Editorial Review

Booklist (Miriam Aronin )

Cover: Hello, America!

These new additions to the Hello, America! series are of somewhat uneven quality, and the constraint of their very introductory reading level often shows. Each book provides a small amount of historical context for its featured structure and the person it is meant to honor, and includes historical and modern images as well as a child’s-eye account of a visit; a labeled diagram of the monument or building and picture glossary conclude. Empire State Building effectively translates the Depression context into child-friendly terms—“tough times”—before leaping into the present, highlighting its draw as a tourist attraction. Lincoln Memorial is appropriate, but its wording is often awkward; additionally, the Civil War highlights are more confusing than illuminating, as fighting the war, ending slavery, and giving speeches are mentioned in quick succession. Unfortunately, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is the weakest of the set; it manages to avoid even the simplest discussion of race or equality in favor of vague nods to “hope,” “fairness,” and the otherwise unexplained “civil rights movement.” Washington Monument, on the other hand, is the strongest volume, progressing nicely from an introduction to George Washington to the monument’s construction to a child’s plausible sense of wonder upon visiting the landmark. Given the varied quality, librarians and teachers may wish to pick and choose among the series. —Miriam Aronin

—Miriam Aronin

Products Reviewed

Title   ATOS Format Qty
Cover: Hello, America! Hello, America! (14 titles)

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