Tag Archives: history

Coming Up Clutch by Matt Doeden

Coming Up Clutch: The Greatest Upsets, Comebacks, and Finishes in Sports History by Matt Doeden. January 1, 2016. Millbrook Press, 64 p. ISBN: 9781512427561.  Int Lvl: 5-8; Rdg Lvl: 7.4; Lexile: 980.

The sports world is full of epic comebacks, upsets, chokes, and clutch performances. The most memorable buzzer-beating baskets, double-digit comebacks, and unexpected meltdowns are all here alongside vivid photos and lively writing from award-winning sports author Matt Doeden. From racing legend Man o’ War’s only career loss in 1919 to the 2017 Super Bowl’s incredible finish, sports fans will have plenty to digest. Doeden also writes about the science behind clutch performances and asks if some athletes are more clutch than others, or if being clutch is just one of the stories fans tell themselves about their favorite sports.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: None

 

Reviews

Booklist (September 1, 2018 (Vol. 115, No. 1))
Grades 5-7. It’s no simple thing to explain being clutch. The term itself falls short of fully capturing the intangible quality of the moment—or sequence of moments—that it describes. The best way to explain is to show, which is what author Doeden does in this compendium of sporting highlights. He reviews upsets, comebacks, epic chokes, and memorable last-minute heroics, before examining the science and psychology of being clutch, such as it is. The book is heavily skewed to American sports, with a couple of European mentions. Player profiles and anecdotes that don’t quite fall into those categories are listed in side boxes, such as a 1982 college football game that ended with a receiver plowing into the opposing team’s band, which had entered the end zone for a premature celebration. There is a nice balance of recent glories and legendary triumphs, so even casual sports fans might be familiar with some of the events mentioned. While there is no consensus on clutch, there is plenty for fans to consider and debate.

Kirkus Reviews (June 15, 2018)
A collection of clutch performances—and a few epic flubs. This rich gathering of thrilling finishes in sports history are mostly of recent vintage and cover the range of sports, including professional, collegiate, and Olympian. There is horse racing (Man o’ War, by far the oldest entry here, way back a century ago), the famous victory of the United States over the Soviet hockey team, Doug Flutie’s “hail Mary” pass, Brandi Chastain’s World Cup soccer goal, the New England Patriots comebacks during Super Bowl performances. Then there are famous individual performances from such stunners as Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps, and Simone Biles. Lest they be forgotten—as if they ever will—there are the world-class chokes such as Bill Buckner letting the ball go between his legs, Jean Van de Velde losing a three-point lead at the 1999 British Open on the last hole, Lindsey Jacobellis “showboating” to a loss in the Olympic snowboarding race in the final seconds. In the end, Doeden asks the question that nags at readers throughout the book. Are there just plain old clutch performers, or are they just the best players on the team doing what they do best—score? The answer, Doeden sensibly suggests, is in preparation and the handling of nerves. A fine collection of archival photographs accompanies Doeden’s fast-paced, colorful storytelling. As breezy a collection of sports stories as anyone could want on a lazy afternoon. (Nonfiction. 10-16)

About the Author

Matt Doeden was born in southern Minnesota and lived parts of his childhood in Golden Valley, Minnesota, and Madison, Minnesota. He studied journalism at Mankato State University, where he worked at the college newspaper for three years. In his senior year, he served as the paper’s Sports Editor, which put him in charge of the entire sports section, the sports writers, and the photographers. He covered mostly college sports, but also the Minnesota Vikings, who held training camp at MSU.

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Taking Cover by Nioucha Homayoomfar

Taking Cover: One Girl’s Story of Growing Up during the Iranian Revolution by Nioucha Homeyoomfar. January 1, 2019. National Geographic Society, 160 p. ISBN: 9781426333675.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA.

This coming-of-age memoir, set during the Iranian Revolution, tells the true story of a young girl who moves to Tehran from the U.S. and has to adjust to living in a new country, learning a new language, and starting a new school during one of the most turbulent periods in Iran’s history.

