A comprehensive look at an extraordinary life and continuing legacy.

A look into the formative years of Sen. Tammy Duckworth.

Duckworth is introduced as a young schoolgirl curiously examining a globe. An American citizen who was born in Bangkok, Thailand, she traveled “all over Southeast Asia with her family.” Tammy’s father worked for the United Nations, and she accompanied him as he helped refugees; while observing, young Tammy decided to dedicate herself to helping others. After bouts of homelessness and food insecurity while growing up, with Tammy supporting the family at one point by selling flowers by the roadside, she attended college and graduate school, then joined the Army National Guard. The evenly paced, thorough narrative reveals that after many years of service, Tammy nearly died in a helicopter crash in Iraq in 2004, leaving her with severe chronic pain and prosthetic legs. Phumiruk uses cooler muted colors to portray the physical and emotional obstacles Duckworth overcame during her long recovery and rehabilitation. Brighter and warmer colors are slowly incorporated onto each page as Duckworth, with the encouragement of a local senator, campaigned, lost one race, but eventually was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Duckworth continued to break down even more barriers after becoming a senator. With the birth of her second daughter, she was able to change chamber rules so that she could bring her infant daughter with her to vote. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A comprehensive look at an extraordinary life and continuing legacy. (timeline, information on Duckworth’s achievements, books and websites) (Picture-book biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5362-2205-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022


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


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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