Self-Reliance: The Story of Ralph Waldo Emerson

   �Succinct, broad-reaching, and peppered with lively anecdotes, this biography slots easily into the World Writers series� consistently strong list. Following a traditional cradle-to-grave chronology, the title frankly discusses the interpersonal, spiritual, and artistic challenges this author faced during the course of his lifetime and how those struggles informed his famous works. Young researchers will enjoy the many revealing quotes that inject a spirited sense of the man, in love, in argument, in inner conflict, and in discovery of their own talents and influential ideas. In Self-Reliance, Caravantes quotes Emerson as a young student, whose dramatic self-loathing may strike a chord with young teens struggling with similar crises of confidence: �I find myself often idle, vagrant, stupid, and hollow.� . . . Overall, this compact, engaging title, supported by a time line, thorough chapter notes, and suggested reading, is an excellent starting point for middle- and high-school students seeking information about an author of whom surprisingly little has been written for a young-adult audience.�



  ---   Gillian Engberg, Booklist, August 2010



A Great and Sublime Fool: The Story of Mark Twain

   �In this clear and lively biography, Caravantes discusses her subject�s childhood adventures in Missouri, which later became the basis for his short stories and novels. Throughout his life, he loved to travel and wrote many detailed letters from the road, which were often printed in various newspapers. He earned his river pilot�s license and navigated the Mississippi River, taking the pen name of Mark Twain from a nautical expression . . .The author offers a straightforward chronological glimpse of the man behind the larger-than-life legend of Mark Twain. The black-and-white and full-color photographs and reproductions enliven the presentation, and a lengthy time line and source notes make this a good resource for reports.�



  ---   School Library Journal, 2010



Writing is My Business: The Story of O. Henry

   �Opening with �William Porter began to use the pen name O. Henry while he was in prison in the Ohio State Penitentiary, this title grabs readers� attention and never lets go. O. Henry certainly makes a compelling subject. His many hardships, including the death of loved ones, legal woes, single-parent responsibilities, periodic dire financial straits, and alcoholism, are all explained. Captioned period photographs, magazine covers, and other illustrations add to the lively text. This is a compelling biography of the American writer who was considered the �Yankee Maupassant.��



  ---  School Library Journal, November 2006



Deep Woods: The Story of Robert Frost

   This excellent introduction to Frost�s life and work begins with the culmination of his career: an invitation from John F. Kennedy to deliver the poem �The Gift Outright� at Kennedy�s inauguration. That moment marked a career that garnered the poet four Pulitzer Prizes and numerous honorary degrees. Caravantes shows vividly �the miles� Frost trod before he slept, at age 88, having experienced both the light and dark sides of human existence, and how he captured them in his work. The book has numerous sepia and color photos, including a picture of �Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening� handwritten by Frost, and a time line. This is an exceptional, easy-to-follow examination of a flawed, brilliant human being who created art of the highest caliber.



  ---   School Library Journal, June 2006



Best of Times: The Story of Charles Dickens

One of Young Adult Reviewers of Southern California�s Recommended Titles for Young Adults, January-February 2006

   Caravantes discusses the writer�s early influences that resulted in his interest in exploring social ills in his work. Through his flair for drama, his tendency to exaggerate, and his heartfelt emotions about the causes about which he wrote, Dickens not only provided entertainment to his audiences, but also awakened them to the plight of the poor. . . the book is interesting reading and well documented. It will not only provide material for reports, but will also be enjoyed by biography buffs.



  ---   School Library Journal, December 2005



   �Caravantes shows how Dickens drew on his own experience to write powerfully about the suffering of the poor through the eyes of a child, even as he used wry humor. In addition to writing about Dickens� success, she discusses various difficulties during his life; she�s very honest, for example, about his strained relationships with his wife and children . . . with clear, spacious type, and many interesting quotes and photos, this will attract readers. . .�



  ---   Booklist, , August 2005



Waging Peace: The Story of Jane Addams

Selected by PSLA as one of Top Forty Young Adult Nonfiction books for 2005

   An informative book, this biography tells the story of Jane Addams. The book shows how one person, with a strong vision, and with the collaboration of friends, family and neighbors can have an enormous social impact. . . This book is a great addition to any classroom library and is a great resource for inquiry projects especially in language arts or social studies classrooms.
  ---   Cara Mulcahy in Children's Literature

