A book to share about book-sharing at its best.


A book-sized celebration and history of the Little Free Library movement.

Paul’s heartfelt text delivers the story behind Todd Bol’s founding of the Little Free Library nonprofit, which began as a tribute to his late mother in his home state of Wisconsin and has since spread around the world. Bol (who passed away in 2018 just weeks after a cancer diagnosis) built his first little library with discarded lumber, placing it at the edge of his yard and filling it with books for passersby to borrow. After seeing how it “became the center of [the] neighborhood” Bol approached his friend Rick Brooks for advice about how to spread what they came to call “Little Free Libraries” to other communities. Paul’s text details the ups and downs of their grassroots efforts, noting that they were inspired by librarian Lutie Stearns, “who brought travelling libraries all over Wisconsin,” and Andrew Carnegie, “who once built 2,510 libraries!” Parra’s accompanying illustrations, rendered in acrylics, depict Bol and Brooks, both white men, and the diverse people from across the United States and around the world who became “stewards,” or “community heroes” in the words of the text, of their own Little Free Libraries. Their flat aesthetic has something of a DIY/painted-on-lumber appearance, which adds to the homespun feeling of the text and the very movement that inspired it.

A book to share about book-sharing at its best. (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-544-80027-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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


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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A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared.


Former Poet Laureate Herrera encourages his young readers to imagine all they might be in his new picture book.

Herrera’s free verse tells his own story, starting as a young boy who loves the plants and animals he finds outdoors in the California fields and is then thrust into the barren, concrete city. In the city he begins to learn to read and write, learning English and discovering a love for words and the way ink flows “like tiny rivers” across the page as he applies pen to paper. Words soon become sentences, poems, lyrics, and a means of escape. This love of the word ultimately leads him to make writing his vocation and to become the first Chicano Poet Laureate of the United States, an honor Herrera received in 2015. Through this story of hardship to success, expressed in a series of conditional statements that all begin “If I,” Herrera implores his readers to “imagine what you could do.” Castillo’s ink and foam monoprint illustrations are a tender accompaniment to Herrera’s verse, the black lines of her illustrations flowing across the page in rhythm with the author’s poetry. Together this makes for a charming read-aloud for groups or a child snuggled in a lap.

A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared. (Picture book/memoir. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9052-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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