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Will inspire young readers to stay true to themselves.

Ernest “Ernie” Barnes was teased for his love for art and indifference to sports; despite this, Ernie found a way to satisfy his love of art and stop the teasing.

This biography begins with Barnes’ early life in segregated Durham, North Carolina, where he was singled out by classmates for his lack of athletic ability. In junior high, Barnes joined his school’s football team but later quit. In high school, coaches recruited Barnes due to his size, and after taking up weight training, he became a powerhouse player. His incredible talent on the field led to college scholarships and, eventually, spots on several pro teams. At the end of his athletic career, Barnes decided to return to art full time and held his first art show while employed as an artist for the New York Jets. Barnes’ paintings were featured in art shows across the country and appeared on the TV show Good Times, a show Barnes also appeared on and that young Tate watched regularly. Via quotations, Tate weaves Barnes’ own voice into his smoothly told narrative, to great effect. Tate’s illustrations are a bit of a departure from his characteristic style, using matte surfaces and collage to evoke Barnes’ times. A scene of Barnes in uniform, sketching on the sidelines, says it all. A conversational afterword and author’s note flesh out Barnes’ life and describe Tate’s process. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Will inspire young readers to stay true to themselves. (source notes, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4943-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses.

An NBA star pays tribute to the influence of his grandfather.

In the same vein as his Long Shot (2009), illustrated by Frank Morrison, this latest from Paul prioritizes values and character: “My granddad Papa Chilly had dreams that came true,” he writes, “so maybe if I listen and watch him, / mine will too.” So it is that the wide-eyed Black child in the simply drawn illustrations rises early to get to the playground hoops before anyone else, watches his elder working hard and respecting others, hears him cheering along with the rest of the family from the stands during games, and recalls in a prose afterword that his grandfather wasn’t one to lecture but taught by example. Paul mentions in both the text and the backmatter that Papa Chilly was the first African American to own a service station in North Carolina (his presumed dream) but not that he was killed in a robbery, which has the effect of keeping the overall tone positive and the instructional content one-dimensional. Figures in the pictures are mostly dark-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-81003-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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An inspiring introduction to the young Nobel Peace Prize winner and a useful conversation starter.

The latest of many picture books about the young heroine from Pakistan, this one is narrated by Malala herself, with a frame that is accessible to young readers.

Malala introduces her story using a television show she used to watch about a boy with a magic pencil that he used to get himself and his friends out of trouble. Readers can easily follow Malala through her own discovery of troubles in her beloved home village, such as other children not attending school and soldiers taking over the village. Watercolor-and-ink illustrations give a strong sense of setting, while gold ink designs overlay Malala’s hopes onto her often dreary reality. The story makes clear Malala’s motivations for taking up the pen to tell the world about the hardships in her village and only alludes to the attempt on her life, with a black page (“the dangerous men tried to silence me. / But they failed”) and a hospital bracelet on her wrist the only hints of the harm that came to her. Crowds with signs join her call before she is shown giving her famous speech before the United Nations. Toward the end of the book, adult readers may need to help children understand Malala’s “work,” but the message of holding fast to courage and working together is powerful and clear.

An inspiring introduction to the young Nobel Peace Prize winner and a useful conversation starter. (Picture book/memoir. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-31957-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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