This will pique readers’ curiosity (and hopefully their gratitude at their privilege) but does not answer all the questions...

ADVENTURES TO SCHOOL

REAL-LIFE JOURNEYS OF STUDENTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

U.S. readers who jump on a bus or walk a few blocks will marvel at what kids around the world will do to get an education.

In Canada, the child narrator helps his sisters onto the toboggan and then climbs on the snowmobile behind Grandpa. The four cross the frozen lake to the closest school, in Minnesota. In Bolivia, a teleférico connects two of the highest cities in the world, and it’s used daily by over 3,000 students. Other methods include a rickshaw (depicted here as a vehicle that looks like a cross between a jeep and an SUV) in Pakistan, a Japanese bullet train, and a motorbike (one adult and four children onboard!) in Cameroon. The Ethiopian and Ukrainian children face political and social dangers on their walks, and the rural Kenyan students must avoid Africa’s Big Five. Each journey’s description is allotted a double-page spread with a large illustration and the country’s flag. The sidebars at the edges, though, are often a jumble of unrelated facts that, though positive and possibly surprising to U.S. readers, add little. Many of the tales beg for more detail, and readers will feel the lack of a map and glossary. Backmatter includes a select bibliography of 49 resources and an update of some dangerous journeys previously broadcast on the internet. An authors’ note explains that the stories are composites and that they do not represent an entire country or even one specific season.

This will pique readers’ curiosity (and hopefully their gratitude at their privilege) but does not answer all the questions they will surely have. (Informational picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0665-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants.

A WORLD TOGETHER

Large color photographs (occasionally composed of montages) and accessible, simple text highlight global similarities and differences, always focusing on our universal connections.

While child readers may not recognize Manzano, the Puerto Rican actress who played Maria on Sesame Street, adults will recognize her as a trusted diverse voice. In her endnote, she explains her desire to “encourage lively conversations about shared experiences.” Starting out with the familiar, home and community, the text begins with “How many WONDERFUL PEOPLE do you know?” Then it moves out to the world: “Did you know there are about 8 BILLION PEOPLE on the planet?” The photo essay features the usual concrete similarities and differences found in many books of this type, such as housing (a Mongolian yurt opposite a Hong Kong apartment building overlooking a basketball court), food (dumplings, pizza, cotton candy, a churro, etc.), and school. Manzano also makes sure to point out likenesses in emotions, as shown in a montage of photos from countries including China, Spain, Kashmir (Pakistan/India), and the United States. At the end, a world map and thumbnail images show the locations of all photos, revealing a preponderance of examples from the U.S. and a slight underrepresentation for Africa and South America.

Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3738-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 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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