THE TRAVELING CAMERA

LEWIS HINE AND THE FIGHT TO END CHILD LABOR

A searching picture of a pioneering social crusader.

A tribute to the self-taught photographer who sparked real reform by turning faceless masses of abused workers into children with names and histories.

Incorporating Hine’s voice and some of his actual words (signaled with italics) into her free-verse monologue, Hinrichs highlights both his purposes—“I want to show their hard work / their hard lives” and also “their spirit. Because / the human spirit / is the big thing / after all”—and his methods of getting past suspicious factory overseers and of connecting with child workers in settings from cranberry bogs and canneries to coal mines. Garland’s harmoniously toned painted images of a slender, deceptively inoffensive-looking White figure using an awkward box camera to take pictures of solemn children, most but not all White, with downcast eyes and patchy period clothes meld gradually toward the end into Hine’s actual work (he called them “Hineographs”). More than 30 in all, they appear in a gallery that goes to the rear endpapers and are accompanied by a prose recap that downplays but at least mentions his quaint views on gender roles plus the fact that he took relatively few pictures of Black children and almost none of Asians. Russell Freedman’s Kids At Work (1994) explores his life and legacy in greater detail, but there’s enough here to leave even younger readers moved by his mission and his timeless portraits.

A searching picture of a pioneering social crusader. (chronology, source list, endnotes) (Picture book/biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-947440-06-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Getty Publications

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

JACKIE ROBINSON

AMERICAN HERO

It’s an often-told story, but the author is still in a position to give it a unique perspective.

The author of Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America (2004) tells her father’s tale again, for younger readers.

Though using a less personal tone this time and referring to herself in the third person, Robinson still devotes as much attention to his family life, youth and post-baseball career as she does to his achievements on the field. Writing in short sentences and simple language, she presents a clear picture of the era’s racial attitudes and the pressures he faced both in the military service and in baseball—offering plenty of clear reasons to regard him not just as a champion athlete, but as a hero too. An early remark about how he ran with “a bunch of black, Japanese, and Mexican boys” while growing up in Pasadena is insensitively phrased, and a sweeping claim that by 1949 “[t]he racial tension was broken” in baseball is simplistic. Nevertheless, by and large her account covers the bases adequately. The many photos include an admixture of family snapshots, and a closing Q-and-A allows the author to announce the imminent release of a new feature film about Robinson.

It’s an often-told story, but the author is still in a position to give it a unique perspective. (Biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-54006-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

WALT DISNEY

DRAWN FROM IMAGINATION

A squeaky-clean biography of the original Mouseketeer.

Scollon begins with the (to say the least) arguable claim that Disney grew up to “define and shape what would come to be known as the American Century.” Following this, he retraces Disney’s life and career, characterizing him as a visionary whose only real setbacks came from excess ambition or at the hands of unscrupulous film distributors. Disney’s brother Roy appears repeatedly to switch between roles as encourager and lead doubter, but except in chapters covering his childhood, the rest of his family only puts in occasional cameos. Unsurprisingly, there is no mention of Disney’s post–World War II redbaiting, and his most controversial film, Song of the South, gets only a single reference (and that with a positive slant). More puzzling is the absence of Mary Poppins from the tally of Disney triumphs. Still, readers will come away with a good general picture of the filmmaking and animation techniques that Disney pioneered, as well as a highlight history of his studio, television work and amusement parks. Discussion questions are appended: “What do you think were Walt Disney’s greatest accomplishments and why?” Brown’s illustrations not seen. An iconic success story that has often been told before but rarely so one-dimensionally or with such firm adherence to the company line. (bibliography) (Biography. 8-10)

 

Pub Date: July 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9647-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Disney Press

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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