A master picture-book artist introduces quite young readers to two astonishing heroes of the world born in Pakistan.

Iqbal Masih was only 12 in 1995 when he was shot and killed while riding his bike. He’d spent several of his young years as a bonded slave in a carpet factory before he escaped to become an international advocate for the freedom of children. Malala Yousafzai began her public advocacy for the rights of girls to education before she was in her teens. Malala, who survived being shot by the Taliban gunman who boarded her school van, continues to use her voice for justice. Winter, in impressive command of the page with her spare text and calm, rich, digitally rendered art, offers this difficult material unapologetically. As she often does, she distills the stories to their essences, conveying with very few words the fearlessness and the hope wielded by these children. Iqbal’s and Malala’s stories are presented as two separate tales, back to back. In a poignant double-page spread at the middle, edge-to-edge art shows each child atop a mountain. Iqbal's kite string has just left his hand; his kite drifts away toward Malala. Malala's kite string is still in her hand, and her kite reaches toward Iqbal. No source notes or bibliography are offered; author’s notes on each child summarize the facts.

Brave and heartrending. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4814-2294-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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            The legions of fans who over the years have enjoyed dePaola’s autobiographical picture books will welcome this longer gathering of reminiscences.  Writing in an authentically childlike voice, he describes watching the new house his father was building go up despite a succession of disasters, from a brush fire to the hurricane of 1938.  Meanwhile, he also introduces family, friends, and neighbors, adds Nana Fall River to his already well-known Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, remembers his first day of school (“ ‘ When do we learn to read?’  I asked.  ‘Oh, we don’t learn how to read in kindergarten.  We learn to read next year, in first grade.’  ‘Fine,’ I said.  ‘I’ll be back next year.’  And I walked right out of school.”), recalls holidays, and explains his indignation when the plot of Disney’s “Snow White” doesn’t match the story he knows.  Generously illustrated with vignettes and larger scenes, this cheery, well-knit narrative proves that an old dog can learn new tricks, and learn them surpassingly well.  (Autobiography.  7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23246-X

Page Count: 58

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1999

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Stirring encouragement for all “little people” with “big dreams.” (Picture book/biography. 5-7)


From the Little People, BIG DREAMS series

“There’s nothing I can’t be,” young Maya thinks, and then shows, in this profile for newly independent readers, imported from Spain.

The inspirational message is conveyed through a fine skein of biographical details. It begins with her birth in St. Louis and the prejudice she experienced growing up in a small Arkansas town and closes with her reading of a poem “about her favorite thing: hope” at Bill Clinton’s presidential inauguration. In between, it mentions the (unspecified) “attack” by her mother’s boyfriend and subsequent elective muteness she experienced as a child, as well as some of the varied pursuits that preceded her eventual decision to become a writer. Kaiser goes on in a closing spread to recap Angelou’s life and career, with dates, beneath a quartet of portrait photos. Salaberria’s simple illustrations, filled with brown-skinned figures, are more idealized than photorealistic, but, though only in the cover image do they make direct contact with readers’, Angelou’s huge eyes are an effective focal point in each scene. The message is similar in the co-published Amelia Earhart, written by Ma Isabel Sánchez Vegara (and also translated by Pitt), but the pictures are more fanciful as illustrator Mariadiamantes endows the aviator with a mane of incandescent orange hair and sends her flying westward (in contradiction of the text and history) on her final around-the-world flight.

Stirring encouragement for all “little people” with “big dreams.” (Picture book/biography. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-84780-889-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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