Collective Biographies Reviews

Electronic Dance Music DJs: ISBN 978-1-60152-966-4 / eBook: 978-1-60152-967-1
Internet Entrepreneurs: ISBN 978-1-68282-028-5 / eBook: 978-1-68282-029-2
Women Scientists and Inventors: ISBN 978-1-68282-032-2 / eBook: 978-1-68282-033-9
VOYA, February 1, 2017

These three volumes from a new nine-book series each cover six notable figures in their respective domains. Each volume begins with a brief overview of the topic followed by a ten-page chapter on each person. The introductions do not give a rationale for how the individuals were selected for the volume, but the authors seem to have been inclusive in terms of gender and ethnicity. EDM experts may wonder why Bassnectar is not included, but they will not have any argument with who is included.

Each individual biography includes an introduction to the subject, an overview of their childhood, early career highlights, and significant events in their career, including their legacy if they have retired or died. There are two photographs of each subject and one or two side bars with additional information. For example, in Angela Merkel's profile, the side bars are “Person of the Year” and “Family.” The individual biographies are interesting, but students may not pick the volumes up to browse. They could be very useful for teachers, especially the ebook versions. With the Common Core emphasis on nonfiction, teachers could display a section on the screen and demonstrate note-taking or annotating, and then have the students practice the skill on other chapters.
—Suzanne Libra


Brand Empire Celebrities: ISBN 978-1-60152-994-7 / eBook: 978-1-60152-995-4
Great Magicians and Illusionists: ISBN 978-1-6015-998-5 / eBook: 978-1-60152-999-2
Women World Leaders: ISBN 978-1-68282-034-6 / eBook: 978-1-68282-035-3
Young Adult Authors: ISBN 978-1-68282-036-0 / eBook: 978-1-68282-037-7
Booklist, December 1, 2016

Clear and well organized, each entry in the Collective Biographies series profiles six notable figures in industries of particular interest or value for students. Placed in roughly chronological order, each chapter details the early life, major accomplishments, and challenges faced by its subject. Brand Empire Celebrities is perhaps the highest-interest though weakest volume of the set; broadly and with a gossipy tone, it introduces the artistic successes, entrepreneurial ventures, and philanthropy (or lack thereof) of celebrities like Jay Z, Kim Kardashian, and Taylor Swift. Great Magicians and Illusionists opens with a comprehensive look at the life of—who else?—Harry Houdini before examining the careers of other influential magicians; Ning Cai is both the only woman and person of color profiled, though the male-dominated nature of the industry is discussed. Women World Leaders, on the other hand, focuses specifically on the women in the field of politics and government, presenting an unbiased discussion on the successes, failures, and controversies of leaders, including Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, and Hillary Clinton. Young Adult Authors discusses the lack of diversity in publishing before expounding on how authors such as Walter Dean Myers, Rainbow Rowell, and Nnedi Okorafor are pushing boundaries in their work. The text-heavy layout is broken up by occasional photos, boxed asides, and pull quotes, but the high-interest topics will draw curious readers.
—Maggie Reagan


Brand Empire Celebrities: ISBN 978-1-60152-994-7 / eBook: 978-1-60152-995-4
Electronic Dance Music DJs: ISBN 978-1-60152-966-4 / eBook: 978-1-60152-967-1
Great Cartoonists: ISBN 978-1-60152-996-1 / eBook: 978-1-60152-997-8
Great Magicians and Illusionists: ISBN 978-1-6015-998-5 / eBook: 978-1-60152-999-2
Internet Entrepreneurs: ISBN 978-1-68282-028-5 / eBook: 978-1-68282-029-2
Sci-Fi Directors: ISBN 978-1-68282-030-8 / eBook: 978-1-68282-031-5
Women Scientists and Inventors: ISBN 978-1-68282-032-2 / eBook: 978-1-68282-033-9
Women World Leaders: ISBN 978-1-68282-034-6 / eBook: 978-1-68282-035-3
Young Adult Authors: ISBN 978-1-68282-036-0 / eBook: 978-1-68282-037-7
School Library Journal, November 1, 2016

Gr 6-9– Several titles here will provide useful overviews or starting points for further research. Young Adult Authors helpfully addresses the growing call for diversity in books for teens and features the late novelist Walter Dean Myers and sci-fi and fantasy author Nnedi Okorafor. Women World Leaders includes a chapter on Hillary Clinton, which will age quickly in the shadow of the 2016 election, but a chapter on Nobel Peace laureate and former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is informative and contextual. Women Scientists and Inventors brings focus to a number of fascinating but less widely celebrated figures, such as physicist Lise Meitner and pioneering neonatologist Virginia Apgar. All of the books contain comprehensive source notes divided by chapter.
VERDICT Clearly written and well-documented short narratives suitable for formal research.