Go-girl power and a good read.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

SOME GIRLS ARE BORN TO LEAD

The strong roots of a presidential hopeful.

Growing up in the 1950s meant coming of age in a “man’s world,” but not for Hillary Rodham. She was active in school, motivated, and never a fashionista. Outspoken in college and interested in social causes, she became a lawyer and married Bill Clinton. As first lady she espoused a political and social welfare agenda and went on to become one of New York’s senators and—two times now—a candidate for president of the United States. Markel, clearly an admirer, presents Clinton’s life as part and parcel of the women’s movement for empowerment, writing throughout in a very lively voice. Pham’s artwork is the real vote-getter. With a colorful palette, she presents Clinton’s personal and professional sides. Scenes of campus activism, facing unfriendly crowds, taking to the podium, and meeting with world figures fill the busy pages. Both for fun and education are two double-page tableaux. The first features men of achievement in muted tones of gray and brown while a young Hillary in Scout uniform stands arms akimbo. The second showcases great women with Clinton dressed in a trademark red pantsuit. Those who need help identifying faces in either will find keys in the back of the book.

Go-girl power and a good read. (timeline, artist’s note, selected bibliography) (Picture books/biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-238122-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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A picture book worth reading about a historical figure worth remembering.

THE AMAZING AGE OF JOHN ROY LYNCH

An honestly told biography of an important politician whose name every American should know.

Published while the United States has its first African-American president, this story of John Roy Lynch, the first African-American speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives, lays bare the long and arduous path black Americans have walked to obtain equality. The title’s first three words—“The Amazing Age”—emphasize how many more freedoms African-Americans had during Reconstruction than for decades afterward. Barton and Tate do not shy away from honest depictions of slavery, floggings, the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow laws, or the various means of intimidation that whites employed to prevent blacks from voting and living lives equal to those of whites. Like President Barack Obama, Lynch was of biracial descent; born to an enslaved mother and an Irish father, he did not know hard labor until his slave mistress asked him a question that he answered honestly. Freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, Lynch had a long and varied career that points to his resilience and perseverance. Tate’s bright watercolor illustrations often belie the harshness of what takes place within them; though this sometimes creates a visual conflict, it may also make the book more palatable for young readers unaware of the violence African-Americans have suffered than fully graphic images would. A historical note, timeline, author’s and illustrator’s notes, bibliography and map are appended.

A picture book worth reading about a historical figure worth remembering. (Picture book biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5379-0

Page Count: 50

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE

            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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