The humorous story of Claudia’s plan to deliver her baby at home (using an amateur-built birthing machine!) is bookended by those of a midwife and first-time mother in 1790 and an online bulletin board for December moms.
Includes an interview with the author and a gynecologist.
The Woman Who Split the Atom: the Life of Lise Meitner (free Sora download 6/29-7/5/23) by Marissa Moss | Read by Sandy Rustin Published by Recorded Books
It was Lise Meitner’s groundbreaking research into the behavior of atoms in the 1930s that led to understanding nuclear fission and its later use in atomic weapons, much to her sorrow.
As a Jewish woman in pre-World War II Germany, brilliant Meitner was given substandard lab facilities, saw her work attributed solely to men, was forced into exile by the Nazi regime, and never received the Nobel Prize honors awarded to her male co-researchers.
On BooksYALove here, you’ll find my recommendation of Hidden Powers: Lise Meitner’s Call to Science, by Jeannine Atkins – a biography of Meitner in verse.
The School That Escaped the Nazis: The True Story of the Schoolteacher Who Defied Hitler (free Sora download 5/12-17/23) by Deborah Cadbury | Read by Julie Teal Published by Hachette Audio
In the early 1930s, principal Anna Essinger was dismayed by the Nazis’ increasing power and decided to move her entire school and its students from Germany to England. Despite challenges and peril, “Tante Anna” saved many children who otherwise would have been imprisoned or worse.
Growing up poor in New York City, Stanley Lieber escaped by reading adventure stories and dreamed of writing his own.
He began working at age 16 as an errand boy for Timely Comics magazine and got to write a Captain America story. But he signed it as Stan Lee, saving his real name for the day he would be a “real” writer.
When veteran writers quit Timely, Stan moved up to full-time writer and editor – as a teenager!
For two decades, he wrote story after story of predictable, perfect heroes as the company grew and became Marvel Comics. So boring.
His wife suggested that he write the superhero story that he’d want to read. So Stan teamed up with artist Jack Kirby, and they created the flawed yet Fantastic Four – a huge hit with comics readers!
What next? Reflecting on his own childhood, Stan invented a lonely, geeky, science-loving hero – the Amazing Spider-Man, drawn by Steve Ditko – an even bigger hit with readers!
Finally, the Marvel Comics’ bosses decided that Stan should make a series of unconventional superheroes, and the Marvel Comics Universe was born.
Continuing with Stan’s move to Hollywood as his superheroes became movie stars, this lively picturebook includes great background information. You can find free activity sheets here, courtesy of the publisher.
Who’s your favorite Marvel superhero? **kmm
Book info: With Great Power: The Marvelous Stan Lee: An Unauthorized Biography / Annie Hunter Erickson; illustrated by Lee Gatlin. Page Street Kids, 2021. [author interview] [artist site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
A noteworthy collection of YA authors share their experiences of their books being challenged for ‘controversial issues’ – Matt de la Peña, Robie H. Harris, Susan Kuklin, David Levithan, Meg Medina, Lesléa Newman, Katherine Paterson, Dav Pilkey, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, Sonya Sones, R. L. Stine, and Angie Thomas.
I recommended the 2021 print book earlier on BooksYALove.com here
A mechanical gecko, a garden atop a traveling snail’s shell, an armored jet-propelled ancient fish…
Imaginary beings are at the heart of Shaun Tan’s most beloved books: The Arrival, Tales from Outer Suburbia, The Lost Thing (also made into an award-winning short film – trailer here).
Collected in this large and beautiful book are 25 years of the Australian artist’s paintings and drawings from those books, as well as many standalone works.
“The first thing I remember drawing was a creature… and not much has changed since.” (page 7)
Tan writes intriguing commentary about influences on his style and subject matter – old monster movies, Aboriginal stories, birds in his family’s neighborhood – and how his imagination reinterpreted them as he told stories through images.
Enjoy these large-scale pictures of mechanico-animal beings, humans living alongside unusual beasties, and transformational situations, then flip to the back and read Tan’s notes about how each creature was made.
