A stirring tribute to black excellence.

THE UNSTOPPABLE GARRETT MORGAN

INVENTOR, ENTREPRENEUR, HERO

An accessible first look at a celebrated inventor in the black community.

Garrett Morgan has been credited with the invention of the traffic light but is often overlooked in favor of other famous black innovators, such as George Washington Carver and Charles R. Drew. Debut picture-book author DiCicco gives young readers a solid overview of Garrett Morgan’s wide-ranging versatility. The account of his humble beginnings as part of a Kentucky sharecropping family highlights how his circumstances led him to solve problems creatively. When he left for the North, he advanced his education with private tutoring. DiCicco uses affirmative vocabulary like “unstoppable” and “brave” to describe his resilience and determination in life—an attitude that led to his decision to marry a white woman before interracial marriages were federally legal. The bulk of the book is devoted to his invention of a piece of safety apparatus that ensured a supply of fresh air to firefighters before turning to the invention of the traffic light. The racism that he encountered along the way is not soft-pedaled. A detailed timeline and bibliography steer readers to resources that will enable them to further explore his life. Glenn supplies earth-toned paintings that give a sense of the period and evoke mid-20th-century Disney cartoons.

A stirring tribute to black excellence. (Picture book/biography. 7-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62014-564-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

1001 BEES

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A pivotal moment in a child’s life, at once stirring and authentically personal.

JUST LIKE JESSE OWENS

Before growing up to become a major figure in the civil rights movement, a boy finds a role model.

Buffing up a childhood tale told by her renowned father, Young Shelton describes how young Andrew saw scary men marching in his New Orleans neighborhood (“It sounded like they were yelling ‘Hi, Hitler!’ ”). In response to his questions, his father took him to see a newsreel of Jesse Owens (“a runner who looked like me”) triumphing in the 1936 Olympics. “Racism is a sickness,” his father tells him. “We’ve got to help folks like that.” How? “Well, you can start by just being the best person you can be,” his father replies. “It’s what you do that counts.” In James’ hazy chalk pastels, Andrew joins racially diverse playmates (including a White child with an Irish accent proudly displaying the nickel he got from his aunt as a bribe to stop playing with “those Colored boys”) in tag and other games, playing catch with his dad, sitting in the midst of a cheering crowd in the local theater’s segregated balcony, and finally visualizing himself pelting down a track alongside his new hero—“head up, back straight, eyes focused,” as a thematically repeated line has it, on the finish line. An afterword by Young Shelton explains that she retold this story, told to her many times growing up, drawing from conversations with Young and from her own research; family photos are also included. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A pivotal moment in a child’s life, at once stirring and authentically personal. (illustrator’s note) (Autobiographical picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-545-55465-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: yesterday

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more