She has been a ballerina, a teacher, a Cuban and a role model for those with handicaps. Truly a noteworthy life, poignantly...

READ REVIEW

ALICIA ALONSO

PRIMA BALLERINA

A biography in poems and pictures of the prima ballerina assoluta of Cuba, who thrilled audiences for decades with her extraordinary technique and beautiful interpretations of Giselle and other classics.

Alonso danced flamenco as a child, but because “ballet dancing / tastes better / than chocolate ice cream,” she chose it as her lifelong passion. Loss of peripheral vision early in her career and, years later, near total blindness never deterred her. After wooing audiences in New York City and across America, she returned to Cuba in 1959 when Fidel Castro funded her Ballet National de Cuba and remained steadfastly and controversially loyal to him and his government. America closed its doors to her until a triumphant return to New York in 1975 in Swan Lake. Bernier-Grand writes in short, free-verse vignettes that beautifully capture each step in Alonso’s personal life and career. Particularly touching is the poem "Dancing Fingers," which describes Alonso dancing Giselle with her fingers as she lies in bed with bandaged eyes after surgery. Colón’s signature scratchboard illustrations in warm tones of blue, green and gold capture the colors of Cuba, the ethereal stage settings of Alonso’s greatest triumphs and her elegance and grandeur.

She has been a ballerina, a teacher, a Cuban and a role model for those with handicaps. Truly a noteworthy life, poignantly rendered here. (notes, bibliography) (Picture books/biography. 8-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7614-5562-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A stellar collaboration that introduces an important and intriguing individual to today’s readers.

BECOMING MUHAMMAD ALI

From the Becoming Ali series , Vol. 1

Two bestselling authors imagine the boyhood of the man who became the legendary boxing icon Muhammad Ali.

Cassius was a spirited child growing up in segregated Louisville, Kentucky. He had a loving home with his parents and younger brother, Rudy. Granddaddy Herman also was an important figure, imparting life lessons. His parents wanted him to succeed in school, but Cassius had difficulty reading and found more pleasure in playing and exploring outdoors. Early on, he and Rudy knew the restrictions of being African American, for example, encountering “Whites Only” signs at parks, but the brothers dreamed of fame like that enjoyed by Black boxer Joe Louis. Popular Cassius was especially close to Lucius “Lucky” Wakely; despite their academic differences, their deep connection remained after Lucky received a scholarship to a Catholic school. When Cassius wandered into the Columbia Boxing Gym, it seemed to be destiny, and he developed into a successful youth boxer. Told in two voices, with prose for the voice of Lucky and free verse for Cassius, the narrative provides readers with a multidimensional view of the early life of and influences on an important figure in sports and social change. Lucky’s observations give context while Cassius’ poetry encapsulates his drive, energy, and gift with words. Combined with dynamic illustrations by Anyabwile, the book captures the historical and social environment that produced Muhammad Ali.

A stellar collaboration that introduces an important and intriguing individual to today’s readers. (bibliography) (Biographical novel. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-49816-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An endearing protagonist runs the first, fast leg of Reynolds' promising relay.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2016

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • National Book Award Finalist

GHOST

From the Track series , Vol. 1

Castle “Ghost” Cranshaw feels like he’s been running ever since his dad pulled that gun on him and his mom—and used it.

His dad’s been in jail three years now, but Ghost still feels the trauma, which is probably at the root of the many “altercations” he gets into at middle school. When he inserts himself into a practice for a local elite track team, the Defenders, he’s fast enough that the hard-as-nails coach decides to put him on the team. Ghost is surprised to find himself caring enough about being on the team that he curbs his behavior to avoid “altercations.” But Ma doesn’t have money to spare on things like fancy running shoes, so Ghost shoplifts a pair that make his feet feel impossibly light—and his conscience correspondingly heavy. Ghost’s narration is candid and colloquial, reminiscent of such original voices as Bud Caldwell and Joey Pigza; his level of self-understanding is both believably childlike and disarming in its perception. He is self-focused enough that secondary characters initially feel one-dimensional, Coach in particular, but as he gets to know them better, so do readers, in a way that unfolds naturally and pleasingly. His three fellow “newbies” on the Defenders await their turns to star in subsequent series outings. Characters are black by default; those few white people in Ghost’s world are described as such.

An endearing protagonist runs the first, fast leg of Reynolds' promising relay. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5015-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

more