Pinkney and Flint have created a standout series opener.

HARRIET TUBMAN

From the She Persisted series

A loving tribute to Harriet Tubman kicks off a chapter-book series spinoff of the She Persisted books created by Chelsea Clinton and Alexandra Boiger.

There are many books written about the incredible historical figure that is Harriet Tubman. This chapter-book biography humanizes “Minty” and brings her to life in ways many other texts for children do not. With language that reflects contemporary usage (enslaved people rather than slaves in most cases) and makes clear the brutality of the period, Pinkney introduces young readers to intimate details of Tubman’s life, referring to her subject as Minty during her youth and Harriet after her marriage. Readers will meet Minty’s loving parents, Old Rit and Old Ben, wince at the cruelty of the Brodess family and other people who trafficked enslaved people, and cheer for Harriet as she navigates the complexities and intersectionality of surviving as a Black woman in the pre-emancipation United States. Pinkney’s powerful prose details Tubman’s work on the Underground Railroad and, later, as a Union spy—and her fruitless advocacy for a pension afterward. Flint’s grayscale artwork, done to emulate Boiger’s style, gracefully accompanies the writing, creating a mood that explores the gravity of Tubman’s life and deeds while still making her approachable. This is the first of 13 books, to be published one per month, that will bring the stories of monumental women to the forefront.

Pinkney and Flint have created a standout series opener. (activity guide, further reading, websites) (Biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11565-7

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE

            The legions of fans who over the years have enjoyed dePaola’s autobiographical picture books will welcome this longer gathering of reminiscences.  Writing in an authentically childlike voice, he describes watching the new house his father was building go up despite a succession of disasters, from a brush fire to the hurricane of 1938.  Meanwhile, he also introduces family, friends, and neighbors, adds Nana Fall River to his already well-known Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, remembers his first day of school (“ ‘ When do we learn to read?’  I asked.  ‘Oh, we don’t learn how to read in kindergarten.  We learn to read next year, in first grade.’  ‘Fine,’ I said.  ‘I’ll be back next year.’  And I walked right out of school.”), recalls holidays, and explains his indignation when the plot of Disney’s “Snow White” doesn’t match the story he knows.  Generously illustrated with vignettes and larger scenes, this cheery, well-knit narrative proves that an old dog can learn new tricks, and learn them surpassingly well.  (Autobiography.  7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23246-X

Page Count: 58

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1999

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There's a need for a good book for kids about Ansel Adams—and this one misses the mark.

ANTSY ANSEL

ANSEL ADAMS, A LIFE IN NATURE

This distillation of the photographer’s life and achievements focuses on his “antsy” youth and early influences.

A distracted, sickly student, Ansel reveled in nature along the beaches near his San Francisco home. He blossomed after his prescient father withdrew him from formal schooling, enabling home tutoring and such experiences as a season ticket to San Francisco’s 1915 world’s fair. Effectively employing onomatopoeia, Jenson-Elliott reveals 14-year-old Ansel’s pivotal experience at Yosemite. On a family trip, “Ansel got his first glimpse of Yosemite Valley—the ripple-rush-ROAR! of water and light! Light! Light! It was love at first sight.” In Yosemite, his parents gave him his first camera, and “he was off— Run-leap-scramble—SNAP!…Ansel’s photos became a / journal of everything he saw.” The final five double-page spreads compress 60-plus years: photography expeditions in Yosemite, marriage to Virginia Best, Adams’ government-commissioned work documenting the national parks, and the enduring importance of his photographic record of the American wild lands. Hale’s collages blend traditional and digital layering and include cropped photographic images such as Adams’ childhood home and wood-paneled station wagon. Her stylized depiction of Yosemite’s Half Dome and decision to render several iconic photographs as painterly thumbnails display a jarring disregard for Adams’ lifelong absorption with technical and visual precision.

There's a need for a good book for kids about Ansel Adams—and this one misses the mark. (biographical note, photographs with note, bibliography of adult resources, websites) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-082-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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