Posted in Book Review

REVIEW: The Girl with a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague

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Title: The Girl with a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague

Author: Julia Finley Mosca

Illustrator: Daniel Rieley

Published: September 4, 2018

Theme: Perseverance, Sexism, and Racism

Character Origin: Human

Book Type: Picture Book | Pages: 40

Ages: 5-10 | Book Level: — | Lexile Measure: GN460L

Synopsis: After touring a German submarine in the early 1940s, young Raye set her sights on becoming an engineer. Little did she know sexism and racial inequality would challenge that dream every step of the way, even keeping her greatest career accomplishment a secret for decades. Through it all, the gifted mathematician persisted―finally gaining her well-deserved title in history: a pioneer who changed the course of ship design forever.

The Girl With a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague is the third book in a riveting educational series about the inspiring lives of amazing scientists. In addition to the illustrated rhyming tale, you’ll find a complete biography, fun facts, a colorful timeline of events, and even a note from Montague herself!

My thoughts…

I am a huge fan of learning about the impact of women in history and this gem of a book did not disappoint. It was both informative and inspiring. I loved the flow and content of the text. This book deals with issues ranging from sexism to racism. In spite of the many obstacles that Raye faced, she continued to strategically outmaneuver her white male counterparts.

Rieley’s illustrations were beautifully executed and complemented the text quite well. The detailed timeline and biography proficiently corroborate the narration. There is just so much to absolutely LOVE about this book. Raye Montague’s contributions to the Navy calls attention to her profound and impactful work. Thank you, Julie Mosca, for shining a light on an outstanding black woman who excelled where others thought she’d fail and is no longer a hidden figure.

My rating…

Posted in Book Review

REVIEW: Hammering for Freedom by Rita Lorraine Hubbard


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Title: Hammering for Freedom

Author: Rita Lorraine Hubbard

Illustrator: John Holyfield

Published: September 4, 2018

Theme: Loyalty and Perseverance

Character Origin: Human

Book Type: Picture Book | Pages: 32

Ages: 7-10 | Book Level: 4.6 | Lexile Measure: 870L

Synopsis: The inspirational story of William Lewis. Born into slavery in Tennessee, William Lewis learned the blacksmith trade as soon as he was old enough to grip a hammer. He proved to be an exceptional blacksmith and earned so much money fixing old tools and creating new ones that he was allowed to keep a little money for himself. With just a few coins in his pocket, Bill set a daring plan in motion: he was determined to free his family.

Winner of Lee & Low s New Voices Award and a Junior Library Guild selection, Hammering for Freedom tells the true story of one man’s skill, hard work, and resolve to keep his family together.

My thoughts…

This was truly a heart-wrenching autobiographical story of determination, will, and long term planning. I absolutely loved reading Bill’s story. His ironclad will drove his hammer into every horseshoe, nail, and ax with commanding purpose. It is disheartening that Bill’s story and others like his have been omitted from the telling of African American history. There is strength, dignity, and perseverance in every word of this text and Hubbard captures it all effortlessly.

Holyfield’s illustrations were melancholy but reflective of the time period and subject matter. With his wit and determination, Bill reshaped his life and the lives of his family. To me that is priceless and reveals the essence of his character. His story is not a sinular one, there are many stories lost through the ages that prove that slaves had the ability, knowledge, and will to be much more than servants. We have to do better–but this is a start. I’m definitely adding this to my top 10 list. William “Bill” Lewis is a name I won’t soon forget and neither should you.

My rating…