This quiet yet touching story will open young readers’ eyes in a multitude of ways.

THE WATER LADY

HOW DARLENE ARVISO HELPS A THIRSTY NAVAJO NATION

An elegant reminder that water is central to life.

Set on the sprawling Diné reservation, this beautifully illustrated picture book will educate young readers about the beauty and rigors of life on the high-desert plateau. Young Cody wakes up thirsty, but the cup near his bed is empty, as is the water bucket his mother relies on in the kitchen. His older siblings head off to catch the school bus, and Cody runs to check on the water barrels outside. It’s a scorching hot day. The land is dry. The horses, chickens, and dogs are thirsty, too. But Cody’s family, like many families on his reservation, do not have running water, and they must wait for the water lady, Darlene, to replenish their stores. Begay’s watercolors capture the mauve and pink hues of the juniper and piñon arroyos, bespeaking his #ownvoices knowledge of Navajo Nation. The velvet dresses, turquoise jewelry, and artwork on walls reveal a sovereign people with ancient ties to the land. With lyrical language and friendly faces emerging on each page, it is the image of the water lady, moving from her job driving a yellow school bus to her job driving a yellow water truck, that will stick in the minds of readers, revealing the conservationists’ spirit that still pervades in a simple Diné lifestyle. An author’s note addresses the fight for wells and more readily available water; it’s followed by a note from Darlene Arviso herself. A list of sources and a well-placed glossary seal the deal. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 39.3% of actual size.)

This quiet yet touching story will open young readers’ eyes in a multitude of ways. (author's note, sources, glossary) (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: March 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-64500-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images.

THURGOOD

The life journey of the first African American to serve on the United States Supreme Court and the incidents that formed him.

Thurgood Marshall grew up in segregated Baltimore, Maryland, with a family that encouraged him to stand for justice. Despite attending poor schools, he found a way to succeed. His father instilled in him a love of the law and encouraged him to argue like a lawyer during dinner conversations. His success in college meant he could go to law school, but the University of Maryland did not accept African American students. Instead, Marshall went to historically black Howard University, where he was mentored by civil rights lawyer Charles Houston. Marshall’s first major legal case was against the law school that denied him a place, and his success brought him to the attention of the NAACP and ultimately led to his work on the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education, which itself led to his appointment to the Supreme Court. This lively narrative serves as an introduction to the life of one of the country’s important civil rights figures. Important facts in Marshall’s life are effectively highlighted in an almost staccato fashion. The bold watercolor-and-collage illustrations, beginning with an enticing cover, capture and enhance the strong tone set by the words.

A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images. (author’s note, photos) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6533-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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A likable journey that is sensitive to the triumphs and agonies of being a 13-year-old girl.

FRIENDS FOREVER

From the Friends series , Vol. 3

Shannon just wants to get through eighth grade in one piece—while feeling like her own worst enemy.

In this third entry in popular author for young people Hale’s graphic memoir series, the young, sensitive overachiever is crushed by expectations: to be cool but loyal to her tightknit and dramatic friend group, a top student but not a nerd, attractive to boys but true to her ideals. As events in Shannon’s life begin to overwhelm her, she works toward finding a way to love and understand herself, follow her passions for theater and writing, and ignore her cruel inner voice. Capturing the visceral embarrassments of middle school in 1987 Salt Lake City, Shannon’s emotions are vivid and often excruciating. In particular, the social norms of a church-oriented family are clearly addressed, and religion is shown as being both a comfort and a struggle for Shannon. While the text is sometimes in danger of spelling things out a little too neatly and obviously, the emotional honesty and sincerity drawn from Hale’s own life win out. Pham’s artwork is vibrant and appealing, with stylistic changes for Shannon’s imaginings and the leeching out of color and use of creative panel structures as her anxiety and depression worsen.

A likable journey that is sensitive to the triumphs and agonies of being a 13-year-old girl. (author's note, gallery) (Graphic memoir. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-31755-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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