   Jane Addams�s dedication to peace, justice and equality come shining through in this biography of the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. . . It is hard to believe that one woman could accomplish so much in one lifetime and have it reduced to 144 pages. The readable text describes her accomplishments, providing background information and showing how Addams�s influence improved life for those she served. . . A book of an important social reformer that should be in every school library.
  ---   Rated: Outstanding - Rosanne Zajko forTri State Young Adult Book Review Committee

Marcus Garvey: Black Nationalist

Selected by PSLA as one of Top Forty Young Adult Nonfiction books for 2005

   Marcus (born Mosiah) Garvey is a very controversial figure in the Black Nationalist movement ... Throughout his life he fought for Black Nationalism, believing that all black people should return to their native Africa. The story is told in a compassionate way with photos as illustrations ... This book would be very useful for middle and high school students doing historical or biographical research.
  ---   Children's Literature

   Garvey, self-taught and driven, was a controversial, if not outright explosive, character who kept a high profile (even in prison) as an advocate for Black Nationalism. The chronology helps readers sort through the incredible ups and downs; and the references are helpful. Students will probably emerge somewhat bewildered; the man was an enigma and that fact about him ... is crystal clear.
  ---   School Library Journal

An American in Texas: The Story of Sam Houston

Selected 2004 Book of Note by TriState Young Adult Review Committee

   An excellent portrait of the first president of the Republic of Texas and, subsequently, a governor of the state. Following an appealing literary opening, Caravantes crafts an absorbing biography of this general whose 18-minute defeat of Santa Anna signaled the establishment of Texas independence ... Caravantes writes clearly about Houston's tumultuous life. Sources for quotes and a bibliography of books and Web sites help establish authority.
  ---   School Library Journal

   If there ever was a man bound for greatness in his life, it was Sam Houston ... Teachers and students alike will find the detailed background information on Houston to be very useful and interesting. This is a great addition to any Texas history bookshelf.
  ---   Children's Literature

Petticoat Spies

   This collective biography spotlights six women who spied for their countries during the Civil War...Their action-packed stories include daring escapes, clever disguises, feigned madness, and sometimes, foiled plans...
  ---  Booklist, March 15, 2002

   Descriptions and events read like fiction with high drama, but are based on fact...will intrigue middle school level readers.
  ---  Children's Bookwatch, August 2002

   This book contains a fascinating aspect of the war...Caravantes devotes about 15 pages to each individual, focusing on her clandestine activities but also touching on her life before and after the war. A black-and-white photo or illustration completes this readable book.
  ---  School Library Journal, August 2002

   The stories of such notable Civil War heroines as Elizabeth Van Lew and Rose O'Neal Greenhow highlight this text. From espionage to direct military service, the common virtues uniting the women were their courage and devotion to their respective causes.
  ---  Civil War Book Review, Summer 2002

   Renegades, expecially in a time of war, do not always present themselves as loud, feisty soldiers who go screaming into battle on horseback. Some work quietly behind the scenes, including the six women featured in this book...The women faced the chance of being caught and killed, each so her country would have a chance at winning the war. Used as an accompaniment to a classroom textbook, these stories could supplement a discussion of the unsung heroes of the Civil War or be used to provide information about American women's history.
  ---  Children's Literature, 2002

   Most Civil War books for students focus on political history, military battles, or the roles of soldiers. This slender book, however, offers a fresh perspective to the fascinating and little known role some women played during the war...Told with high interest and suspense...Useful for American History, girls will be especially drawn to this source...
  ---  Library Media Connection, 2002

   The book recounts the dramatic and very subtle escapades of six women spies who help ferret out information as spies during the Civil War...This text is crisply written and fully illustrated with an easy to read style. This inclusion of where to obtain more information on the internet, glossary, sources listing, bibliography, and an index make this a useful research tool...The flow and balance of both the text and visuals are integrated to present a very stimulating book for both young and reluctant readers.
  ---   Tri State Young Adult Book Review Committee, November 2002





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