When five-year-old Nioucha Homayoonfar moves from the U.S. to Iran in 1979, its open society means a life with dancing, women’s rights, and other freedoms. But soon the revolution erupts and the rules of life in Iran change. Religion classes become mandatory. Nioucha has to cover her head and wear robes. Opinions at school are not welcome. Her cousin is captured and tortured after he is caught trying to leave the country. And yet, in the midst of so much change and challenge, Nioucha is still just a girl who wants to play with her friends, please her parents, listen to pop music, and, eventually, have a boyfriend. Will she ever get used to this new culture? Can she break the rules without consequences? Nioucha’s story sheds light on the timely conversation about religious, political, and social freedom, publishing in time for the 40th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Use of the word “whore”

 

About the Author

An international citizen from a young age, Nioucha Homayoonfar was born in Brussels to an Iranian father and French mother, spent her earliest years in Pittsburgh, and became a teenager in Tehran. Homayoonfar grew up caught between two worlds: a free and Western life lived indoors, and a repressive life lived outside the confines of the family home. The family finally left Iran when Nioucha was nearly 17 years old. In the U.S., she studied art history and Spanish at the University of Pittsburgh. She now lives in the Washington, D.C., area with her husband, author and journalist Stew Magnuson, and their two children.

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Lafayette! by Nathan Hale

Lafayette! : A Revolutionary Tale by Nathan Hale. October 16, 2018. Amulet Books, 128 p. ISBN: 9781419731488.  Int Lvl: 3-6; Rdg Lvl: 3.6.

Gilbert du Motier became the Marquis de Lafayette at a young age, but he was not satisfied with the comforts of French nobility—he wanted adventure!

A captain at eighteen and a major general by nineteen, he was eager to prove himself in battle. When he heard about the Revolution going on in America, he went overseas and fought alongside Alexander Hamilton and George Washington for America’s independence. Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales are graphic novels that tell the thrilling, shocking, gruesome, and TRUE stories of American history. Read them all—if you dare!

Part of Series: Hazardous Tales (Book #8)

 

About the Author

Nathan Hale is the New York Times best-selling author/illustrator of the Hazardous Tales series, as well as many picture books including Yellowbelly and Plum go to School, the Twelve Bots of Christmas and The Devil You Know.

He is the illustrator of the Eisner-nominated graphic novel Rapunzel’s Revenge and its sequel, Calamity Jack. He also illustrated Frankenstein: A Monstrous Parody, The Dinosaurs’ Night Before Christmas, Animal House and many others.

His website is www.spacestationnathan.blogspot.com.

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The Grand Escape by Neal Bascomb

The Grand Escape: The Greatest Prison Breakout of the 20th Century by Neal Bascomb. September 25, 2018. Arthur A. Levine Books, 256 p. ISBN: 9781338140347.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA; Lexile: 1070.

At the height of World War I, as Allied and German forces battled in the trenches and in the air, any captured soldiers and pilots were sent to a web of German prisons. The most dangerous POWs, the ones most talented at escape, were sent to the camp of Holzminden–better known as “Hellminden.” Protected by every barrier imaginable, its rules enforced with cruel precision, the prison was the pride of a ruthless commandant named Karl Niemeyer.

This is the story of a group of ingenious and defiant Allied pilots and soldiers who dared to escape from Holzminden, right under Niemeyer’s nose. Leading a team that tunneled underneath the prison and far beyond its walls, these breakout artists forged documents, smuggled in supplies, and bribed guards. Twice the tunnel was almost exposed, and the whole plan foiled. But in the end, a group of ten POWs escaped and made it out of enemy territory in the biggest breakout of WWI, which inspired their countrymen in the darkest hours of the war

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Harsh realities of war

 

Reviews

Booklist starred (October 1, 2018 (Vol. 115, No. 3))
Grades 7-10. It is estimated that during WWI there were some 192,848 British and Empire POWs held in Germany. Here Bascomb recounts some of their stories of prison camp life, escape, recapture, and escape again. The most talented and persistent of these escape artists were sent to the Holzminden camp under the command of the vile Karl Niemeyer. Spurred on, perhaps in part, by his depredations, a core group of POWs determined to escape by tunneling out of the camp. Ultimately their nine-foot-deep tunnel extended more than 60 feet and offered escape to 29 POWs. But this was only the first part of their quest for freedom. They still had to traverse 150 miles across enemy territory to Holland and freedom. Bascomb does an extraordinary job of bringing the principal escapees to life, especially the “father of the tunnel,” David Gray, and his two companions, Cecil Blain and Caspar Kennard. His account of the Herculean task of digging the tunnel is fascinating, viscerally evoking the claustrophobic act. He also invests his account with page-turning suspense and colorful detail. The narrative is enhanced by the inclusion of generous period photographs and contemporary maps and charts. Altogether, the book is a marvel of research and an example of narrative nonfiction at its finest. It’s a grand adventure.

