Next book



Transcendent and deeply resonant.

Family stories and a love of learning were seeds planted in the child who would become one of the world’s most important writers.

Born in 1931, in Lorain, Ohio, Chloe Ardelia Wofford grew up listening to her mother’s singing and stories and her grandfather’s violin. The musicality and narratives remained with her, as did a love of language. She started to read early, the only child in her first grade class to do so. She continued to listen to and absorb the world around her, developing skills that eventually sent her to Howard University. There she adopted the name Toni as she studied English literature and drama; she also met Harold Morrison, whom she would later marry. She witnessed firsthand the racism that existed in the nation’s capital. As a professor, then as an editor, she promoted neglected works of Black writers. While managing motherhood and a career, she began to craft her own novels and built a unique body of work that captured the attention of the world; in 1993, she won the Nobel Prize in Literature—“the first Black woman so honored.” Writing in second person and addressing Morrison herself, Weatherford skillfully weaves together the various aspects of the writer’s life in a lyrical account that flows and reveals her rich contributions. Weatherford emphasizes the role of listening, grounding Morrison in her family and community. Making wonderful use of collage, Thompson’s evocative paintings enhance the text, beginning with a striking cover image.

Transcendent and deeply resonant. (author’s note, timeline, bibliography) (Picture-book biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 2, 2024

ISBN: 9780062911032

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2024

Next book


A supplemental rather than introductory book on the great artist.

Frida Kahlo’s strong affection for and identification with animals form the lens through which readers view her life and work in this picture-book biography.

Each two-page spread introduces one or more of her pets, comparing her characteristics to theirs and adding biographical details. Confusingly for young readers, the beginning pages reference pets she owned as an adult, yet the illustrations and events referred to come from earlier in her life. Bonito the parrot perches in a tree overlooking young Frida and her family in her childhood home and pops up again later, just before the first mention of Diego Rivera. Granizo, the fawn, another pet from her adult years, is pictured beside a young Frida and her father along with a description of “her life as a little girl.” The author’s note adds important details about Kahlo’s life and her significance as an artist, as well as recommending specific paintings that feature her beloved animals. Expressive acrylic paintings expertly evoke Kahlo’s style and color palette. While young animal lovers will identify with her attachment to her pets and may enjoy learning about the Aztec origins of her Xolo dogs and the meaning of turkeys in ancient Mexico, the book may be of most interest to those who already have an interest in Kahlo’s life.

A supplemental rather than introductory book on the great artist. (Picture book/biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4269-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

Next book


Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses.

An NBA star pays tribute to the influence of his grandfather.

In the same vein as his Long Shot (2009), illustrated by Frank Morrison, this latest from Paul prioritizes values and character: “My granddad Papa Chilly had dreams that came true,” he writes, “so maybe if I listen and watch him, / mine will too.” So it is that the wide-eyed Black child in the simply drawn illustrations rises early to get to the playground hoops before anyone else, watches his elder working hard and respecting others, hears him cheering along with the rest of the family from the stands during games, and recalls in a prose afterword that his grandfather wasn’t one to lecture but taught by example. Paul mentions in both the text and the backmatter that Papa Chilly was the first African American to own a service station in North Carolina (his presumed dream) but not that he was killed in a robbery, which has the effect of keeping the overall tone positive and the instructional content one-dimensional. Figures in the pictures are mostly dark-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-81003-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

Close Quickview