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scrounge: /skrounj/ informal verb: to actively seek [books] from any available source

Category results for 'biography'.

Dr. Jo: How Sara Josephine Baker Saved the Lives of America's Children is the story of a courageous and unconventional woman who attended medical school long before it was considered "normal" for women to do so, and who dedicated her life to the vulnerable babies and children living in poverty in New York City.

"Hell's Kitchen" was the name of the neighborhood where she did much of her work in public health. Despite the challenges, Dr. Jo went beyond simply treating patients and tried to come up with big-picture ideas that could help this population in the midst of their poverty -- one of her ideas was to make bottles out of beeswax to help make babies' eye drops safer.

I really appreciated this story of a woman who was ahead of her time and whose compassion drove her to save so many lives. Definitely a great example for girls (and boys) today.

(Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy.)

Scrounged From: NetGalley

Format: Kindle
Author: Monica Kulling
Illustrator: Julianna Swaney
Pages: 32
Content Advisory: While not dwelt upon, afflictions like typhoid (leading to death), blindness, heat stroke, and other illnesses are mentioned and briefly described.

More Reviews at Amazon

Continuing with our "tree theme" of late, as well as books that highlight people who made a difference in their communities, The Tree Lady is another inspiring story of a woman who brought trees to the San Diego area more than a hundred years ago. Not only did Kate Sessions become the first woman to obtain a science degree from the University of California, but she then made "tree hunting" and planting her career. She sought out the varieties of trees that would be just right for the sunny, dry climate of Southern California, and went to work making the place beautiful.

This picture book tells her story from her tree-loving childhood to her education and finally her determination to try and find a way where others may not have tried. The affirming repetition of "But Kate did" throughout the story helps to emphasize this sense of perseverence, and the story concludes with some information about the way her legacy still impacts the area she called home.

Scrounged From: Our local library

Format: Hardcover
Author: H. Joseph Hopkins
Illustrator: Jill McElmurry
Pages: 32
Content Advisory: None

More Reviews at Amazon

Grandad Mandela serves as a wonderful introduction to the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela, who brought an end to racial apartheid while president of South Africa. 

The book is written as a conversation between the book's author, Zindzi Mandela, who is Nelson Mandela's daughter, and her two grandchildren, Zazi and Ziwelene. While the conversation primarily serves to structure the narrative, it also brings a sense of familial connection and pride to Mandela's story.

In order to adequately cover the major events of Mandela's life, the story also explains important concepts from that time and place that might not make as much sense to children these days, such as apartheid, justice (especially as it related to apartheid), and the African principle of "Ubuntu" -- treating others as we would want to be treated, and in Mandela's case, forgiving his enemies in order to work with them for the betterment of the entire country.

In addition to the thorough (without being too wordy) and important story, the illustrations here are wonderful -- they capture the view of Mandela as a single, important person, but also his fight for justice and the way it encompassed an entire country -- and the colors are wonderful too.

This is a great way for children to learn about an important historical figure, and for those of us who are older, it can serve as a jumping-off point for further reading.

(Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy.)

Scrounged From: NetGalley

Format: Kindle
Author: Ambassador Zindzi Mandela, Zazi and Ziwelene Mandela
Illustrator: Sean Qualls
Pages: 40
Content Advisory: Very little is actually said of violence ("fight" is generally used as a more theoretical term, implying the general fight for justice), but there is one scene that depicts two white policeman with sticks raised over two black people who are on the ground -- no blood, but it gives a visual of the racial dominance that was upheld under apartheid. There is mention of Mandela's long prison term, and how difficult it was to keep his spirits up.

More Reviews at Amazon

Ada Lovelace has been my introduction to the Little People, Big Dreams series, books that tell short stories of the lives of people who changed the world for the better. 

This is a preschool-level take on the life of Ada Lovelace. We learn about how different (and somewhat absent) her parents were, but that Ada found ways to exercise both her logical and imaginative sides. She was taught math and logic, which was unusual for girls in those days, and eventually met with inventor Charles Babbage, leading her to develop the first computer programming code.

It's a fascinating story that is good for young children but also encourages additional reading about an important historical figure, especially since the text here is sparse. There is a somewhat longer informational page at the end, and also a few book recommendations, which are helpful.

(Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy.)

Scrounged From: NetGalley

Format: Kindle
Author: Isabel Sanchez Vegara
Illustrator: Zafouko Yamamoto
Pages: 32
Content Advisory: The text mentions briefly that Ada's father left when she was young.

More Reviews at Amazon

Barnum's Bones was a really neat story of a historical figure I'd never heard of before. Since my five-year-old is a dinosaur enthusiast, we both enjoyed this story about the man who discovered the first documented Tyrannosaurus skeleton.

Barnum Brown seems an almost larger-than-life figure as his obsession with fossils compels him to attend school, become a paleontologist, and spend his life searching all over the world for as many fossils as he can "sniff out." But what he really wants is to discover something new -- something that will make the American Museum of Natural History proud.

While it doesn't happen immediately (and the process is especially slow since it was limited to turn-of-the-twentieth-century technology -- horses, wagons, and trains), he does eventually discover the bottom half (ish) of a Tyrannosaurus, but it is several years later before he gets back to a nearby spot and finally finds the enormous head. What it must have been like to be an ordinary person in those days and be astounded at these new kinds of discoveries! 

Scrounged From: Our local library

Format: Hardcover
Author: Tracey Fern
Illustrator: Boris Kulikov
Pages: 36
Content Advisory: None

More Reviews at Amazon

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