Kirkus Reviews starred (July 1, 2018)
Allied prisoners of war stage a series of intrepid escapes from German captors in this young readers’ version of a true story from World War I. Established to hold captured Allied officers with histories of escape attempts, the camp at Holzminden, a “land-locked Alcatraz,” was 150 miles from the Dutch border and bristling with guards. Many of the inmates, though, were stimulated rather than discouraged by these obstacles and, from its foundation, made tries at freedom—most notably on the night of July 23, 1918, when 29 men crawled out through a narrow tunnel dug over the previous months. Only 10 eluded the ensuing manhunt, but the exploit made headlines in Great Britain and was, Bascomb (The Escape Artists, 2018, etc.) claims, “the greatest escape of the Great War.” Along with introducing a cast of colorful characters like RAF Lt. Harold Medlicott, “Britain’s answer to Harry Houdini,” who had already broken out of nine other camps, the author presents a picture of camp life as an oddly civilized affair in which the prisoners were so well-supplied from home that in the war’s immediate aftermath local residents came to them for food. The tales of the digging of the cramped tunnel and of the escape itself make suspenseful reading, enhanced by diagrams and photographs. A fine escapade related with proper drama and likely to be news even to well-read young historians. (maps, sources, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 12-15)

About the Author

Neal Bascomb is a national award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of a number of books, all non-fiction narratives, all focused on inspiring stories of adventure or achievement. His work has been translated into over 18 languages, featured in several documentaries, and optioned for major film and television projects.

Born in Colorado and raised in St. Louis, he is the product of public school and lots of time playing hockey. He earned a double degree in Economics and English Literature at Miami University (Ohio), lived in Europe for several years as a journalist (London, Dublin, and Paris), and worked as an editor at St. Martin’s Press (New York). In 2000, he started writing books full time.

An avid hiker, skier, and coffee drinker, he is happily settled in Seattle, Washington with his family.

His website is www.nealbascomb.com.

Teacher Resources

The Grand Escape Discussion Guide

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A Girl’s Guide to Missiles by Karen Piper

A Girl’s Guide to Missiles: Growing Up in America’s Secret Desert by Karen Piper. August 14, 2018. Viking, 336 p. ISBN: 9780399564543.  Int Lvl: AD; Rdg Lvl: AD.

A poignant, surreal, and fearlessly honest look at growing up on one of the most secretive weapons installations on earth, by a young woman who came of age with missiles

The China Lake missile range is located in a huge stretch of the Mojave Desert, about the size of the state of Delaware. It was created during the Second World War, and has always been shrouded in secrecy. But people who make missiles and other weapons are regular working people, with domestic routines and everyday dilemmas, and four of them were Karen Piper’s parents, her sister, and–when she needed summer jobs–herself. Her dad designed the Sidewinder, which was ultimately used catastrophically in Vietnam. When her mom got tired of being a stay-at-home mom, she went to work on the Tomahawk. Once, when a missile nose needed to be taken offsite for final testing, her mother loaded it into the trunk of the family car, and set off down a Los Angeles freeway. Traffic was heavy, and so she stopped off at the mall, leaving the missile in the parking lot.

