Will serve to empower children who feel as powerless as Thurgood Marshall once felt.

THE HIGHEST TRIBUTE

THURGOOD MARSHALL'S LIFE, LEADERSHIP, AND LEGACY

Born, raised, and educated in segregated early-20th-century Baltimore, Thurgood Marshall did not allow what he saw around him to determine who he could become.

Though he was too young to make changes to the systems that kept Black people from enjoying the same rights and spaces as White people, Marshall knew that he wanted to find a way to improve the world in which he lived. It was a fateful day when he was caught misbehaving and was punished by being forced to read the U.S. Constitution. That punishment developed his interest in the law and, eventually, debate. Readers learn that not only did Marshall win the case that integrated the University of Maryland, the institution that barred him from attending its law school, but he presented several cases before the Supreme Court—including Brown v. Board of Education—before he became a justice in 1967. Marshall’s life is detailed in bite-size pieces that make this book incredibly useful for reading and research by young students. The backmatter includes a timeline of Marshall’s life, a list of his major cases, and a bibliography for further reading. Many of Freeman’s illustrations incorporate text; in one scene, a young Marshall confronts a dizzying array of “Whites Only” and “Colored Section” signs; in another, he’s framed in a crossword-puzzle grid including terms such as justice and equality. (This book was reviewed digitally with 12-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Will serve to empower children who feel as powerless as Thurgood Marshall once felt. (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-291251-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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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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A picture book more than worthy of sharing the shelf with Alan Schroeder and Jerry Pinkney’s Minty (1996) and Carole Boston...

BEFORE SHE WAS HARRIET

A memorable, lyrical reverse-chronological walk through the life of an American icon.

In free verse, Cline-Ransome narrates the life of Harriet Tubman, starting and ending with a train ride Tubman takes as an old woman. “But before wrinkles formed / and her eyes failed,” Tubman could walk tirelessly under a starlit sky. Cline-Ransome then describes the array of roles Tubman played throughout her life, including suffragist, abolitionist, Union spy, and conductor on the Underground Railroad. By framing the story around a literal train ride, the Ransomes juxtapose the privilege of traveling by rail against Harriet’s earlier modes of travel, when she repeatedly ran for her life. Racism still abounds, however, for she rides in a segregated train. While the text introduces readers to the details of Tubman’s life, Ransome’s use of watercolor—such a striking departure from his oil illustrations in many of his other picture books—reveals Tubman’s humanity, determination, drive, and hope. Ransome’s lavishly detailed and expansive double-page spreads situate young readers in each time and place as the text takes them further into the past.

A picture book more than worthy of sharing the shelf with Alan Schroeder and Jerry Pinkney’s Minty (1996) and Carole Boston Weatherford and Kadir Nelson’s Moses (2006). (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2047-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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