ling Yee faithfully waits for Ching Yin. This
original story expands on the legend of Amah
Rock, a granite formation in Hong Kong that
is shaped like a mother and child. The author
notes that in the old story, the Goddess of the
Heavens takes pity on the suffering mother and
turns her into stone, either to relieve her pain
or allow her to join her deceased husband. In
this retelling, however, Ching Yin does return
and the goddess rewards Ling Yee’s devotion by
turning her back into a human. Though the
beautiful watercolor illustrations are sometimes
vague, the affecting scenes of stalwart Ling Yee
are nicely composed and enhance the occasionally lengthy text. —Lucinda Whitehurst
Crossing Ebenezer Creek.
By Tonya Bolden.
May 2017. 240p. Bloomsbury, $17.99 (9781599903194).
Award-winning Bolden’s latest takes readers back to 1864, the waning days of the
Civil War. In rural Georgia,
recently emancipated Mariah
hides in the root cellar when
Sherman’s troops sweep into
town. Joining the march,
she meets Caleb, a young
black man whose manner of
dress and comfort with the
white Union soldiers raises
an eyebrow among Mariah and other formerly
enslaved people. As they march toward Ebene-