Piper sketches in the belief systems–from Amway’s get-rich schemes to propaganda in The Rocketeer to evangelism, along with fears of a Lemurian takeover and Charles Manson–that governed their lives. Her memoir is also a search for the truth of the past and what really brought her parents to China Lake with two young daughters, a story that reaches back to her father’s World War II flights with contraband across Europe. Finally, it recounts the crossroads moment in a young woman’s life when she finally found a way out of a culture of secrets and fear, and out of the desert.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Strong language; Strong sexual themes

 

Reviews

Booklist (June 1, 2018 (Vol. 114, No. 19))
For designing and detonating missiles, China Lake was perfect—a desert wasteland within driving distance of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. But for Piper’s family, life at the military base was full of secrets and challenges, as she reveals in this fascinating memoir. The family moved there when Piper was a girl, so that her father, a WWII veteran, could work on the Sidewinder missile. Eventually, they all got into the missile business, her mother helping create circuit boards after taking a class for housewives and Piper herself working as a clerk in the summers. War surrounded them at China Lake, where streets were named after admirals, ships, and combat zones. But Piper was not allowed to know much of what went on there, even the work her own parents were doing, and years later she returned in search of answers. Here she offers an incredible view of a little-known community, from WWII all the way through 9/11, and examines how her family navigated life in a town built for war.

Kirkus Reviews starred (June 1, 2018)
A smart, self-aware memoir of life in a Cold War outpost.If you’re a government agency, there are three reasons to hide your activities from public view: because they really need to be kept secret, because the activities are fundamentally useless, or because “you want to rip the money bag open and get out a shovel, because there is no accountability whatsoever.” So an official told Piper (Literature and Geography/Univ. of Missouri; The Price of Thirst: Global Water Inequality and the Coming Chaos, 2014, etc.) in what amounts to a mantra for all of China Lake, a test facility in the hottest, most forbidding part of the Mojave Desert. The author writes of a childhood spent in a household headed by two project workers at China Lake. It was a world of missiles and launches and secrets in a time when the world seemed to be falling to bits—there was Vietnam, for one thing, and then the Manson family zipping around in the nearby desert in their dune buggies (“The Mansons even shopped at our 7-Eleven in Ridgecrest, where Christine and I bought our candy”). By Piper’s account, it was a preternaturally strange place in a strange time punctuated by Amway rallies and enlivened with unhealthy spats of interoffice politics. But interesting things happened there, too, including experiments to turn the weather into a weapon, to say nothing of the business of turning hardscrabble China Lake, a place of prewar brothels and hermits, into a place suitable for straight-arrow military personnel, civilian contractors, and their families. Piper’s account moves among the personal and the universal, with fine small coming-of-age moments. The narrative threatens to unravel a little when, following her father’s death, Piper acts on clues he left behind to follow his footsteps in other arenas of the Cold War, but she pulls everything into an effective—and affecting—whole meant to “ensure that history was not erased.” A little-known corner of the Atomic Age comes into focus through Piper’s skilled storytelling.

About the Author

Karen Piper is the award-winning author of The Price of Thirst, Left in the Dust, and Cartographic Fictions. She has received the Sierra Nature Writing Award and the Next Generation Indie Book Award and fellowships from the Huntington, Carnegie Mellon, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is currently a professor of literature and geography at the University of Missouri.

Her website is www.karenpiper.com.

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Apollo 8 by Martin W. Sandler

Apollo 8: The Mission That Changed Everything by Martin W. Sandler. September 19, 2018. Candlewick, 176 p. ISBN: 9780763694890.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA.

A nation in need of hope, the most powerful rocket ever launched, and the first three men to break the bounds of Earth: Apollo 8 was headed to the moon.

In 1957, when the USSR launched Sputnik I, the first man-made satellite to orbit Earth, America’s rival in the Cold War claimed victory on a new frontier. The Space Race had begun, and the United States was losing. Closer to home, a decade of turbulence would soon have Americans reeling, with the year 1968 alone seeing the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy as well as many violent clashes between police and protesters. Americans desperately needed something good to believe in, and NASA’s mission to orbit Earth in Apollo 8 and test a lunar landing module was being planned for the end of the year. But with four months to go and the module behind schedule, the CIA discovered that the USSR was preparing to send its own mission around the moon — another crucial victory in the Space Race — and it was clearly time for a change of plan. In a volume full of astonishing full-color photographs, including the iconic Earthrise photo, Martin W. Sandler unfolds an incredible chapter in U.S. history: Apollo 8 wouldn’t just orbit Earth, it would take American astronauts to see the dark side of the moon.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: None

 

