Mary Bowman-Kruhm’s writing has encompassed a truly enormous spectrum. An author of over 30 books for children and teens, Mary has written about everything from disabilities to career guidance to a biography of famed anthropologist Margaret Mead. Mary’s books have proven themselves to be trenchant works that have garnered widespread praise. Her first book, 1986’s I Hate School: How to Hang In & When to Drop Out was named by the American Library Association on its list of Best Books for Young Adults–1986. For one of her recent projects, Mary sought to combine her loves of writing and travel. When researching the most famous family of paleoanthropology for 2005’s The Leakeys: A Biography, Mary visited sites in Kenya. A former teacher, Mary understands just how crucial reading can be to a child’s development and hopes her writing can relate to children of all ages.
The Leakeys: A Biography
The Leakey family has been synonymous with the study of human fossil history for over seventy years. Louis Leakey’s groundbreaking work at Olduvai Gorge in Kenya helped uncover some of the oldest hominid remains ever found. His wife Mary carried out extensive digs in the surrounding area and was responsible for discovering tremendous amounts of human and anthropological remains. Subsequently, the Leakey’s children and grandchildren also made significant contributions to the study of mankind’s distant past. In addition, the Leakey family was responsible for initially funding renowned primate research conducted by such figures as Jane Goodall, Birute Mary Galdikas, and Dian Fossey. Yet, the Leakey family was plagued by domestic concerns including marital breakups, infidelities, and alcohol abuse. In this family biography author Mary Bowman-Kruhm does an comprehensive job of telling the story of three generations of Leakys. Throughout this well-written familial study, readers are afforded an opportunity to not only see the scientific elements of each of the Leakey’s lives but also their personal triumphs and tragedies. In this way the author presents these people as complete human beings with strengths and frailties rather than cardboard cutouts. As such, this title is an excellent source of information for younger readers interested in science and scientists. 2005, Greenwood Press, $29.95. Ages 14 up. Reviewer: Greg G. Romaneck (Children’s Literature).
Margaret Mead: A Biography
Anthropologist Margaret Mead is an intriguing subject for biography. Outspoken and opinionated all her life, Mead attained early fame with her best-selling book, Coming of Age in Samoa (1928), and went on to investigate other societies in New Guinea and Bali. She was adept at presenting cultural anthropology to the general public through lectures, articles, and personal appearances, as well as through h
er books. Unconventional for the times, her private life included three marriages and divorces and an intimate relationship with fellow anthropologist Ruth Benedict. As time went on, Mead espoused many causes related to gender differences, adolescence, personality development, and sexual relationships. In later life she became an icon of anthropology to the public and a target of criticism from her colleagues. The best part of this volume in the “Greenwood Biographies” series is the last, where the author discusses some of these criticisms and explores the question (with material based on a 2001 conference), “What would Margaret Mead say today?” Although the information is fascinating, it is presented, unfortunately, in an inept and pedantic style, ill suited to its intended audience. It would be a hardy student who slogs her way through this awkward and often murky prose when other memoirs and biographies are available. Included are four small black-and-white photographs, a timeline, a glossary, and an index. The color photo on the cover is the book’s most vibrant image of Mead, captured in her long blue cloak, holding her pronged shepherd’s crook and staring level-eyed at the viewer. 2003, Greenwood, $27.50. Ages 14 up. Reviewer: Barbara Talcroft (Children’s Literature).
Everything You Need to Know About Down Syndrome
Hypothetical vignettes introduce definitions, descriptions, treatments, and coping strategies for people who have the disorders and diseases and for those interacting with them. Looking and Feeling advocates emotional and physical health. Shorter vignettes incorporated in the text supply examples and interest. Color and black-and-white photographs add visual interest but little else. Bib., glos., ind. (Need to Know Library series). Category: Nonfiction-Technology. 2000, Rosen, 64pp, $17.95. Ages 14 to 18. Rating: 4: Recommended…Hornbook
Programs for Adults and Secondary Students
Connecting with Your Grandchild Through Books
Human History Carved in Bone
Temperament Type and School
The Process of Writing
For Teachers, in addition to above
Ideas for Using Trade Books in Any Classroom
Whole Language: What It Is and What It Shouldn’t Be
For Younger Students
Writing a Paragraph: The Pretzel Path to Writing Success
Kenya: Early Human History + Animals in the Wild + Friendly People
Metro DC/MD/VA: Single presentation, $300; 1/2 day, $500. Negotiable, depending on book sales. Willing to travel outside local area. Handouts and follow-up materials as appropriate.
To learn more about Mary Bowman-Kruhm and her publications please visit