An inspiring account of a woman who followed her dreams.

A GIRL NAMED ROSITA

THE STORY OF RITA MORENO: ACTOR, SINGER, DANCER, TRAILBLAZER!

The story of Rosita Dolores Alverio—best known today as Rita Moreno—a girl from Puerto Rico who loved to sing and dance.

At a young age, Rosita leaves her island home with her mother to settle in New York City. Her new school is a “fortress of brick” where she is teased for “her accent, darker skin, and curly hair.” In order to speak back to the bullies, Rosita practices until her inglés is perfect; this tenacity will continue throughout her life. She starts dancing lessons at 6, and it is soon clear that “onstage, she is home.” As her dancing and acting careers progress, gender and ethnic stereotypes pen her in. She must put on a fake accent to play stereotypically exotic parts. Finally, the role of a strong Puerto Rican woman comes, and it is hers: Anita in West Side Story. For this she wins the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, the first Latinx performer to ever win an Oscar. It is here that the story ends, though the backmatter includes an author’s note and timeline that show that Rosita—now Rita—continues a life of professional successes and lifelong political activism. Espinosa’s illustrations are as vibrant as the character he portrays. Rosita and her mother have beige skin and black hair, and the New Yorkers are multiethnic, but the people—mostly men—that surround her in Hollywood are White.

An inspiring account of a woman who followed her dreams. (Picture book/biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-287770-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments.

SUPERHEROES ARE EVERYWHERE

The junior senator from California introduces family and friends as everyday superheroes.

The endpapers are covered with cascades of, mostly, early childhood snapshots (“This is me contemplating the future”—caregivers of toddlers will recognize that abstracted look). In between, Harris introduces heroes in her life who have shaped her character: her mom and dad, whose superpowers were, respectively, to make her feel special and brave; an older neighbor known for her kindness; grandparents in India and Jamaica who “[stood] up for what’s right” (albeit in unspecified ways); other relatives and a teacher who opened her awareness to a wider world; and finally iconic figures such as Thurgood Marshall and Constance Baker Motley who “protected people by using the power of words and ideas” and whose examples inspired her to become a lawyer. “Heroes are…YOU!” she concludes, closing with a bulleted Hero Code and a timeline of her legal and political career that ends with her 2017 swearing-in as senator. In group scenes, some of the figures in the bright, simplistic digital illustrations have Asian features, some are in wheelchairs, nearly all are people of color. Almost all are smiling or grinning. Roe provides everyone identified as a role model with a cape and poses the author, who is seen at different ages wearing an identifying heart pin or decoration, next to each.

Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments. (Picture book/memoir. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-984837-49-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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This heartwarming story of a boy and his beloved dog opens the door for further study of our 16th president.

HONEY, THE DOG WHO SAVED ABE LINCOLN

A slice of Abraham Lincoln’s childhood life is explored through a fictionalized anecdote about his dog Honey.

When 7-year-old Abe rescues a golden-brown dog with a broken leg, he takes the pup home to the Lincolns’ cabin in Knob Creek, Kentucky. Honey follows Abe everywhere, including trailing after his owner into a deep cave. When Abe gets stuck between rocks, Honey goes for help and leads a search party back to the trapped boy for a dramatic rescue. The source for this story was a book incorporating the memories of Abe’s boyhood friend, explained in an author’s note. The well-paced text includes invented dialogue attributed to Abe and his parents. Abe’s older sister, Sarah, is not mentioned in the text and is shown in the illustrations as a little girl younger than Abe. All the characters present white save for one black man in the rescue crew. An oversized format and multiple double-page spreads provide plenty of space for cartoon-style illustrations of the Lincoln cabin, the surrounding countryside, and the spooky cave where Abe was trapped. This story focuses on the incident in the cave and Abe’s rescue; a more complete look at Lincoln’s life is included in an appended timeline and the author’s note, both of which include references to Lincoln’s kindness to animals and to other pets he owned.

This heartwarming story of a boy and his beloved dog opens the door for further study of our 16th president. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-269900-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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