Reviews

Booklist (September 15, 2018 (Vol. 115, No. 2))
Grades 6-10. With a computer less powerful than today’s handheld calculators, Apollo 8 was the first manned spacecraft to leave Earth’s orbit and circle the moon. Sandler captures Apollo 8’s significance on many levels with astonishing details and storytelling. Beginning with an overview of the Cold War and subsequent space race, he explains how Apollo 8’s original mission (to test a lunar lander capsule) was quickly changed to orbiting the moon, when the CIA learned that the Soviets were developing their own moon rocket. After introducing the three-man crew of Apollo 8 and the Saturn V rocket that would launch them, Sandler focuses on their flight, “the riskiest mission yet,” emphasizing that even the tiniest error could have trapped the astronauts in space forever. As the crew of Apollo 8 broadcast live from space on Christmas Eve 1968, they not only accomplished scientific and historical firsts but united the U.S. in wonder as a turbulent year came to an end. Stunning photographs, including the now iconic Earthrise, bring this awe to a new generation.

Kirkus Reviews (August 15, 2018)
In one of the most turbulent years in modern American history, the Apollo 8 mission to the moon served as a desperately needed morale boost for Americans. Sandler explains the historical significance of the mission in the broader context of the Cold War space race and the tumultuous events occurring in the United States. In 1968, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, riots in major cities across America, and growing protests against the Vietnam War left Americans needing something good to believe in. NASA’s mission to orbit the Earth in Apollo 8 and test a lunar landing module was scheduled for the end of the year, but this changed when the CIA discovered the Soviet Union planned to send its own mission around the moon. That would be another crucial victory for the USSR in the space race that began in 1957. Sandler describes how NASA decided Apollo 8 would be the first manned trip around the moon and offers a detailed chronicle of the difficult mission and the crew who successfully completed it. The book is abundantly illustrated with archival photographs, and a highlight of this informative, engaging text is Sandler’s discussion of the iconic Earthrise photograph and how it “became a symbol of the Earth’s fragility, a reminder of just how small and insignificant the Earth’s place in the universe truly is.” In its 50th-anniversary year, a compelling account of the historical significance of a lesser-known space mission. (photos, source notes, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

About the Author

Martin W. Sandler has written more than seventy books for children and adults and has written and produced seven television series. He has twice been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and has won multiple Emmy Awards. He lives in Massachusetts.

 

Teacher Resources

Mission Highlights:

Christmas Message:

 

Exploring the Moon Educators Guide

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1968 edited by Marc Aronson and Susan Campbell Bartoletti

1968: Today’s Authors Explore a Year of Rebellion, Revolution, and Change edited by Marc Aronson and Susan Campbell Bartoletti. September 11, 2018. Candlewick Press, 208 p. ISBN: 9780763689933.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA; Lexile: 1100.

Welcome to 1968 — a revolution in a book. Essays, memoirs, and more by fourteen award-winning authors offer unique perspectives on one of the world’s most tumultuous years.

Nineteen sixty-eight was a pivotal year that grew more intense with each day. As thousands of Vietnamese and Americans were killed in war, students across four continents took over colleges and city streets. Assassins murdered Dr. King and Robert F. Kennedy. Demonstrators turned out in Prague and Chicago, and in Mexico City, young people and Olympic athletes protested. In those intense months, generations battled and the world wobbled on the edge of some vast change that was exhilarating one day and terrifying the next. To capture that extraordinary year, editors Marc Aronson and Susan Campbell Bartoletti created an anthology that showcases many genres of nonfiction. Some contributors use a broad canvas, others take a close look at a moment, and matched essays examine the same experience from different points of view. As we face our own moments of crisis and division, 1968 reminds us that we’ve clashed before and found a way forward — and that looking back can help map a way ahead.

