LOVE IS POWERFUL

A child prepares for the Women’s March.

City-dwelling Mari is excited to march (a plethora of pussyhats indicates it’s the Women’s March). Crayons ready, she asks her mother what they’re coloring. The reply: “A message for the world.” But how will the whole world hear their message? The answer: “because love is powerful.” This titular refrain is repeated throughout the story as the pair joins the march. Though Mari doesn’t think anyone will hear in the crowd of thousands, she shouts out the message on her poster: “Love is powerful!” Pham’s bright, cheery art shows hearts emanating from Mari and drifting into the multiracial crowd (especially helpful for younger readers to understand the concept of a far-reaching message). Other marchers take up Mari’s call until the hearts expand farther and farther out into the city. Though the signs they and others carry seem disconnected from some important social justice issues, particularly for a book focusing on a Black child (there are no obvious Black Lives Matter signs, for instance), this feel-good tale can serve as an accessible starting place or to augment such books as Shane Evans’ We March (2012) and other stories that delve deeper into the reasons why people march and protest. The prose is somewhat unpolished, but a note from and photograph of the real Mari at book’s end charmingly grounds it. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.4-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 27% of actual size.)

Lots of heart. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0199-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Kindness is rewarded and a holiday is celebrated in this endearing, satisfying story.

THE PASSOVER GUEST

Miracles occur on Passover, both in the Haggadah and in a poor, Depression-era Jewish American neighborhood.

For Muriel, a young girl living in 1933 Washington, D.C., there can be no Passover seder. Her family is too poor. Stopping at the Lincoln Memorial, she watches a juggler whose shabby appearance suddenly seems to burst into color. She gives him all she has—one penny—and he tells her to hurry home to a seder. She rushes home only to find her parents standing in front of an empty table. But the stranger is now at the door, and he magically transforms that bare table to one overflowing with holiday foods and ceremonial plates and cups. The rabbi is summoned and declares it a “true miracle” to be enjoyed by the whole neighborhood. At the conclusion of the festive meal, the cup left for the Prophet Elijah is empty. In her afterword, the author writes that a favorite childhood story was Uri Shulevitz’s The Magician (1973), which set a Yiddish tale by Isaac Loeb Peretz in a shtetl. This reimagined American setting during the Great Depression and its message of community and faith will resonate with readers. Rubin’s line-and-color art beautifully conveys a Washington, D.C., spring with cherry blossoms blooming, crowded streets that also evoke a long-ago, slightly off-kilter European town, and a gloriously bright holiday evening. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 34.8% of actual size.)

Kindness is rewarded and a holiday is celebrated in this endearing, satisfying story. (illustrator's note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4562-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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Rappaport makes this long struggle palpable and relevant, while Faulkner adds a winning mix of gravitas and high spirits.

ELIZABETH STARTED ALL THE TROUBLE

Rappaport examines the salient successes and raw setbacks along the 144-year-long road between the nation’s birth and women’s suffrage.

This lively yet forthright narrative pivots on a reality that should startle modern kids: women’s right to vote was only achieved in 1920, 72 years after Elizabeth Cady Stanton organized the first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York. Indeed, time’s passage figures as a textual motif, connecting across decades such determined women as Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, and Lucy Stone. They spoke tirelessly, marched, organized, and got arrested. Rappaport includes events such as 1913’s Women’s Suffrage Parade in Washington, D.C., but doesn’t shy from divisive periods like the Civil War. Faulkner’s meticulously researched gouache-and-ink illustrations often infuse scenes with humor by playing with size and perspective. As Stanton and Lucretia Mott sail into London in 1840 for the World Anti-Slavery Conference, Faulkner depicts the two women as giants on the ship’s upper deck. On the opposite page, as they learn they’ll be barred as delegates, they’re painted in miniature, dwarfed yet unflappable beneath a gallery full of disapproving men. A final double-page spread mingles such modern stars as Shirley Chisholm and Sonia Sotomayor amid the historical leaders.

Rappaport makes this long struggle palpable and relevant, while Faulkner adds a winning mix of gravitas and high spirits. (biographical thumbnails, chronology, sources, websites, further reading, author’s note) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7868-5142-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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