THE GOLDEN THREAD

A SONG FOR PETE SEEGER

A prose song celebrates Pete Seeger’s inestimable contribution to American music and social justice.

Meloy, musician and songwriter for the Decembrists, honors the long career of this remarkable activist in words that sing and soar in joyful homage. The text, presented as poetry or song lyrics, begs to be read aloud from its opening phrases: “I heard there was a golden thread / A shining magic thing / That bounded up our little world / —I HEARD PETE SEEGER SING!” Meloy covers the big moments in Seeger’s life: banjo-playing at union rallies and while in the Army in World War II, performing with the Weavers, the decade of McCarthy-era blacklisting, the Newport Folk Festival, the Hudson River sloop Clearwater. McClure’s detailed, cut–black-paper illustrations, highlighted with ribbons of gold-yellow paper containing lyrics from Seeger’s songs, have the look of woodcuts, lending folk-art and mid-20th-century flavors to the pages. Seeger’s iconic tools, a banjo and his wood-chopping axe, appear as a crossed design on the cover. There is a warmth and energy in the use of just the two colors that leaves room for the narrative to convey, in the words of the title song, the “rainbow design” in Seeger’s rich gift of music and advocacy. A timeline covering Seeger’s nine decades, a list of recordings, author’s and illustrator’s notes, and an adult-directed bibliography offer additional depth.

Positively joyous. (Picture book/biography. 4-10)

Pub Date: April 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-236825-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images.

THURGOOD

The life journey of the first African American to serve on the United States Supreme Court and the incidents that formed him.

Thurgood Marshall grew up in segregated Baltimore, Maryland, with a family that encouraged him to stand for justice. Despite attending poor schools, he found a way to succeed. His father instilled in him a love of the law and encouraged him to argue like a lawyer during dinner conversations. His success in college meant he could go to law school, but the University of Maryland did not accept African American students. Instead, Marshall went to historically black Howard University, where he was mentored by civil rights lawyer Charles Houston. Marshall’s first major legal case was against the law school that denied him a place, and his success brought him to the attention of the NAACP and ultimately led to his work on the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education, which itself led to his appointment to the Supreme Court. This lively narrative serves as an introduction to the life of one of the country’s important civil rights figures. Important facts in Marshall’s life are effectively highlighted in an almost staccato fashion. The bold watercolor-and-collage illustrations, beginning with an enticing cover, capture and enhance the strong tone set by the words.

A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images. (author’s note, photos) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6533-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants.

A WORLD TOGETHER

Large color photographs (occasionally composed of montages) and accessible, simple text highlight global similarities and differences, always focusing on our universal connections.

While child readers may not recognize Manzano, the Puerto Rican actress who played Maria on Sesame Street, adults will recognize her as a trusted diverse voice. In her endnote, she explains her desire to “encourage lively conversations about shared experiences.” Starting out with the familiar, home and community, the text begins with “How many WONDERFUL PEOPLE do you know?” Then it moves out to the world: “Did you know there are about 8 BILLION PEOPLE on the planet?” The photo essay features the usual concrete similarities and differences found in many books of this type, such as housing (a Mongolian yurt opposite a Hong Kong apartment building overlooking a basketball court), food (dumplings, pizza, cotton candy, a churro, etc.), and school. Manzano also makes sure to point out likenesses in emotions, as shown in a montage of photos from countries including China, Spain, Kashmir (Pakistan/India), and the United States. At the end, a world map and thumbnail images show the locations of all photos, revealing a preponderance of examples from the U.S. and a slight underrepresentation for Africa and South America.

Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3738-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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