With contributions by: 
Jennifer Anthony
Marc Aronson
Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Loree Griffin Burns
Paul Fleischman
Omar Figueras
Laban Carrick Hill
Mark Kurlansky
Lenore Look
David Lubar
Kate MacMillan
Kekla Magoon
Jim Murphy
Elizabeth Partridge

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Discrimination, Harsh realities of war, Marijuana, Racism, Strong language, Violence

 

Reviews

Booklist (September 1, 2018 (Vol. 115, No. 1))
Grades 7-10. Authors explore the tumultuous global events of 1968 in this anthology. Covering protests, assassinations, racism, scientific discoveries, world politics, and even the state of humor, these contributions, written in a range of styles, offer a wide variety of perspectives on the year. Some essays, such as personal recollections of being a teenager in 1968, are less successful than the entries informed by in-depth research, but taken together, they present a nuanced picture. For instance, Kate MacMillan’s account of being a student protester in Paris in 1968 contrasts sharply with Lenore Look’s incisive essay about the impact of the Cultural Revolution on China’s poor, rural population. Even though all the essayists have essentially the same perspective—the Vietnam War was a mistake; civil rights protesters were doing immense good—the differences in their backgrounds make for a vivid, dynamic account of the complicated, intersecting politics behind brief accounts in history books. With an approach promoting critical thinking, this collection will likely help illuminate a deeply important year in world history and encourage fresh thinking about our current contentious moment.

Kirkus Reviews starred (August 15, 2018)
Fourteen authors, including Omar Figueras, Lenore Look, and editors Aronson and Bartoletti, write about the tumultuous events of 1968. On the 50th anniversary of the year that saw the continuation of the war in Vietnam, the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, and riots in Paris, Prague, and Chicago, some writers recollect their childhoods while others tackle events that occurred before they were born. Biracial (black/white) author Kekla Magoon writes of King’s and Kennedy’s deaths from the perspective of the black community, describing the Black Panthers’ community service programs and discussing why the Students for a Democratic Society, an anti-war protest organization run by privileged white college students, did not represent black interests. Laban Carrick Hill, who grew up in an abusive white family in Memphis, remembers how even at age 7 his uncle’s racist response the day after King’s assassination made him start to question his family’s credibility since he knew firsthand what real violence was. Other chapters tell of African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ protest at the Mexico City Olympics and their support from white Australian Peter Norman; the Chinese Cultural Revolution; the beginning of the end of Communism; and the origins of the computer age. The book’s strength lies in the way different voices and different angles come together into an integrated whole. Fascinating and accomplished. (author’s notes, source notes, bibliography, index)(Nonfiction. 12-18)

About the Authors

Marc Aronson has won many awards for his books for young readers and has a doctorate in American history. His lectures cover educational topics such as mysteries and controversies in American history, teenagers and their reading, the literary passions of boys, and always leave audiences asking for more.

His website is www.marcaronson.com.

 

Susan Campbell Bartoletti is an American writer of children’s literature. She was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, but eventually the family ended up in a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania. Susan started as an English teacher and inspired many students before deciding to pursue writing in earnest. She sold her first short story in 1989. Three years later in 1992 she published her first picture book, Silver at Night. She held a rigid routine, awaking early in the morning in order to write before she left to teach. In 1997 she turned to writing full time. Susan has since returned to inspiring future writers. She teaches writing classes at a number of MA and MFA programs, among them Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky, and Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.

Her website is www.scbartoletti.com/

Around the Web

1968 on Amazon

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1968 on Goodreads

1968 Publisher Page

Talking to My Daughter About the Economy by Yanis Varoufakis

Talking to My Daughter About the Economy by Yanis Varoufakis. May 8, 2018. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 224 p. ISBN: 9780374272364.  Int Lvl: AD; Rdg Lvl: AD.

In Talking to My Daughter About the Economy, activist Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s former finance minister and the author of the international bestseller Adults in the Room, pens a series of letters to his young daughter, educating her about the business, politics, and corruption of world economics.

Yanis Varoufakis has appeared before heads of nations, assemblies of experts, and countless students around the world. Now, he faces his most important―and difficult―audience yet. Using clear language and vivid examples, Varoufakis offers a series of letters to his young daughter about the economy: how it operates, where it came from, how it benefits some while impoverishing others. Taking bankers and politicians to task, he explains the historical origins of inequality among and within nations, questions the pervasive notion that everything has its price, and shows why economic instability is a chronic risk. Finally, he discusses the inability of market-driven policies to address the rapidly declining health of the planet his daughter’s generation stands to inherit.

