Essential reading for any and all future (and current) freedom fighters.

KWAME NKRUMAH'S MIDNIGHT SPEECH FOR INDEPENDENCE

A biography of Ghana’s first prime minister and the story of his country’s road to independence.

The book opens with Kwame Nkrumah gazing at the British Union Jack while waiting alongside thousands of spectators. The Adinkra symbol for fawohodie (independence) is patterned into the blue of Nkrumah’s shirt and also in the stands that hold the crowd waiting to see, at the stroke of midnight, the joyous raising of the red, yellow, and green flag with a black star embedded in the center, the flag of a sovereign Ghana. Nkrumah’s proclamation, “And thus Ghana, your beloved country is free forever,” helps introduce the story of a tenacious man who fought for and gained freedom for his homeland. Illustrations of Nkrumah speaking, learning, and listening at various stages of his life are intentional and bold, chronicling the journey of an activist determined to speak out against British imperialism. Freeman uses bright colors and prints to find focus in her artwork. In one double-page spread a shadowed profile of Nkrumah is positioned opposite an image of the African continent rendered in different kente patterns, Nkrumah’s powerful words linking Ghana’s freedom with the liberation of all African countries from colonialism. Thoughtful backmatter that includes a timeline of Nkrumah’s life and accomplishments shows the care poured into sharing the words and works of a leader dedicated to his country and his people.

Essential reading for any and all future (and current) freedom fighters. (author's note, glossary of Adinkra symbols) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-940975-86-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Just Us Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 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 lovely 20th-anniversary tribute to the towers and all who perished—and survived.

SURVIVOR TREE

A remarkable tree stands where the twin towers of the World Trade Center once soared.

Through simple, tender text, readers learn the life-affirming story of a Callery pear tree that grew and today still flourishes “at the foot of the towers.” The author eloquently describes the pre-9/11 life of the “Survivor Tree” and its heartening, nearly decadelong journey to renewal following its recovery from the wreckage of the towers’ destruction. By tracking the tree’s journey through the natural cycle of seasonal changes and colors after it was found beneath “the blackened remains,” she tells how, after replanting and with loving care (at a nursery in the Bronx), the tree managed miraculously to flourish again. Retransplanted at the Sept. 11 memorial, it valiantly stands today, a symbol of new life and resilience. Hazy, delicate watercolor-and–colored pencil artwork powerfully traces the tree’s existence before and after the towers’ collapse; early pages include several snapshotlike insets capturing people enjoying the outdoors through the seasons. Scenes depicting the towers’ ruins are aptly somber yet hopeful, as they show the crushed tree still defiantly alive. The vivid changes that new seasons introduce are lovingly presented, reminding readers that life unceasingly renews itself. Many paintings are cast in a rosy glow, symbolizing that even the worst disasters can bring forth hope. People depicted are racially diverse. Backmatter material includes additional facts about the tree.

A lovely 20th-anniversary tribute to the towers and all who perished—and survived. (author's note, artist's note) (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-48767-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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