A necessary testament to the power of children’s voices.



A girl with cerebral palsy fights for the 1990 passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Whether she’s horseback riding or starting kindergarten, Jennifer Keelan’s “ready to GO!” But all around her, places and people demand that she “STOP!” From her wheelchair, a 4-inch curb is a “cliff,” and she’s not allowed to join her classmates in the cafeteria. Everything changes when Jennifer—knowing that “children with disabilities get ignored too”—joins a diverse group of disability rights activists. When Jennifer is 8, activists propose the ADA to “make room for all people, including those with disabilities.” Dismissed by Congress, disabled activists crawl up the steps of the Capitol to be heard. When grown-ups say she’s too young to participate, Jennifer drags herself “ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP” on behalf of disabled kids everywhere. Ali’s soft-focus illustrations deftly convey Jennifer’s determined scowl and excited grin. Pimentel realistically acknowledges that the ADA hasn’t fixed everything—“Slowest of all, minds have to change”—but in her foreword, the adult Jennifer—now Keelan-Chaffins—notes that she keeps “using [her] voice to speak up” and encourages readers to do likewise. Backmatter further discusses disabilities, the disability rights movement, and the ADA. Front- and backmatter seem geared toward older readers, who may find the main text a tad too simple; those wanting more information should follow this up with Amy Hayes’ Disability Rights Movement (2017). Jennifer and her family present white; classmates’ and activists’ races vary.

A necessary testament to the power of children’s voices. (notes, timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 4-10)

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8897-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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A worthy introduction to this master artist.


Claude Monet spends an early morning in his “studio boat,” painting scenes of the Seine.

Rosenstock and GrandPré, who’ve amply demonstrated their ability to distill an artist’s work into a rich essence for young readers with biographies of Kandinsky, Van Gogh, and Chagall, now describe an imagined morning in the life of Monet, a founding impressionist. Here, the painter, now rich and famous, sets off to work at 3:30 a.m. In her respectful narrative, the writer’s word choice is precise and revealing. Monet “clambers aboard” his boat and counts his canvases in French: “un, deux, trois, quatre.” Rosenstock describes his working process, “painting the river’s colors, and the air around the colors,” and she weaves in some historical background. GrandPré’s illustrations, painted with acrylics, support and enhance the text. Readers see an older White man with a lush white beard and the “broad belly” and “sturdy legs” of the text. Toward the end, one particularly appealing spread shows Monet’s tools—the canvas, the palette, the brushes—and the artist, satisfied with his morning’s work. The colors are astonishing: from the bright aquamarine of the cover, the faintly violet dawn, the pinks, yellows, and oranges of the sunlight, and the tea-colored interiors. Always, there are brush strokes of other colors visible. An informative author’s note extends the artist’s biography, but the picture of his life painted in this single encounter is sufficient. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 63% of actual size.)

A worthy introduction to this master artist. (sources, acknowledgments) (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-70817-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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


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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