Throughout, Varoufakis wears his expertise lightly. He writes as a parent whose aim is to instruct his daughter on the fundamental questions of our age―and through that knowledge, to equip her against the failures and obfuscations of our current system and point the way toward a more democratic alternative.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: None

 

Author Talk

About the Author

Yanis Varoufakis is a former finance minister of Greece and a cofounder of an international grassroots movement, DiEM25, that is campaigning for the revival of democracy in Europe. He is the author of the international bestseller Adults in the RoomAnd the Weak Suffer What They Must?, and The Global Minotaur. After teaching for many years in the United States, Great Britain, and Australia, he is currently a professor of economics at the University of Athens.

His website is www.yanisvaroufakis.eu.

Around the Web

Talking to My Daughter About the Economy on Amazon

Talking to My Daughter About the Economy on Goodreads

Talking to My Daughter About the Economy Publisher Page

The World Cup by Matt Doeden

The Negro Leagues: Celebrating Baseball’s Unsung Heroes by Matt Doeden. January 1, 2016. Millbrook Press, 64 p. ISBN: 9781512427530.  Int Lvl: 5-8; Rdg Lvl: 7.0; Lexile: 1030.

After the Civil War (1861-1865), the earliest seeds of professional baseball began to sprout. While racism was rampant, some early teams featured black and white players competing side by side. But by 1900, segregation forced African Americans to form their own teams. Black players traveled around the country on barnstorming tours, taking on all challengers. In 1920, baseball’s Negro leagues started, and for more than three decades, they offered fans a thrilling alternative to Major League Baseball. Explore the riveting history of the Negro leagues, including some of baseball’s greatest (and most unheralded) players, biggest games, and wildest moments.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: None

 

Reviews

Booklist (November 1, 2016 (Vol. 113, No. 5))
Grades 5-8. After WWI, the competitive Negro leagues emerged, along with some of the greatest and most entertaining players in baseball history. This informative volume offers a thoughtful introduction to the players, teams, and leagues, which were formed in response to the segregation of professional baseball in the U.S. during the late 1800s. From the Spectacular Sports series, which includes Doeden’s The World Series (2014) and The College Football Championship (2015), the book has a large, square format that offers ample space for text and sidebars as well as archival photos of teams, players, and managers. Presenting a concise and very readable history of the Negro leagues, Doeden’s account is particularly strong in placing events within the broader social context of racial intolerance, segregation, and gradual integration, and his chapter on legendary players is not to be missed. The many well-chosen quotes are sourced in the back matter, which also includes a short list of books for further reading. This well-researched book will be a worthwhile addition to any baseball collection.

Kirkus Reviews (November 1, 2016)
A broad survey of African-Americans in baseball, from the end of the Civil War to the era of Jackie Robinson and the last of the barnstormers.Though far from “unsung” considering Kadir Nelson’s soaring We Are the Ship (2008) and the plethora of both general histories and individual biographies available, black players from Robinson, Satchel Paige, and Josh Gibson to less-prominent ground breakers such as Moses Fleetwood Walker, Rube Foster, and Toni Stone certainly merit another tip of the cap. Unlike Nelson, Doeden doesn’t pull readers out onto the field of dreams. Instead, mixing in notable games and spotlight player profiles, plus plenty of team and individual photos, Doeden offers a fluent if standard-issue chronicle of the rises and falls of significant Negro Leagues and independent teams in the wake of professional baseball’s exclusion of African-Americans. (Other minorities get no more than a few references and an intriguing group portrait of a diverse “All Nations” team from around 1915.) Also, in a closing “Legacy” chapter, he brings his account up to the present by analyzing, albeit in a superficial way, the modern decline in the percentage of African-Americans in the ranks of the modern major leagues. It’s conventional fare, but it’s systematic and at least a little broader in scope than older titles. (notes, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

About the Author

Matt Doeden was born in southern Minnesota and lived parts of his childhood in Golden Valley, Minnesota, and Madison, Minnesota. He studied journalism at Mankato State University, where he worked at the college newspaper for three years. In his senior year, he served as the paper’s Sports Editor, which put him in charge of the entire sports section, the sports writers, and the photographers. He covered mostly college sports, but also the Minnesota Vikings, who held training camp at MSU.

