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ARC Review: Kids’ Nonfiction Read in February 2023: Rebel Girls

Rebel Girls: Animal Allies

Publication Date: April 4, 2023



Meet 25 brave, compassionate scientists, veterinarians, activists, and others who fight for animal rights and conservation. Animal Allies takes readers all around the world—to the tops of trees and the bottom of oceans, deep into the jungle and high into the mountains.

Swim with the sharks alongside Eugenie Clark, build bat houses with Amanda Lear, nurse a baby hippo to health with Christina Gorsuch, and protect endangered seahorses with Amanda Vincent and Heather Koldewey.

With a foreword by zoologist Lucy King and activities curated by conservationist Bindi Irwin, this book is sure to inspire animal lovers everywhere. Plus, scannable codes let you listen to longer stories on the Rebel Girls App!

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Kiddo (8) and I really enjoyed this one! There are many inspiring stories about girls and women who are helping and caring for animals. There are also ideas about ways for you to help animals.

Kiddo is very very into cute animals at the moment (The number of stuffed animals he sleeps with just keeps growing) and though he protested reading anything over Christmas break, he was happy to curl up with me and listen to the stories once I cajoled him into listening to “just one.” In fact, every time I stopped for a minute to rest my voice he immediately flipped to the next page himself.

We enjoyed the beautiful illustrations that go with each one page story (there were many exclamations of “It’s so cute!” about the various animals pictured) and the quotes from each featured girl and woman.

The reading level is a bit higher than kiddo’s (3rd grade) just because of how dense the text is on the page. It makes a great read-aloud for kids age 6-9 however, and a slightly older kid could read it on their own. I found it was also helpful to read aloud because of some science words and names of animals kiddo was unfamiliar with that I could explain when he asked as we went along.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Rebel Girls for providing an early copy for review.

Dr. Wangari Maathai Plants a Forest

Publication Date: February 7, 2023


From the world of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls comes the historical novel based on the life of Dr. Wangari Maathai, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist from Kenya.

Wangari lives in a magical place in rural Kenya where the soil is rich for planting, the trees abundant, and the nearby pond full of mysterious creatures. She drinks from cool, clean streams and plays beneath her favorite fig tree under her mother’s watchful gaze.

Then Wangari grows up and goes away to school, and things start changing at home. Farmers chop down the trees. Landslides bury the stream. The pond dries up. The soil becomes overworked, dry, and unusable for planting. And people go hungry. Dr. Wangari Maathai has a simple solution to all of these problems: plant trees.

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was an incredibly moving and inspiring account of the life of Dr. Wangari Maathai, from when she was a young girl all the way through her life and her fight for the environment and the ordinary people of Kenya. I had somehow never heard of her, and I learned so much while reading this.

Her thirst for knowledge and her love of the natural world were clear from the very beginning, so it is fitting that she studied so long and worked tirelessly to plant forests and protect nature.

I will be sharing this with my 3rd grader – it’s just the sort of story he likes and there are a lot of important lessons in here.

It’s very well-written, in such a way that it immediately draws you in and makes you want to know more. The illustrations are cute and colorful and add to the story.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Rebel Girls for providing an early copy for review.

Rebel Girls Rock: 25 Tales of Women in Music

Publication Date: March 7, 2023


TRUE STORIES OF WOMEN WHO RAISE THE ROOF! This collection features 25 stories of extraordinary women in music–women who have moved hearts and minds with their lyrics, uplifted other musicians, and gotten people to jump, dance, and sing along with their music. Belt out pop anthems with Lizzo, bang on the drums with Nandi Bushell, and write country hits with Dolly Parton. The women in this book come from all around the world. They play different instruments, experiment with new sounds, and stand out in their genres. But one thing is true of them all: They rock! With a foreword by iconic rocker Joan Jett and activities curated by Gibson Guitars, this book will have readers everywhere jamming out! Plus, scannable codes let you listen to more stories on the Rebel Girls app.

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I really enjoyed this installment of the Rebel Girls series. I recognized many of the artists featured, but not all, and I learned many new things about them. I came away feeling inspired by the energy and creativity and determination to be oneself that shone from the pages. This is a fabulous book for young girls who love music to inspire them to reach for their dreams and live their life unapologetically.

The illustrations are bright and colorful and fierce and full of the personality of each artist being featured. They add a lot of emotion and impact to the stories.

I would recommend this to all elementary, middle, and high school girls (and boys too, because it’s not just girls who need to see that girls can do anything they set their minds to), especially those who love music.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Rebel Girls for providing an early copy for review.


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