From the She Persisted series

An engaging portrait of a fascinating woman.

This entry in the She Persisted series provides a detailed look at the life of Helen Keller.

Helen Keller was born in rural Alabama in 1880. After suffering a severe illness as a toddler, she lost both her sight and hearing, leaving her isolated and unable to communicate with those around her. Her parents secured help for her when she reached the age of 7. Anne Sullivan was sent from the Perkins School for the Blind in Massachusetts to attempt to educate Helen. Sullivan would remain Keller’s companion for decades, accompanying her as she campaigned around the world for individuals who were disabled. This short work features Flint’s cheerful black-and-white cartoonlike illustrations; unfortunately, they don’t always match tonally with moments depicting Keller’s early struggles. The few brief paragraphs per spread explain the major details of Keller’s life, provide some insight into the difficulties she faced, and highlight the impact she had on the world. Although print is large and there is plenty of white space, some of the vocabulary seems fairly sophisticated for those just transitioning to chapter books. Although Sheinmel’s efforts are necessarily constrained by the nature of early chapter books, this one largely succeeds, partly due to the exceptionally inspirational topic. The series will include 12 other female subjects. With the exception of two children on the cover, all characters in this book are depicted as White.

An engaging portrait of a fascinating woman. (references, online resources) (Biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11568-8

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021


With powerful art from a bold new talent, this is a probing and sensitive take on a devastating chapter of U.S. history.

“How do you tell a story / that starts in Africa / and ends in horror?”

Alexander uses multiple voices to weave this poem about a teacher who takes on the difficult but necessary task of starting a classroom conversation about slavery. Between the theft of people from the African continent and the sale of people in America, from the ships that brought them and the ocean that swallowed some of them to their uncompensated work and the breakup of families, Alexander introduces objections from the implied listeners (“But you can’t sell people,” “That’s not fair”), despair from the narrating adult, encouragement from the youth, and ultimately an answer to the repeated question about how to tell this story. Rising star Coulter’s mixed-media art elevates the lyrical text with clarity and deep emotion: Using sculpted forms and paintings for the historical figures gives them a unique texture and lifelike fullness, while the charcoal drawings on yellow paper used for the present-day student-teacher interactions invite readers to step inside. Where Coulter combines the two, connecting past with present, the effect is stunning. Both young readers and adults unsure of how to talk about this painful past with children will find valuable insights.

With powerful art from a bold new talent, this is a probing and sensitive take on a devastating chapter of U.S. history. (author’s and illustrator’s notes) (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-316-47312-5

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 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

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