Thursday, August 24, 2017

Berne, Emma Carlson. Escaping Nazis on the Kindertransport.

Berne, Emma Carlson.  Escaping Nazis on the Kindertransport.  Capstone Publishers   2017  112p  $29.99. ISBN 978-1-5157-4545-7  ms  Nonfiction  VG-BN

This insightful book presents primary-source information about the Holocaust.  Of the six million Jews killed by the Nazis, more than 1.5 million were children. The Kindertransport succeeded in rescuing nearly ten thousand children from the clutches of the Nazis.  It began after Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, in November 1938, and lasted until the formal start of the war.  The idea was proposed by a delegation of British Jewish leaders and members of the Society of Friends who requested their government offer sanctuary to Jewish children under the age of seventeen.  Well-researched and well written, this book provides an excellent examination of one of mankind's darkest periods.  It begins with a brief explanation of the rise of Hitler and his plans to annihilate the Jewish people, and discusses the Kindertransport through the first-person accounts of seven children who escaped.  The difficulties and struggles these children had in leaving their families and going to a strange place are not minimized but explained in context.  The author continues with a description of their trips by train and boat, their lives in England during and after the war and, while a few were amazingly lucky to reunite with their parents, their ultimate discovery that most of their families had perished in the concentration camps.  Berne offers the information in a well balanced, succinct, and lucid manner.  The writing is clear and concise, presenting the topic through both primary sources and narrative accounts.  The text is enhanced by the inclusion of black-and-white photographs and documents, and maps.  The book ends with a glossary, a timeline, a bibliography of books and Internet addresses, source notes, and an index.

Summary: This insightful book presents primary source information about the Holocaust.  Of the six million Jews killed by the Nazis, more than 1.5 million were children. The Kindertransport succeeded in rescuing nearly ten thousand children from the clutches of the Nazis.                     


Kindertransport, Holocaust-Jewish                                 -- Susan Ogintz

Bowen, Carl, Michael Dahl, & Louise Simonson. Gods and Thunder: A Graphic Novel of Old Norse Myths

Bowen, Carl, Michael Dahl, & Louise Simonson.  Gods and Thunder: A Graphic Novel of Old Norse Myths   Capstone Publishers      2017  208p  $14.95  ISBN 978-1-62370-848-1      elem/ms  Graphic novel  VG

This fascinating book presents a retelling of the original Viking tales of Asgard, Thor, Loki, Odin, and Baldur in a graphic-novel format. The Old Norse myths come to life through the text and graphics. The legends are exciting and written in present-day language, ensuring full comprehension and engagement by the reader.

In addition to the great writing and retelling is the visual appeal of the book. Full-color, detailed graphics enhance the text and add suspense and excitement. Overall, illustrators use darker shading that reinforces the darker side of the myths. The facial expressions of the characters and the action pictures bring the stories to life.
                 
Summary: This is a retelling of the original Viking tales of Asgard, Thor, Loki, Odin, and Baldur in graphic-novel format.


Norse Mythology                                                   --Virginia McGarvey

Bowen, Carl, Michael Dahl, & Louise Simonson.  Gods and Thunder: A Graphic Novel of Old Norse Myths.  Capstone Publishers  2017  208p  $14.95  ISBN 978-1-62370-848-1      all ages    Graphic novel  VG-BN   

This graphic-novel retelling of the stories of Thor, Loki, Odin, and Baldur will engage fans and reluctant readers alike. The illustrations are vibrantly drawn and the dynamic penstrokes portray action to keep moving the story forward. It is a good starting point to introduce young readers to classic literature.  It includes a glossary of Norse mythology.            

Summary: Readers will experience legends of mighty Thor, cunning Loki, all-seeing Odin, beloved Baldur, and many others as their deeds spring to life in this gripping, full-color graphic novel.


Norse Mythology                                                   -- Linda McNeil

Braun, Eric. Escape From Alcatraz.

