Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles

Back in the days of long skirts and afternoon teas, young Joan Procter entertained the most unusual party guests: slithery and scaly ones, who turned over teacups and crawled past the crumpets…. While other girls played with dolls, Joan preferred the company of reptiles. She carried her favorite lizard with her everywhere–she even brought a crocodile to school!

The Watcher

Acclaimed picture book biographer Jeanette Winter has found her perfect subject: Jane Goodall, the great observer of chimpanzees. Follow Jane from her childhood in London watching a robin on her windowsill, to her years in the African forests of Gombe, Tanzania, invited by brilliant scientist Louis Leakey to observe chimps, to her worldwide crusade to save these primates who are now in danger of extinction, and their habitat. Young animal lovers and Winter’s many fans will welcome this fascinating and moving portrait of an extraordinary person and the animals to whom she has dedicated her life.

Becoming Maria

Pura Belpre Honor winner for The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano and one of America’s most influential Hispanics–‘Maria’ on Sesame Street–delivers a beautifully wrought coming-of-age memoir. Set in the 1950s in the Bronx, this is the story of a girl with a dream. Emmy award-winning actress and writer Sonia Manzano plunges us into the daily lives of a Latino family that is loving–and troubled. This is Sonia’s own story rendered with an unforgettable narrative power. When readers meet young Sonia, she is a child living amidst the squalor of a boisterous home that is filled with noisy relatives and nosy neighbors. Each day she is glued to the TV screen that blots out the painful realities of her existence and also illuminates the possibilities that lie ahead. But–click!–when the TV goes off, Sonia is taken back to real-life–the cramped, colorful world of her neighborhood and an alcoholic father. But it is Sonia’s dream of becoming an actress that keeps her afloat among the turbulence of her life and times. Spiced with culture, heartache, and humor, this memoir paints a lasting portrait of a girl’s resilience as she grows up to become an inspiration to millions.

Equal Rights Is Our Minimum Demand

On June 12, 2005, hundreds of women gathered outside Tehran University in Tehran, Iran. These women were protesting an issue that Iranian women have battled for more than one hundred years: gender inequality. Living in a conservative Muslim culture, Iranian women are subjected to discriminatory laws that serve the male-dominated society. In public, Iranian women must not be seen with men not related to them, and they must wear clothing completing covering their body and their hair. Many laws punish women even more harshly. If a woman is caught committing adultery, she can be sentenced to death by stoning. Yet men are free to have many wives and even enter temporary marriages. In the 1900s, Iranian women began protesting unjust laws and fighting for equality. For a time, under monarchs wishing to modernize, Iran became more lenient. Women began dressing as they wished, mixing socially with men, and working outside their homes. But after the Islamic Revolution of 1979, harsh punishments for moral offenses again became law. Women in professional occupations lost their jobs, and gender separation was enforced in public places. Iranian women continue to struggle against an oppressive regime, but they refuse to stop protesting. In this powerful story, we’ll learn how Iranian women have been punished and discriminated against by their patriarchal government, but yet they maintain their pursuit of equal rights. We’ll also see what their hopes and dreams are for the future.

Anthropologist

Imagine making your living by hunting, fishing, and collecting wild plants and insects. Imagine having to worry about being attacked by a jaguar or some other wild animal. This is how our ancestors lived for hundreds of thousands of years, but only a few peoples carry on this ancient lifestyle today. One of the few are the Ache, hunter-gatherers living in Paraguay, a country in South America. Magdalena Hurtado is an anthropologist who has been studying the Ache for fifteen years. She has spent years living with the Ache people: learning their language, observing their history. The photographs and text offer invaluable insight into the work of an anthropologist.