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WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A VOICE LIKE THAT?

THE STORY OF EXTRAORDINARY CONGRESSWOMAN BARBARA JORDAN

A moving portrait of a true patriot who found ways to use her gift to work for change.

Barton introduces Congresswoman Barbara Jordan to children in this artful picture book illustrated by Holmes.

Jordan grew up in Houston, Texas, and “stood out” because of “that voice of hers. / That big, bold, booming, crisp, clear, confident voice. It caused folks to sit right up, stand up straight, and take notice.” As a young person, Jordan used it for poetry, speeches, and oratory contests. When a lawyer came to speak at her school, Jordan was inspired and thought she could use her voice as a lawyer. College and law school were challenging, but being a lawyer was boring. She got involved in politics. When she filled in for an absent speaker one night, she so inspired the audience that she decided that was how she should use her voice. She worked in the Senate and then in Congress, where she became famous for using her voice to speak up against President Nixon and for the Constitution. When illness called her back home, she taught, and her former students “still move among us, striving to do work that would have made her proud.” Striking mixed-media illustrations capture the relationships between people and the influence of place. Barton’s narration is colloquial, appropriately relying on rhetorical devices such as repetition and onomatopoeia to tell his tale.

A moving portrait of a true patriot who found ways to use her gift to work for change. (note, timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 5-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6561-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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BASKETBALL DREAMS

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

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BEFORE SHE WAS HARRIET

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

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. 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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