Inspirational if a little airbrushed.

RIGHT NOW!

REAL KIDS SPEAKING UP FOR CHANGE

Who says you need to be a grown-up to help make a change in the world? There are kids around the world making a difference, right now!

Paul profiles children notable for their bravery, leadership, intelligence, commitment to creatively solving problems, and willingness to speak to matters facing the world—especially on behalf of other children. Readers will be inspired by the blend of familiar kid activists such as Jazz Jennings, Greta Thunberg, and Malala Yousafzai with lesser-known young people like scientist Angela Zhang and community worker Jonas Corona. Also included is a two-page spread featuring 18 young people who are committed to helping animals. The profiles are short and conveyed in free-verse odes paired with prose paragraphs of facts, together briefly outlining the young person’s challenge and resolution on a full-bleed, double-page spread. Jackson’s dreamy, doe-eyed illustrations embody the optimism and hope of each profiled youngster but also often fail to convey their ferocity. Greta Thunberg sits next to a sunflower looking into the middle distance rather than facing down the U.N. General Assembly, for instance. The backmatter includes a section headed “You Can Speak Up Too! Actions Make a Difference” that answers questions about ways young people can lend their voices and efforts to help others. There’s also an author’s note, glossary, and bibliography with quote sources. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Inspirational if a little airbrushed. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-13732-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 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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Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments.

SUPERHEROES ARE EVERYWHERE

The junior senator from California introduces family and friends as everyday superheroes.

The endpapers are covered with cascades of, mostly, early childhood snapshots (“This is me contemplating the future”—caregivers of toddlers will recognize that abstracted look). In between, Harris introduces heroes in her life who have shaped her character: her mom and dad, whose superpowers were, respectively, to make her feel special and brave; an older neighbor known for her kindness; grandparents in India and Jamaica who “[stood] up for what’s right” (albeit in unspecified ways); other relatives and a teacher who opened her awareness to a wider world; and finally iconic figures such as Thurgood Marshall and Constance Baker Motley who “protected people by using the power of words and ideas” and whose examples inspired her to become a lawyer. “Heroes are…YOU!” she concludes, closing with a bulleted Hero Code and a timeline of her legal and political career that ends with her 2017 swearing-in as senator. In group scenes, some of the figures in the bright, simplistic digital illustrations have Asian features, some are in wheelchairs, nearly all are people of color. Almost all are smiling or grinning. Roe provides everyone identified as a role model with a cape and poses the author, who is seen at different ages wearing an identifying heart pin or decoration, next to each.

Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments. (Picture book/memoir. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-984837-49-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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