Includes this set of creature Emoticons, 2016, pencil on paper, digitally composited, originally published in The Stick and Der Spiegel, as shown on Tan’s website.
What creature from your own imagination would you like to meet? **kmm
Book info: Creature: Paintings, Drawings, and Reflections / Shaun Tan. Levine Querido, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher; Emoticons illustration from https://www.shauntan.net/creature-book-1.
Close your eyes and imagine how Picasso would paint a donut. I bet you see strong colors and lots of angles in his famous Cubist abstract style.
How would other noted artists portray that donut?
This delicious book answers that curious question with donuts in the style of 16 well-known artists from Da Vinci to Van Gogh, Seurat to Matisse, Dali to Basquiat.
Each two-page spread features information on the artist’s life and works, what’s distinctive about their style, and a huge donut in that style.
Artist Chloe Tyler who so brilliantly created all these donuts also includes an extensive glossary, as well as tips & tricks for tasty technique to help you echo a famous artist’s style on your next project.
Which artist would you like to share a real donut with? **kmm
Book info: Cultured Donuts: Take a Bite Out of Art History / Chloe Tyler. Flowerpot Press, 2022. [author/artist interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Resisting South Africa’s colonial government, everyday working-class people stood up for basic rights, often risking their lives during the first half of the 20th century.
Six key court cases involving these “rebels and revolutionaries” set the stage for South Africa’s notorious apartheid policy:
“Until the Ship Sails” – For decades, Asian men brought to work in Transvaal faced tight restrictions of “the Black Act” – in 1908, Gandhi urged them to resist non-violently. How long would the hundreds arrested be detained aboard old ships?
“In the Shadow of a High Stone Wall” – Striking against unjust working conditions in 1911 put Irish emigrants in a wretched prison. Without bail money, they were denied access to their lawyers. Would their 1912 lawsuit for unfair treatment keep other poor South Africans from the same fate?
“Come Gallows Grim” – Companies and gold mines began hiring low-paid Black workers after World War I, leading to riots by displaced white workers who saw the government as allied with mine owners. Death and destruction during martial law in 1922, many captured, including Taffy Long. Two trials, calls for clemency, fears of more riots. When would the shadow of the hangman’s noose leave South Africa?
“The Widow of Marsbastad” – In a 1956 township without running water, they tell stories about 1925 when an old law was suddenly applied to Black women, requiring them to carry a Night Pass while delivering laundry to white customers or be arrested on the spot! Brave women volunteered go out at night to challenge this new restriction. Would the outcome of their cases affect Pass Laws proposed later under apartheid?
“A House Divided” – A land-use dispute in the 1920s pits two factions of the Bafokeng people against one another – the hereditary chief with inconsistent decisions and his councillors who see their tribe’s bankruptcy ahead. Both sides appeal to different departments of the colonial South African government. Will unwritten tribal laws prevail and send dissenters into exile from their homelands?
“Here I Cross to the Other Side” – Tuma leaves Besotho to work in the gold mines during World War II, toiling far underground, with an angry white bossman, too little food, not enough safety precautions. Enduring the same brutal conditions for 20 years led to his father’s early death during Tuma’s first contract time. Why are white mineworkers protected by a union, while Black workers are paid less and forbidden to talk about organizing? Strike!
This stunning graphic novel combines deep research with the visual works of South African artists Liz Clarke, Dada Khanyisa, Mark Modimola, Saaid Rahbeeni, The Trantraal Brothers, and Tumi Mamabola. Each chapter is followed by intriguing historical documents from legal archives and photos of key participants in each case.
Where do you resist injustice today? **kmm
Book info: All Rise: Resistance and Rebellion in South Africa 1910-1948 – a Graphic History / Richard Conyngham; illustrated by Liz Clarke, Dada Khanyisa, Mark Modimola, Saaid Rahbeeni, The Trantraal Brothers, Tumi Mamabola. Published by Catalyst Press, 2021. [author interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
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