Pays due honor to Elijah Cummings’ memory and his dedication to the people he served.

THE FAITH OF ELIJAH CUMMINGS

THE NORTH STAR OF EQUAL JUSTICE

Though he was told that he would never be able to read and write well, Elijah Cummings defied his naysayers to become an honored figure in American politics and an especial champion for children and education.

In this picture-book biography, readers learn that Elijah Cummings was one of seven children born to his parents, Ruth and Robert Cummings. The Cummings left the racist South and settled in Baltimore, Maryland, where Cummings would spend the rest of his life. The book follows Cummings from his childhood, when he first realized he wanted to study and practice law, through his acceptance and graduation from Howard University and his political career in Maryland and as a congressman, to his death. Readers come away with many facts about and direct quotes from Cummings, but more importantly they will also glean why so many loved him. Weatherford and Freeman paint a tender picture of the leader that shows his sensitivity and concern for others, rooted in his religion, that spanned his entire life. The book opens with a speech written by Nancy Pelosi, and the backmatter includes an excerpt of a statement from the Congressional Black Caucus. There’s also a timeline of Cummings’ life, a bibliography, and the sources of the direct quotes made by Cummings on each spread. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Pays due honor to Elijah Cummings’ memory and his dedication to the people he served. (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-30650-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House Studio

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images.

THURGOOD

The life journey of the first African American to serve on the United States Supreme Court and the incidents that formed him.

Thurgood Marshall grew up in segregated Baltimore, Maryland, with a family that encouraged him to stand for justice. Despite attending poor schools, he found a way to succeed. His father instilled in him a love of the law and encouraged him to argue like a lawyer during dinner conversations. His success in college meant he could go to law school, but the University of Maryland did not accept African American students. Instead, Marshall went to historically black Howard University, where he was mentored by civil rights lawyer Charles Houston. Marshall’s first major legal case was against the law school that denied him a place, and his success brought him to the attention of the NAACP and ultimately led to his work on the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education, which itself led to his appointment to the Supreme Court. This lively narrative serves as an introduction to the life of one of the country’s important civil rights figures. Important facts in Marshall’s life are effectively highlighted in an almost staccato fashion. The bold watercolor-and-collage illustrations, beginning with an enticing cover, capture and enhance the strong tone set by the words.

A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images. (author’s note, photos) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6533-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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A picture book more than worthy of sharing the shelf with Alan Schroeder and Jerry Pinkney’s Minty (1996) and Carole Boston...

BEFORE SHE WAS HARRIET

A memorable, lyrical reverse-chronological walk through the life of an American icon.

In free verse, Cline-Ransome narrates the life of Harriet Tubman, starting and ending with a train ride Tubman takes as an old woman. “But before wrinkles formed / and her eyes failed,” Tubman could walk tirelessly under a starlit sky. Cline-Ransome then describes the array of roles Tubman played throughout her life, including suffragist, abolitionist, Union spy, and conductor on the Underground Railroad. By framing the story around a literal train ride, the Ransomes juxtapose the privilege of traveling by rail against Harriet’s earlier modes of travel, when she repeatedly ran for her life. Racism still abounds, however, for she rides in a segregated train. While the text introduces readers to the details of Tubman’s life, Ransome’s use of watercolor—such a striking departure from his oil illustrations in many of his other picture books—reveals Tubman’s humanity, determination, drive, and hope. Ransome’s lavishly detailed and expansive double-page spreads situate young readers in each time and place as the text takes them further into the past.

A picture book more than worthy of sharing the shelf with Alan Schroeder and Jerry Pinkney’s Minty (1996) and Carole Boston Weatherford and Kadir Nelson’s Moses (2006). (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2047-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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