Children's books are frequently used to proselytize. Luckily, resources like these help sort out the good from the dogmatic, the mediocre, and the bad. As former Caldecott and Newbery Award committee member Odean reminds us in her introduction to Great Books for Boys, boys have different challenges growing up than girls do. In this companion to her Great Books for Girls (LJ 1/97), she summarizes over 600 books, from picture books to novels, arranging them by reader age from two to 14 and providing short, descriptive synopses. She chooses stories with characters of both sexes that reflect the complexity of boys' lives--a family's flight from domestic abuse, a sixth grader's struggle to understand a beloved but bigoted father--as well as stories about children who use creativity to solve problems. She also lists tips for reading aloud, magazines that review children's books, and a special section for books on sexuality and growing up. Cooper-Mullin and Coye, who have six daughters between them, have gathered books whose heroines are smart and strong-willed. Nontraditional roles, interesting plots, meaningful character development, and rich language were some of their criteria for inclusion. Organized from "early readers" to "young adults," their book includes a resource list for finding the books mentioned. It also features quotes from women like Ruby Bridges and Janet Reno. As with Great Books for Boys, all children can enjoy these selections. A single drawback of both these titles is the absence of author and title indexes. Both books are recommended for all school and public libraries. Introduced by Marian Wright Edelman, Strong Souls Singing focuses on African American literature for girls and women and is the companion to Spirited Minds: African American Books for Our Sons and Our Brothers (LJ 9/1/97). Covering 110 books, it is the narrowest of the three titles reviewed here. Each chapter covers a particular genre (i.e., poetry, drama, fiction, biography, and history) and contains page-long entries with suggested reading levels. These mini-book reviews are nicely illustrated and accompanied by book excerpts, but many of the recommended books, such as Alice Walker's The Color Purple, are already well known and are certainly found in other bibliographies. Recommended for large public libraries and African American collections.--Glynys Thomas, Suffolk Univ. Lib., Boston
Library Journal - Library Journal
Using recommendations from librarians, teachers, book reviews, and their own experiences as mothers, the authors have compiled a list of classic and current titles from almost every genre that provides girls, from pre-schoolers to young adults, with positive role models. The annotations are generally concise and informative; however, those in the preschool category tend to be cloying and sentimental, e.g., a sweetie pie of a book! or totally adorable! An interesting and valuable component of the book is recollections of 70 famous women of their own childhood favorites. While Kathleen Odeans Great Books for Girls (Ballantine, 1997) covers much of the same ground and is easier to use, these reminiscences and the lack of duplication make Once upon a Heroine a worthwhile addition to parenting or professional shelves.Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
With six daughters between them, the authors (former publishing executives) recognize girls' need to imagine themselves as the heroine of their own lives and the stories they read. Organized by age group, and based on recommendations by teachers, librarians, and reviews, this guidebook also contains favorite book selections by real heroines (e.g. Gloria Steinem and Oprah Winfrey). Readers can suggest additions for the next edition via e-mail. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.