A sunny surf vacation from start to finish.

SARAH AND THE BIG WAVE

THE TRUE STORY OF THE FIRST WOMAN TO SURF MAVERICKS

Sarah Gerhardt is not afraid of heights or speed.

Sarah, whose surname is not provided until the end, began surfing at a young age in Hawaii and quickly learned that she loved surfing big waves most of all, waves as high as 50 feet tall! She learned how to calmly hold her breath when she fell and to be patient finding surfing companions at a time when surfing was a male-dominated sport. Like many girls and women across sports, she had to wear gear and use equipment designed for boys and men. When she moved to California as an adult, she was determined to conquer the Mavericks surf break, and in 1999, she became the first woman to do so, demonstrating that victories can happen every day, not just at major competitions. Diao’s illustrations are extraordinary. Emphasizing the breathtaking landscapes, they treat readers to mostly double-page spreads that allow them to feel like they are in the middle of the ocean with Sarah, who presents White. A stormy scene evokes Hokusai’s Great Wave print. Tsui’s present-tense text effectively conveys Sarah’s determination as well as the excitement of the sport, occasionally ranging to provide needed context, such as the atmospheric conditions that make big waves. A concluding timeline of surfing provides tidbits of Hawaii’s history and indicates that professional surfing is way behind in its quest for equality. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 41.2% of actual size.)

A sunny surf vacation from start to finish. (timeline) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-23948-8

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images.

THURGOOD

The life journey of the first African American to serve on the United States Supreme Court and the incidents that formed him.

Thurgood Marshall grew up in segregated Baltimore, Maryland, with a family that encouraged him to stand for justice. Despite attending poor schools, he found a way to succeed. His father instilled in him a love of the law and encouraged him to argue like a lawyer during dinner conversations. His success in college meant he could go to law school, but the University of Maryland did not accept African American students. Instead, Marshall went to historically black Howard University, where he was mentored by civil rights lawyer Charles Houston. Marshall’s first major legal case was against the law school that denied him a place, and his success brought him to the attention of the NAACP and ultimately led to his work on the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education, which itself led to his appointment to the Supreme Court. This lively narrative serves as an introduction to the life of one of the country’s important civil rights figures. Important facts in Marshall’s life are effectively highlighted in an almost staccato fashion. The bold watercolor-and-collage illustrations, beginning with an enticing cover, capture and enhance the strong tone set by the words.

A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images. (author’s note, photos) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6533-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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A picture book more than worthy of sharing the shelf with Alan Schroeder and Jerry Pinkney’s Minty (1996) and Carole Boston...

BEFORE SHE WAS HARRIET

A memorable, lyrical reverse-chronological walk through the life of an American icon.

In free verse, Cline-Ransome narrates the life of Harriet Tubman, starting and ending with a train ride Tubman takes as an old woman. “But before wrinkles formed / and her eyes failed,” Tubman could walk tirelessly under a starlit sky. Cline-Ransome then describes the array of roles Tubman played throughout her life, including suffragist, abolitionist, Union spy, and conductor on the Underground Railroad. By framing the story around a literal train ride, the Ransomes juxtapose the privilege of traveling by rail against Harriet’s earlier modes of travel, when she repeatedly ran for her life. Racism still abounds, however, for she rides in a segregated train. While the text introduces readers to the details of Tubman’s life, Ransome’s use of watercolor—such a striking departure from his oil illustrations in many of his other picture books—reveals Tubman’s humanity, determination, drive, and hope. Ransome’s lavishly detailed and expansive double-page spreads situate young readers in each time and place as the text takes them further into the past.

A picture book more than worthy of sharing the shelf with Alan Schroeder and Jerry Pinkney’s Minty (1996) and Carole Boston Weatherford and Kadir Nelson’s Moses (2006). (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2047-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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