While this book and its companion appear to be meant for the lower elementary grades, these British imports will require too...

REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS

From the Children in Our World series

With this series entry, Roberts attempts to help readers understand that their peers in many parts of the world are suffering and becoming refugees because of “wars, natural disasters, and acts of terrorism.”

The book also speaks about migrants as people who “leave for a happier, healthier life, to join family members overseas, or because they don’t have enough money and need a job.” This effort aims to educate child readers, reassuring them that “most people have a safe and comfortable home to live in” and while “it can be upsetting to think about what life is like for refugees and migrants,” kids can do something to help. Some practical suggestions are provided and websites included for several aid organizations. Companion title Poverty and Hunger, by Louise Spilsbury and also illustrated by Kai, follows the same format, presenting a double-page spread with usually one to three short paragraphs on a topic. A yellow catlike animal with a black-and-white striped tail is found in every picture in both books and seems an odd unifying feature. Mixed-media illustrations in muted colors feature stylized children and adults against handsomely textured areas; they exude an empty sense of unreality in spite of racial diversity and varied landscapes. By trying too hard to make comparisons accessible, Roberts ends up trivializing some concepts. Speaking about camping and refugee camps in the same sentence is very misleading.

While this book and its companion appear to be meant for the lower elementary grades, these British imports will require too much adult intervention to be very useful. (bibliography, websites, glossary, index) (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4380-5020-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Barron's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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An inspiring tribute to a determined dreamer and doer constructed with admirable verve.

CURVE & FLOW

THE ELEGANT VISION OF L.A. ARCHITECT PAUL R. WILLIAMS

A portrait of an African American architect who “curved his creativity around the stone wall of racism.”

The title reflects the course of Williams’ career more than his characteristic rectilinear style, but the creators of Take a Picture of Me, James Vanderzee! (2017) again pair a narrative alive with rhythm and rich imagery to equally vibrant pictures to celebrate both the achievements and the character of a (this time) literally groundbreaking Black figure. Writing in present tense for immediacy, Loney gives her subject youthful dreams of building a home that lead him to bend around naysayers and racial prejudice to establish himself as an architect—learning to sketch ideas upside down on the fly to impress White clients across the table, to create structures with a Southern California flair “from paper to pine to paint job,” and then “flow[ing] in a different direction” to help found a bank that would lend to Black communities in South LA. Mallett follows Williams from childhood to dignified maturity, catching the overall motif with curving lines, restrained lighting, and slightly softened focus while portraying him here bent over blueprints with glimpses of his work visible over his shoulder, there standing proud with his family before the house he did at last design and build, and, in a final scene, posing with a racially diverse group of smiling Angelenos. Along with a timeline and a select list of sources, the backmatter includes photos of several of the thousands of structures with which he is associated. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An inspiring tribute to a determined dreamer and doer constructed with admirable verve. (author’s note) (Picture-book biography. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-42907-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2022

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The perfect prelude to a shared reading of the ageless classic.

A BOOK, TOO, CAN BE A STAR

THE STORY OF MADELEINE L'ENGLE AND THE MAKING OF A WRINKLE IN TIME

Life experiences that shaped the author of A Wrinkle in Time (1962).

Beginning with an early memory of being taken out to view a glorious night sky, this measured, reverent profile follows Madeleine L’Engle, who even as a child had a yen for “big questions.” Through school into adulthood, marriage, and work, she found—in art, in theater, and, most of all, in writing—ways to ask questions and seek answers. L’Engle’s best known book, begun on a camping stopover in Arizona’s Painted Desert, was famously rejected by many publishers but quickly became the classic it still is, prompting generations of readers to find their own ways to ask big questions. Using supple swirls and curves to give her illustrations a lyrical flow, Lirius offers delicately detailed scenes of the White author at different ages, projecting queries in slender thought balloons and alternating between moments of dreamy solitude and in company that is racially diverse. Because of the brevity of the main narrative—though it is supplemented by substantial essays at the end (on L’Engle’s lasting influence, how this particular picture book came to be, and the negative effects of light pollution)—this one isn’t a one-stop for report writers or newcomers; rather, it’s best thought of as a keepsake or a lead-in to the middle-grade biography Becoming Madeleine (2018), which Jones Voiklis, who is L’Engle’s granddaughter, co-authored with her sister Léna Roy. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

The perfect prelude to a shared reading of the ageless classic. (further reading, timeline) (Picture-book biography. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-374-38848-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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