Braun, Eric.  Escape From Alcatraz.  Capstone Publishers    2017  112p  $29.99  ISBN 978-1-5157-4551-8        ms/jr  nonfiction  VG         

When Frank Morris, along with John and Clarence Anglin, escaped from Alcatraz in 1962, the story riveted the nation. How did three men escape from Alcatraz, the island prison that claimed to be inescapable?  Did the fugitives survive their attempt to flee authority? Or did they die crossing the San Francisco Bay? The three were never caught, and the case remains open to this day.

Young readers may not be familiar with this prison break and will definitely be intrigued by the unsolved mystery.  Author Eric Braun provides readers with claims by relatives that the escaped prisoners made it to Brazil.  He reviews theories about what happened to the men and shares facts gathered from people who dealt with the men and the escape first-hand.  The text will spark lively debate and would make a fine companion volume to the novel Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko, and volumes from the Tales from Alcatraz series.            

Summary: How did three men escape from Alcatraz, the island prison that claimed to be inescapable?  Did they survive their attempt to flee authority? Or did they die crossing the San Francisco Bay?   

Alcatraz Prison, Prison Escapes                                   --Hilary Welliver

     
Braun, Eric.  Escape From Alcatraz.  Capstone Publishers    2017  112p  $29.99  ISBN 978-1-5157-4551-8  ms  nonfiction  VG-BN   

Frank Morris, John Anglin, and Clarence Anglin escaped from Alcatraz prison in 1962 and have never been caught. This book represents a review of the confirmed facts as well as possible outcomes for these three men after they broke out of prison.      Life in prison is never easy, and it was many times worse at Alcatraz, according to the inmates there who spoke of it. Four men were determined to break out of Alcatraz. They developed a precise plan, had the patience to follow through on all of its steps, and finally put the plan into action. All but one escaped. To this day, no one knows what happened to the three who escaped. The author writes in some detail about the prisoners and their plan, and the subsequent search for them by state and federal officials. The tone of the book is established by its dark cover and page frames, and this tone continues throughout the book. All of the photos are done in shades of black, white and sepia, further enhancing the mood of secrecy that hovered over the  planning and implementation of the jailbreak. The text is followed by a bibliography that includes print and web sources, a gallery of photographs of Alcatraz, and lists of the key locations in Alcatraz and the key players in the escape. The book concludes with a glossary, critical-thinking questions based on the Common Core, a list of further resources in both print and web formats, and an index. Middle-school students will love this book, as will their teachers. This librarian certainly did, although she wonders: if the prisoners had put this much effort into legitimate life pursuits, they would not have had to escape from prison at all.              

Summary: Frank Morris, John Anglin, and Clarence Anglin escaped from Alcatraz prison in 1962 and have never been caught. This book represents a review of the confirmed facts as well as possible outcomes for these three men after they broke out of prison.


Alcatraz Island-History                                           --Lynn Fisher

Burgan, Michael. Ali’s Knockdown Punch: How A Photographer Captured a Political Protest.

Burgan, Michael.  Ali’s Knockdown Punch: How A Photographer Captured a Political Protest. Capstone Publishers  2017     64p. $34.65  ISBN 978-0-7565-5527-6 ms/hs  nonfiction series: Captured Sports History (Capstone)  Nonfiction  E-BN

This biography of Muhammad Ali features a strong emphasis on photojournalism and is one of the few books for youth that put the life of Muhammad Ali in the context of the larger Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.  The importance of his beliefs, his rise to boxing fame, and iconic images of his victories are concisely presented in a way that is appropriate for readers of all ages. The book also provides details on the photojournalists who documented his life and how they came to be in a position to do so.     

The Capstone series Captured Sports History includes eight titles that discuss unique moments in sports, with biographical information on athletes and photojournalists in the context of the times. Excellent photos and concise writing will appeal to readers of all ages. Grades 4+. 

Summary: This is a biography of Muhammad Ali placed in the context of the 1960s civil rights movement. The photojournalist who captured the images of his boxing career is featured as well. Grades 4-12.     


Muhammad Ali, Boxing, Photojournalism                             --Lois McNicol