By Kathy Willis. Illus. by Katie Scott.
Mar. 2017. 112p. Candlewick/Big Picture, $35
(9780763689230). 580. Gr. 6–9.
This third large-format (almost 15 inches
tall!) volume in the Welcome to the Museum
series, following the wildly enjoyable
Anima-lium (2014)—also illustrated by Scott—and
Historium (2015), illuminates the remarkable
realm of plant life. Divided into seven galleries,
including “First Plants,” “Palms and Cyads,”
and “Adapting to Environments,” pages alternate between pithy introductory paragraphs
and informational “keys”
to significant specimens
on the left, and exquisite
renderings of discussed
specimens on the right.
Willis, director of science
at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England, is at
once technical, outlining
pollination and physical adaptation processes,
and playful, infusing text with fast yet fascinating facts. The designation “Pixie-cup lichen,”
for example, stems from European folklore:
the lichen’s stalked appearance offers pixies
a vessel from which to “sip morning dew.”
Tropical trees, on the other hand, unlike their
temperate counterparts, don’t display growth
rings. And the seemingly innocuous tulip?
It’s responsible for the “world’s first financial
crash.” Elegantly encapsulating these dizzyingly diverse and ubiquitous wonders, Scott’s
photographic illustrations, too, offer astronomical appeal. Complete with an index and
sources for suggested reading, this dazzling
display is ideal for classroom and coffee-table
collections, budding botanists and curious
kids, and everywhere—and everyone—in between. —Briana Shemroske
How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a
By Sandra Uwiringiyimana and Abigail
May 2017. 288p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen, $19.99
(9780062470140). 967. Gr. 8–10.
As America’s doors threaten to shut against
refugees, this memoir could not be timelier.
As a 10-year-old in 2004, Uwiringiyimana
and her family fled conflict in their native
Congo for a U.N. refugee camp over the border in Burundi. The stay, overcrowded and
miserable as the sanctuary was, proved short-lived: on the night of August 13, armed rebels
attacked the camp, slaughtering 166 people.
Uwiringiyimana’s narrative starts with a ter-
rifying moment-by-moment account of that
horrific event. Her ability to summon the
chaos and terror is extraordinary, but then, so
is she. Plagued by PTSD and severe, recur-
rent depression in the years since—the U.N.
succeeded in bringing the surviving members
of her family to the U.S. in 2007—she has
emerged as a powerful spokesperson for the
plight of the dispossessed. Her account of the
family’s first few years in upstate New York,
where she was made to feel again unwanted
and alien at school, is almost as heartbreaking
as the memory of that one world-shattering
night. —Sandy MacDonald
Human Movement: How the Body Walks,
Runs, Jumps, and Kicks.
By Carla Mooney. Illus. by Sam
Mar. 2017. 128p. Nomad, $22.95 (9781619304819);
paper, $17.95 (9781619304857). 612. Gr. 6–9.
The human machine is rife with lessons on
physics, chemistry, and engineering far beyond basic anatomy. Almost every aspect of
kinesiology is examined in this kid-friendly
book, from skeletal foundations of movement
to the complex chemistry of metabolism and
the psychology of exercise addiction. The interconnectedness of bodily systems is a recurrent
theme, and full-color illustrations show young
peoples’ bodies in motion in plenty of everyday
scenarios. The science is relatively sophisticated, but by utilizing activities that range from
simple observation to full-fledged experiments,
young readers can see kinesthetic concepts at
work and can make in-depth predictions and
inquiries. Vocabulary activities in the sidebar invite readers to not just define the words
they don’t know, but to apply them to existing knowledge and to investigations at hand.
QR codes can be scanned with a smartphone
or tablet and connect readers to online videos,
games, and interactive documents that further
explain relevant ideas, making this book interactive and thorough. —Erin Anderson
Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23
People Who Changed the World.
By Sarah Prager. Illus. by Zoë More
May 2017. 272p. Harper, $17.99 (9780062474315). 920.
“Queer people have been part of history
throughout every era,” Prager asserts in the
introduction to her collection of 23 brief
biographies of queer people that—proving
her point—range from little-known Roman
emperor/empress Elagabalus to the con-
temporary actor and activist George Takei.
Vis-à-vis her selection of subjects, it’s impor-
tant to note that her definition of queer means
“anyone not totally straight or not totally
cisgender,” hence her inclusion of the gender-
bending likes of Queen Christina of Sweden
or Joan of Arc. More eyebrow raising is the
inclusion of Abraham Lincoln because of his
close friendships with Joshua Speed and Da-
vid Derickson. Her other selections—though
happily not all are well-known (Juana Inés de
la Cruz, anyone?)—are more traditional, thus
Frida Kahlo, Renée Richards, Bayard Rustin,
Alan Turing, and so on. Written in a breezy,
highly informal style (“Yikes,” “Frickin his-
toric,” “yep”), the book doesn’t take itself too
seriously, though it doesn’t stint on its honest
acknowledgment of oppression, repression,
and persecution. A lively and informative in-
troduction to queer history. —Michael Cart
Alexander Hamilton: The Making of
By Teri Kanefield.
Mar. 2017. 176p. illus. Abrams, $16.95
(9781419725784). 973.4. Gr. 4–8.
Kids and teachers swept up by the
Hamilton craze are undoubtedly itching for
age-appropriate resources about the man
himself. Kanefield has it covered with her new
middle-grade biography, which opens with
Hamilton’s fatal duel with Aaron Burr and
then traces his humble beginnings in the Caribbean and through his military and political
careers in America. The chapters are liberally illustrated with period artwork, portraits,
and historical documents, and inset boxes
offer explanations of key topics, such as the
Articles of Confederation and mercantilism.
Thoroughly researched and cited, this book is
accessibly written and full of valuable information, though readers after a biography as
lively as the musical may be disappointed or
overwhelmed by its content. Hamilton’s personal life is touched upon, but the primary
focus is on his staggering number of contributions as a founding father, from America’s
governmental and economic structure to its
foundational documents. Hamilton’s intelligence, ceaseless drive, and penchant for
speaking his mind come across, giving readers
a clear view of Hamilton’s character and his
role in creating America. —Julia Smith
Come On In, America: The United States
in World War I.
By Linda Barrett Osborne.
Mar. 2017. 176p. illus. Abrams, $17.95
(9781419723780). 940.3. Gr. 5–8.
Though general books on WWI abound,
the focus of this high-interest nonfiction, with
the centennial anniversary of the U.S. declaration of war on Germany looming, is squarely
on the American experience of the war. Osborne discusses why the U.S. chose to become
involved, how our own weapons, strategies,
and medical practices were shaped by the war,
and how the events in Europe impacted attitudes on the home front. Maps, posters, and
ephemera provide primary-source support for
the narrative, and ample photographs do not
shy away from the horrors of the battlefield.
The broader context of American progressivism is a running theme, with the suffrage
movement and early civil rights goals dis-
Continued on p. 39