effects small actions can have on the world.
Some of the nuances of the message may be
lost on younger readers—as initially they
are on young Arun—but the illustrations
are a joy. Turk’s gloriously colorful mul-
timedia collages capture the spirit of the
story while providing endlessly fascinating
details, and repeating shapes reflect Arun’s
growing understanding of the interconnec-
tion of actions, ultimately driving home
one of Gandhi’s most enduring lessons:
to change the world, first change yourself.
Cesar Chavez: Champion for Civil Rights.
By Anne Roome and Joanne Mattern.
2016. 32p. illus. Scholastic/Children’s Press, paper, $5.95
(9780531226353); lib. ed., $23 (9780531225462).
331.88. Gr. 1–3.
Mexican American migrant worker and
civil rights activist Cesar Chavez is featured
in this biography for beginning readers. Details of his early life include his attendance
at more than 30 different schools as his family moved around looking for work, before
he finally dropped out in eighth grade. An
avid reader, he was inspired by Gandhi and
his methods of peaceful protest—methods
Chavez would later incorporate when he
formed the National Farm Workers Association and drew attention to unfair working
conditions. This is clearly written with a glossary of terms highlighted within the text and
compiled at the end. “Fast Facts” and photo
captions provide incidental information
that complements the narrative. Full-page
photographs highlight Chavez’s dynamism
as a leader as he talks to workers and makes
speeches in front of rapt crowds. A poem and
a “You Can Make a Difference” list at the
end—features shared with other books in the
Rookie Biographies series—feel like filler but
are otherwise innocuous. Chavez, the first
Latino featured in the series, is a welcome
addition. —Kara Dean
I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Makes Her Mark.
By Debbie Levy. Illus. by Elizabeth
Sept. 2016. 40p. Simon & Schuster, $17.99
(9781481465595). 347.73. Gr. 1–3.
As a child in Brooklyn, Ruth learned the
importance of a powerful dissent. Her mother
objected to the notion
that girls shouldn’t get an
education. Ruth objected
to the discrimination fac-
ing her Jewish family. In
school, she objected to
having to take sewing and
cooking classes (but still
had to), and in college,
she objected to the notion that, as a woman,
she couldn’t pursue a law career. Dissent is the
through line woven into this picture-book
biography of Justice Ginsburg, and it’s a tidy
way to demonstrate how her fearless objec-
tions to the unfair status quo not only led the
way to her career as a Supreme Court justice
but also contributed to dismantling many
of those discriminatory laws that prevented
equal treatment. Baddeley’s dynamic illustra-
tions in a rich palette highlight each moment
of dissension, with an artful I dissent written
in arcing calligraphy and Ginsburg’s deter-
mined expression facing down each looming
opposition. Baddeley and Levy don’t just em-
phasize the importance of mere disagreement,
however; using her friendship with Antonin
Scalia as an example (coupled with a charm-
ing illustration of them parasailing together),
they demonstrate how disagreement can lead
to meaningful discussion and doesn’t have to
be personal. This lively, inviting, and infor-
mative biography of a historic woman will
empower young ones to bravely voice their
opinions. —Sarah Hunter
By Mary R. Dunn.
2016. 24p. illus. Capstone, lib. ed., $25.99
(9781491479766); e-book, $43.99 (9781515727538).
796.352. Gr. 1–3.
At 4, Hawaiian-born Michelle Wie picked
up her first golf club; at 13, she won the Hawaii State Women’s Open; and at 25, she
won the U.S. Women’s Open. These facts and
more are presented chronologically in this
biography of the Korean American golfer.
As events are introduced, they are added to
the time line running across the bottom of
each two-page spread. Acronyms are defined
in colorful text boxes. The rules of the sport
are not explored, but the glossary provides
more information regarding specific terms.
The book begins with a table of contents and
concludes with a book list for further reading, two Common Core connections, and
an index. As with most Pebble Plus titles,
the layout is easy to navigate, with short text
printed in a large font on the left-hand page
and attractive color photos on the right. This
fact-filled book in the Women in Sports series
is a hole in one for young golfers or Michelle
Wie fans looking for leisure or homework
reading. —Amy Seto Forrester
Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille.
By Jen Bryant. Illus. by Boris Kulikov.
Sept. 2016. 40p. Knopf, $17.99 (9780449813379).
686.2. Gr. 1–3.
As a child, young Louis Braille surprised
everyone in his French village with his curios-
ity and energy. Sadly, an accident with an awl
blinded him first in one eye and then, when
infection spread, in the other. Though Louis
learned to navigate daily life, he missed the
knowledge gained through reading, and ap-
plied to the Royal School for the Blind, where
books with raised letters provided a slow and
unsatisfying alternative. But when introduced
to a French military code written in patterns
of dots, Louis wondered if it could be expand-
ed into an actual language. This picture book
is fairly text heavy, and it could have benefited
from the inclusion of actual Braille in addi-
tion to the diagram of the Braille alphabet
on the endpapers. Still, Kulikov’s illustrations
beautifully capture Louis’ cleverness and tac-
tile nature. Particularly effective are spreads
where Louis focuses on his hearing: line draw-
ings laid over a black background represent
the sounds he hears. An interesting explora-
tion of the life of a little-discussed inventor.
By Barbara Kramer.
2016. 48p. illus. National Geographic, paper, $3.99
(9781426322891); lib. ed., $13.90 (9781426322907).
347.73. Gr. 2–4.
From the National Geographic Kids Readers series, this appealing book offers a quick,
concise introduction to Sotomayor. Beginning with her swearing in as a Supreme Court
justice in 2009, the narrative traces her story
chronologically from her family’s roots in
Puerto Rico through her career as a lawyer
and a judge. Raised in the Bronx, Sotomayor
dealt with early difficulties such as childhood
diabetes and, when she was nine, her father’s
death. She worked hard to succeed academically. An early goal was to become a judge,
and she succeeded as the first Hispanic federal
judge in New York State and the first Hispanic justice on the Supreme Court. Kramer
organizes information logically and presents
it clearly. In addition to becoming familiar
with Sotomayor, readers will also learn a bit
about the federal court system and the process
of nominating and confirming judges and
justices. Illustrations, mainly photos, appear
on almost every page along with brief sidebars
and quotes. A brightly illustrated introduction to a notable contemporary American.
Zap! Nikola Tesla Takes Charge.
By Monica Kulling. Illus. by Bill Slavin.
Aug. 2016. 32p. Tundra, $17.99 (9781770495227).
621.3092. Gr. 1–3.
This addition to the Great Ideas series introduces one of science’s most electrifying
stars, Nikola Tesla. Kulling begins with Tesla’s almost penniless arrival in the U.S. as a
young man and his early career with inventor
Thomas Edison. Despite Tesla’s intelligence
and willingness to work hard, the two did
not get along, and Edison dismissed his employee’s idea to revolutionize electric power by
using alternating rather than direct currents.
Tesla soon left Edison Machine Works and,
after a stint digging ditches, found a job with
George Westinghouse, who used his ideas to
light up Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair. Slavin’s
old-fashioned pen-and-ink illustrations are
well suited to the story and help break the text
into manageable chunks. One picture shows
Tesla buzzing with light as he demonstrates
his Tesla coil in defiance of Edison’s smear
campaign against him, and he thoughtfully
gazes at Niagara Falls in another. While many
specifics are lacking, such as when Tesla died
and how his inventions worked, young readers will come away with an appreciation of his
genius. —Julia Smith