An intriguing tale that will plant seeds of environmental consciousness in the upcoming generation.

ONE MILLION TREES

A TRUE STORY

A California family travels to British Columbia, where, along with a mostly French-speaking crew, they plant 1 million trees to revitalize a logged-over forest.

When author/illustrator Balouch was 10 years old, her family traveled to Canada to join a tree-planting operation. Forty years later, she recalls the remarkable experience. Readers follow young Kristen, her sisters, and their parents as they journey by seaplane to Vancouver Island, drive through backcountry, settle in to their campsite, and truck to the planting site each day for 40 days before flying home. Loving memories of the desserts Baluch helped her mother prepare for the large posse, a trusty old truck nicknamed Mad Dog, and downtime spent swimming with her siblings add a nostalgic touch. The simply written, straightforward text is rich with interesting information, offering nature-based math puzzles, a step-by-step tree-planting diagram, and French minilessons seamlessly woven into the narrative. Short asides featuring inside stories and snippets of intimate conversation between the young narrator and her family members appear in smaller print alongside the main text. The digital illustrations—rendered in a naïve art style—are busy, making for detailed spreads that beg to be pored over; they also capture the British Columbia landscape, including its distinctive flora and fauna. The tree-planting gang is surprisingly diverse for the time period, and a Native American tepee is shown amongst the campground tents. An author’s note provides further background about the project and explains the importance of old-growth forests.

An intriguing tale that will plant seeds of environmental consciousness in the upcoming generation. (Informational picture book/memoir. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4860-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2022

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A dazzling picture book cut through with the thread and thrum of an inspiring but unsung life.

STITCH BY STITCH

ELIZABETH HOBBS KECKLY SEWS HER WAY TO FREEDOM

Schofield-Morrison fashions a poignant tribute to the remarkable life and craft of Elizabeth “Lizzy” Hobbs Keckly, a formerly enslaved woman who broke the color line in haute couture.

In straightforward prose seamlessly woven through with excerpts from Keckly’s 1868 autobiography, the text traces Keckly’s unlikely journey from a slave plantation to the White House. Born enslaved in Virginia in 1818, she survived a childhood of unutterable cruelty but set her mind to learning the craft of sewing from her mother. Sent by her master to work for a White tailor without pay, Keckly endured further hardships, but her talent and toil eventually earned her a clientele of affluent women. After purchasing freedom for herself and her son, she went on to become a successful businesswoman, highly sought-after tailoress, and trendsetting fashionista, even serving as the official dresser for first lady Mary Todd Lincoln. Zunon’s breathtaking and masterful mixed-media illustrations—incorporating oil, paint, fabric, ribbon, paper, embroidery, and appliqué—beautifully capture the artistry of Keckly’s dresses.

A dazzling picture book cut through with the thread and thrum of an inspiring but unsung life. (author’s note, timeline, bibliography) (Picture book biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3963-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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Inspirational but occasionally unclear.

JUST LIKE ME

Gooding's debut profiles 40 famous people with disabilities.

The author, a mother of children with disabilities, opens the book with a note about her desire to find role models for her children. To that end, she alphabetically introduces racially diverse disabled people from around the world and throughout history. Diagnoses range from autism to limb difference. Historical figures include Japanese peace advocate Sadako Sasaki, who developed leukemia after the bombing of Hiroshima, and American abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who led fellow slaves to freedom despite epilepsy. Contemporary figures include athletes, authors, and entertainers: Polio survivor and Paralympian Malathi Krishnamurthy-Holla remains "one of the fastest female Indian athletes in a wheelchair"; Japanese nonverbal author Naoki Higashida penned popular books describing autism; English actor Daniel Radcliffe deals with dyspraxia, a coordination disorder; and Australian Madeline Stuart is the first professional model with Down syndrome. Each profile begins with an uplifting quote and concludes with a sidebar explaining the subject’s disability. Unfortunately, some sidebars emphasize colloquial over scientific terms. For instance, Stephen Hawking’s disability is named eponymously (Lou Gehrig's disease), “also known as ALS,” instead of with its scientific name, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Occasionally, vague phrasing creates confusion, such as when the author writes that a speech-generating device enabled Hawking to communicate by using a “touchpad.” (A hand clicker became his primary input method.) Various illustrators’ realistic renditions of smiling subjects complement the upbeat (albeit somewhat dry) text.

Inspirational but occasionally unclear. (glossary, quote sources) (Collective biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-78741-848-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Bonnier/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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