One-Minute Book Reviews

October 31, 2009

Deborah Heiligman’s ‘Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith’ — A Finalist for the 2009 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature

Deborah Heiligman’s captivating dual biography of the Darwins, Charles and Emma (Holt, 268 pp., $18.95), is one of the best young-adult books I’ve read since launching this site. This finalist for the 2009 National Book Award for young people’s literature lacks the problems of last year’s winner, What I Saw and How I Lied, among them a clash between its third-grade reading level and its sophisticated content. Good as it is, Charles and Emma isn’t a shoo-in: It’s up against books that include Phillip Hoose’s Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 144 pp., $19.95), the true story of a 15-year-old whose refusal to give up her seat to a white passenger helped to integrate the buses in Montgomery, Alabama.  I haven’t been able to put my hands on a copy, but I admired Hoose’s Perfect, Once Removed (Walker, 2007), a memoir of the October when his cousin Don Larsen pitched a perfect World Series game, and I hope to say more about both National Book Award finalists soon.

2 Comments »

  1. […] An earlier post on Charles and Emma has links to more information about the book. […]

    Pingback by ‘Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith’ — Quotes of the day From a 2009 Finalist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature « One-Minute Book Reviews — November 15, 2009 @ 4:04 pm | Reply

  2. […] An earlier post on Charles and Emma has links to more information about the book. […]

    Pingback by ‘Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith’ – Quotes of the Day From a 2009 Finalist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature « One-Minute Book Reviews — November 15, 2009 @ 4:06 pm | Reply


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