Ably makes useful connections.

THE RABBI AND THE REVEREND

JOACHIM PRINZ, MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., AND THEIR FIGHT AGAINST SILENCE

Two activists’ paths overlap as they call out systems of injustice.

Joachim Prinz was born in 1902 in Germany, and he became the country’s youngest rabbi in 1926. When Adolf Hitler came to power, Prinz spoke up against antisemitism and was arrested several times before finally leaving Germany for the United States in 1937—where he was dismayed to find Black people being deprived of equal rights, as Jews had been in Germany. Meanwhile, Martin Luther King Jr. experienced segregation as a boy in the 1930s. When he became a leader of the civil rights movement, the two leaders met, supported each other, and fought together. The juxtaposition of these two leaders’ paths and the explanation of what their causes, beliefs, and communities had in common is, in Ades’ hands, a well-woven historical tale that is worth sharing and spreading. The culmination of the story in 1963 at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom allows young readers to see both that King was not the only speaker at that famous event and that those by his side had also worked for years. The illustrations focus largely on the main figures but also offer scenes of daily life in Germany and the United States. Scenes of protest are styled, scrapbooklike, as black-and-white faux photos against monochromatic backgrounds. Details from each leader’s childhood add depth to their stories, and the focus on silence as the enemy points to readers’ responsibility to speak up against injustice.

Ably makes useful connections. (timeline, glossary, resources) (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-54158-976-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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Lovely illustrations wasted on this misguided project.

LUNAR NEW YEAR

From the Celebrate the World series

The Celebrate the World series spotlights Lunar New Year.

This board book blends expository text and first-person-plural narrative, introducing readers to the holiday. Chau’s distinctive, finely textured watercolor paintings add depth, transitioning smoothly from a grand cityscape to the dining room table, from fantasies of the past to dumplings of the present. The text attempts to provide a broad look at the subject, including other names for the celebration, related cosmology, and historical background, as well as a more-personal discussion of traditions and practices. Yet it’s never clear who the narrator is—while the narrative indicates the existence of some consistent, monolithic group who participates in specific rituals of celebration (“Before the new year celebrations begin, we clean our homes—and ourselves!”), the illustrations depict different people in every image. Indeed, observances of Lunar New Year are as diverse as the people who celebrate it, which neither the text nor the images—all of the people appear to be Asian—fully acknowledges. Also unclear is the book’s intended audience. With large blocks of explication on every spread, it is entirely unappealing for the board-book set, and the format may make it equally unattractive to an older, more appropriate audience. Still, readers may appreciate seeing an important celebration warmly and vibrantly portrayed.

Lovely illustrations wasted on this misguided project. (Board book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3303-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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A lovely 20th-anniversary tribute to the towers and all who perished—and survived.

SURVIVOR TREE

A remarkable tree stands where the twin towers of the World Trade Center once soared.

Through simple, tender text, readers learn the life-affirming story of a Callery pear tree that grew and today still flourishes “at the foot of the towers.” The author eloquently describes the pre-9/11 life of the “Survivor Tree” and its heartening, nearly decadelong journey to renewal following its recovery from the wreckage of the towers’ destruction. By tracking the tree’s journey through the natural cycle of seasonal changes and colors after it was found beneath “the blackened remains,” she tells how, after replanting and with loving care (at a nursery in the Bronx), the tree managed miraculously to flourish again. Retransplanted at the Sept. 11 memorial, it valiantly stands today, a symbol of new life and resilience. Hazy, delicate watercolor-and–colored pencil artwork powerfully traces the tree’s existence before and after the towers’ collapse; early pages include several snapshotlike insets capturing people enjoying the outdoors through the seasons. Scenes depicting the towers’ ruins are aptly somber yet hopeful, as they show the crushed tree still defiantly alive. The vivid changes that new seasons introduce are lovingly presented, reminding readers that life unceasingly renews itself. Many paintings are cast in a rosy glow, symbolizing that even the worst disasters can bring forth hope. People depicted are racially diverse. Backmatter material includes additional facts about the tree.

A lovely 20th-anniversary tribute to the towers and all who perished—and survived. (author's note, artist's note) (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-48767-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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