A beautiful pairing of words and images that highlights a remarkable life.

Coretta Scott King’s embrace of her husband’s legacy was one of many ways she fought injustice.

Though young Coretta’s family owned land, they were not exempt from the racial injustice of 1930s and ’40s Alabama: overcrowded segregated schools; her family home and her father’s lumber mill being burned to the ground. Still, they persevered. After excelling in high school, Coretta attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. When she was denied the opportunity to do her practice teaching in the white public schools, she fought back. After college, Coretta moved to Boston to study music at the New England Conservatory, where she met Martin Luther King Jr., a doctoral student at Boston University. They married and moved to Montgomery, Alabama, and as she raised their growing family, she also supported her husband in his philosophy of nonviolent resistance and sought to speak out for international peace. When Dr. King was killed in 1968, Mrs. King intensified her efforts in support of freedom for all and pushed for a national holiday to honor his life’s work. Duncan depicts Coretta’s path through both verse and prose; the many poetic forms she employs reflect the complexities of her subject’s life, and the strong prose gives a clear picture of her determined personality. Christie’s impressionistic mixed-media watercolor illustrations are stunning, beginning with the powerful cover that immediately commands attention. Exuding emotion, each image perfectly complements the intriguing text. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A beautiful pairing of words and images that highlights a remarkable life. (timeline, author’s note, bibliography, text and picture credits) (Picture-book biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9781662680045

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Astra Books for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2023


A pivotal moment in a child’s life, at once stirring and authentically personal.

Before growing up to become a major figure in the civil rights movement, a boy finds a role model.

Buffing up a childhood tale told by her renowned father, Young Shelton describes how young Andrew saw scary men marching in his New Orleans neighborhood (“It sounded like they were yelling ‘Hi, Hitler!’ ”). In response to his questions, his father took him to see a newsreel of Jesse Owens (“a runner who looked like me”) triumphing in the 1936 Olympics. “Racism is a sickness,” his father tells him. “We’ve got to help folks like that.” How? “Well, you can start by just being the best person you can be,” his father replies. “It’s what you do that counts.” In James’ hazy chalk pastels, Andrew joins racially diverse playmates (including a White child with an Irish accent proudly displaying the nickel he got from his aunt as a bribe to stop playing with “those Colored boys”) in tag and other games, playing catch with his dad, sitting in the midst of a cheering crowd in the local theater’s segregated balcony, and finally visualizing himself pelting down a track alongside his new hero—“head up, back straight, eyes focused,” as a thematically repeated line has it, on the finish line. An afterword by Young Shelton explains that she retold this story, told to her many times growing up, drawing from conversations with Young and from her own research; family photos are also included. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A pivotal moment in a child’s life, at once stirring and authentically personal. (illustrator’s note) (Autobiographical picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-545-55465-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022



An irrepressibly joyous tale of a woman who reached for—and attained—the stars.

Sullivan, who, in 1984, became the first woman to walk in space, shares her journey.

Born in 1951, Sullivan was interested in science from an early age. In an era when girls were not encouraged to be scientists, she persevered and became a geologist, then an oceanographer. When, in 1977, NASA at last allowed women to apply for the astronaut program, Sullivan was picked (she was also offered the job of going down in a submersible to the deepest part of the ocean and had to choose between the two options). Addressing readers as if they’re also taking part in her astronaut training and space shuttle travel, she discusses the ins and outs of the spacesuit she wore. To simulate a lack of gravity, she trained in the world’s largest pool, which contained a life-size replica of the space shuttle. Sullivan also explains what it felt like to be strapped in and waiting for liftoff and what it was like to walk in space. The book relies on a combination of photos, text, sidebars, and muted, graceful artwork from co-author and illustrator Rosen. The lively visuals are echoed by the effervescent text. While plenty of intriguing facts are presented, this is also an empowering and uplifting account of a woman achieving her dreams—and encouraging readers to live the “life you invent.” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An irrepressibly joyous tale of a woman who reached for—and attained—the stars. (author’s note from Rosen) (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: June 6, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-5362-2621-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: MIT Kids Press/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023

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