ABIGAIL ADAMS

Abigail Adams, wife and mother of American presidents, with a remarkable story of her own, gets a rather dull introduction to her life in Wallner's (Sergio and the Hurricane, 2000, etc.) picture-book biography. Wallner's text plods through Abigail's life, noting important dates and events, particularly the birth of all her children. Abigail supports her husband in his fight for independence at home, where she runs the family farm and manages the finances and her growing family. She also joins Adams in England when he is ambassador there. Later, she becomes the first president's wife to live in the White House. Abigail is shown as a strong woman, disappointed in her efforts to win a place for women and blacks in the new Constitution. Readers learn about Abigail's thoughts and personality as she matures from child to adult, from homemaker to public figure, but unfortunately we do not hear more than a few phrases in Abigail's own voice. Abigail, who is known through her many published letters, was a lively and interesting correspondent and little of that liveliness permeates this effort. The author's folkart-style illustrations depict a homely group of colonialists in pleasantly colorful detail. A timeline and bibliography would have been helpful to young researchers. This intelligent, early feminist and civil-rights advocate deserves better. (Biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: March 15, 2001

ISBN: 0-8234-1442-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2001

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Move over Ramona Quimby, Portland has another neighbor you have to meet! (Fiction. 8-10)

WAYS TO MAKE SUNSHINE

Ryan Hart is navigating the fourth grade and all its challenges with determination.

Her mom named her Ryan because it means “king,” and she wanted Ryan to feel powerful every time she heard her name; Ryan knows it means she is a leader. So when changes occur or disaster strikes, budding chef Ryan does her best to find the positive and “make sunshine.” When her dad is laid off from the post office, the family must make adjustments that include moving into a smaller house, selling their car, and changing how they shop for groceries. But Ryan gets to stay at Vernon Elementary, and her mom still finds a way to get her the ingredients she needs to practice new recipes. Her older brother, Ray, can be bossy, but he finds little ways to support her, especially when she is down—as does the whole family. Each episodic chapter confronts Ryan with a situation; intermittently funny, frustrating, and touching, they should be familiar and accessible to readers, as when Ryan fumbles her Easter speech despite careful practice. Ryan, her family, and friends are black, and Watson continues to bring visibility to both Portland, Oregon, generally and its black community specifically, making another wonderful contribution that allows black readers to see themselves and all readers to find a character they can love.

Move over Ramona Quimby, Portland has another neighbor you have to meet! (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0056-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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An endlessly endearing story of three girls’ pursuit of friendship and the beauty and challenge of what it means to be 10

LIKE MAGIC

Grace, Jada, and Malia overcome fear and loneliness with the help of a mysterious treasure box.

Being 10 isn’t easy, especially when you’re painfully shy and your best friend moves away, a new baby sister is on the way, or your mom left your family when you were little. For Grace, Malia, and Jade, respectively, these challenges cloud the summer before the start of fifth grade. But when they each discover a treasure box at the local library, their lives begin to fill with bright, new possibilities for creating art and making friends. As the girls fill the special boxes with treasures of their own, they are drawn closer to one another and to finding their places in the world, at a new school, and within their own families. Alternating chapters reveal each girl’s personal struggles and the pivotal role of art—painting, music, poetry—in her growth and healing. Their stories are told in intimate detail, illuminating all that’s beautiful and tough about being 10. Based on the cover art and details from the narrative, Grace is white, Jada is black, and Malia is brown. Their differences are woven into the fabric of this touching, engrossing story about dealing with change and working through fears. The Salt Lake City, Utah, setting is fresh, the city’s landmarks and landscape adding another layer of richness to the novel.

An endlessly endearing story of three girls’ pursuit of friendship and the beauty and challenge of what it means to be 10 . (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-241431-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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