Primates - NF graphic novel review

It's been a few weeks since I posted a nonfiction review, but it's time to toss my hat back into the ring. This newly released graphic novel is one that belongs in every library.

Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas
by Jim Ottaviani (Goodreads Author), Maris Wicks
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published June 11th 2013 by First Second
ISBN 1596438657 (ISBN13: 9781596438651)

Goodreads Synopsis:
Jim Ottaviani returns with an action-packed account of the three greatest primatologists of the last century: Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas. These three ground-breaking researchers were all students of the great Louis Leakey, and each made profound contributions to primatology—and to our own understanding of ourselves.

My Thoughts:

Hmm... what's not to love? The graphic novel format was a wonderful choice for this story. I love comic style books, and having a book that shares the lives of three amazing scientists like this is just one more point to help you prove that "graphic novels are awesome and educationally relevant".

I'll also admit to being slightly biased about books that showcase women who break the molds, walk their own paths, and create a new world for us to explore. The fact that this book shows how THREE women took on the science of primates, and also shows how their lives overlapped and wove together, is an added bonus.

I adore how the three women represent a variety of life choices as well. Marriage, child-rearing, the single life - all are shown as things that can be part of a woman's life even when she is dedicated to her career. They made difficult choices, and sacrifices, but their love for scientific discovery shines through on every page.

Even the overall quality of the printing is fabulous, although that is what I have come to expect from :01 First Second publishing. The pages are thick and the colors are lush. Even the dust cover is lovely!

UntitledWhile I still think Louis Leakey's thinking about women is fundamentally flawed (I hate when anyone says anything that applies to ALL women), it was a testament to his open-mindedness that he was able to help these three women get their starts. There is also rumbling in the story about his other interests in women that weren't his wife, but I think any upper middle grade student who has ready any mythology (Yes, Zeus, I'm looking at you) will be able to move past that without any major concerns.

In the end, though, it was Jane, Dian, and Biruté who made their choices, followed their passions, and changed the face of science.

I'm excited to bring this book back to my classroom in the fall and give it a place of honor. I know it will be passed around all year and well loved.


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