A carefully designed book that brings the past and the hand-created objects of the past to full-blooded life.

MADE BY HAND

A CRAFTS SAMPLER

Fourteen “one-of-a-kind” Colonial American objects are given stories of how and why they came to be. 

Taking actual objects crafted in the 18th and 19th centuries in mostly the northern and eastern parts of the United States, Schaefer spins stories to give the objects historical context and life. Some objects have been well-documented and so the stories around them are factual, but others’ histories are more shrouded, so Schaefer has taken the liberty of imagining, using authentic details to the time period, their creations. Illustrator Stadtlander matches these stories with primitive gouache paintings that evoke the work of the limners of the era and are full of rich, saturated colors, incorporating appropriate details and creating an authentic atmosphere with their style. Adding to the Colonial Americana look is the Eric Sloane–like display type used for headings and the onomatopoeic words (which cleverly mimic the sounds of the objects’ creations). Except for those depicted in the stories of a tin box crafted by a freed slave in Virginia in order to carry his freedom papers and of a bandolier bag crafted by an unknown Ojibwe, all people illustrated are white. The objects run the gamut, including a circa-1850 scrimshaw pie crimper, an embroidery sampler from 1798, and a terrestrial globe from 1810.

A carefully designed book that brings the past and the hand-created objects of the past to full-blooded life. (author’s note, further information) (Informational picture book. 6-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7433-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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This 2015 New Visions Award winner offers a complex narrative and inspires readers to check their privilege to address...

AHIMSA

Although Kelkar’s debut novel takes place in colonial India in the 1940s, when Indian citizens were fighting for independence from British rule, it is uncannily timely: 10-year old Anjali grapples with issues of social justice in many of the same ways young people are today.

When Anjali’s mother quits her job to become a freedom fighter, Anjali is reluctant to join the struggle, as it means she will have to eschew her decorated skirts and wear home-spun khadi (hand-woven cotton) instead, inviting the mockery of her school nemeses. But as her relationship with her mother evolves, her experience of and commitment to activism change as well. When her mother is imprisoned and commences a hunger strike, Anjali continues her work and begins to unlearn her prejudices. According to an author’s note, Kelkar was inspired by the biography of her great-grandmother Anasuyabai Kale, and the tale is enriched by the author’s proximity to the subject matter and access to primary sources. Kelkar also complicates Western impressions of Mohandas K. “Mahatma” Gandhi—Anjali realizes that Gandhi is flawed—and introduces readers to Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, a figure rarely mentioned in texts for young people in the United States but who is best known for campaigning against social discrimination of Dalits, or members of India’s lower castes.

This 2015 New Visions Award winner offers a complex narrative and inspires readers to check their privilege to address ongoing injustices. (Historical fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62014-356-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Tu Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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A strong coming-of-age story grounded in a vibrant cultural heritage.

ROOT MAGIC

An African American tween learns about her family’s connection to conjure magic—and human evil—in 1960s South Carolina.

Jezebel and her twin brother, Jay, know their family will never be the same following their Gran’s death. Their father’s unexplained disappearance a few years back is another loss that has yet to heal. Gran was a talented Gullah rootworker whose abilities were sought by some and reviled by others. The local White deputy harasses families who use rootwork even as they are needed for the healing denied by segregated hospitals. Now, Jezebel and Jay are about to learn these skills from their uncle to keep the legacy alive. For the first time, the twins will not be in the same class since Jezebel will skip fifth grade. She becomes the target of bullies but manages to make one friend, a girl new to the school. As the rootwork lessons proceed, the twins become more aware of change all around them, from whispered voices in the marsh to the strange actions of Jezebel’s doll. It becomes clear that they have inherited connections to the spiritual world and that they face a very human threat. This richly detailed narrative offers elements of magical realism against a backdrop of social change, presenting a convincing family story and exploring community differences. Although Jezebel is a spirited narrator, Jay and other characters are fully realized.

A strong coming-of-age story grounded in a vibrant cultural heritage. (author's note) (Historical fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-289957-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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