Teacher Resources

Lesson plans from the Negro Leagues Baseball eMuseum

Around the Web

The Negro Leagues: Celebrating Baseball’s Unsung Heroes on Amazon

The Negro Leagues: Celebrating Baseball’s Unsung Heroes on JLG

The Negro Leagues: Celebrating Baseball’s Unsung Heroes on Goodreads

 

 

Thrilling Thieves by Brianna DuMont

Thrilling Thieves: Liars, Cheats, Double-Crossers Who Changed History by Brianna DuMont. October 3, 2017. Sky Pony Press, 192 p. ISBN: 9781510701694.  Int Lvl: 3-6; Rdg Lvl: 6.0.

Caution: don’t look for the good guys in here.

What do Mother Theresa, Honest Abe, and Mahatma Gandhi have in common? They’re all too good for this book, that’s what.

Sure, you’ll find some familiar faces like Queen Elizabeth I and Thomas Edison in here, but you’ll learn that behind their angelic smiles were cunning con artists who stole their way to gold and greatness.

Follow the trail of twelve troublemakers to learn what really made the Mona Lisa the most iconic painting in the world, meet the most powerful pirate from history (it’s probably not who you’re expecting), and watch empires rise and fall with the theft of a simple tea plant. Turns out our world owes a lot to those who dabble on the dark side.

If you’re not scared of crooks and criminals, take a peek at this new side of history . . .

Potentially Sensitive Areas: War, Violence, Drugs, Racism, Irreverent humor

 

Reviews

Booklist (July 2018 (Vol. 114, No. 21))
Grades 4-8. Just as she did in Fantastic Fugitives (2016), DuMont offers another exciting look at criminals—this time, thieves—throughout history. Beginning with the Venetians, she continues chronologically with 11 individuals, including Chinese pirate Madame Cheng, Thomas Edison, and spy Klaus Fuchs. In a conversational style, emphasized by over-the-top humor, each profile relates the time period, the thief’s conquest, and the thievery’s impact on history. For instance, when Vincenzo Peruggia stole the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911, the painting was only a “B-list celebrity.” Its incredible return years later made it the star it is today—and, of course, influenced art museum security around the world. (Its first thief, Napoleon, is also featured in the book.) The term thief is used loosely with other individuals, such as Englishman Robert Fortune, who “stole” the tea trade from China in the 1800s and gave it to British-controlled India. And helping to steal the show in this rousing read are funny cartoons, period photos, reproductions, and interesting sidebars. Even reluctant nonfiction readers will become history buffs.

Kirkus Reviews (June 1, 2018)
Thieves of the highest magnitude—think Napoleon—get a good tattling from DuMont in a continuation of her Changed History series. These are thieves who really did change history by moving the stolen items around the globe, sometimes in a small span, around Paris, for example, and sometimes from one continent to another. DuMont starts with the Venetians, who not only stole St. Mark’s body, but made alarming gains during the Crusades. She moves on to Francisco Pizarro and his conveyor belt of gold and silver from the Incan Empire to Spain. It took Francis Drake six days to empty one of King Philip’s Spanish treasure ships of its gold and silver. That is the same Drake to whom Queen Elizabeth gave “more ships to cram more Africans aboard to sell in the West Indies.” DuMont can come off as glib, but for the most part she is just throwing sauce in the face of egregious greed. There is also one heroic con man: Robert Smalls, an African-American pilot who ran the Confederate blockade of Charleston to take freedom for himself and a good number of slaves. DuMont also names secondary characters, which is particularly satisfying, as in introducing Vivant Denon, Napoleon’s choice to direct his growing art hoard and inventor of the modern museum. A sassy, historically sound visit with some of the more (mostly) rudely audacious characters who have taken what wasn’t theirs. (Nonfiction. 11-16)

About the Author

Brianna DuMont is the award-winning author of numerous nonfiction books for middle grade readers and enjoys exposing the forgotten bits in history. She lives in Chicago, Illinois with her husband, two kids, and two cats.

Her website is www.briannadumont.com

Around the Web

Thrilling Thieves on Amazon

Thrilling Thieves on Goodreads

Thrilling Thieves Publisher Page