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Frank and sympathetic in presenting a lesser-known landmark in the struggle for human rights.

A tribute to a courageous family of undocumented immigrants who went to court to secure their child’s right to a free public education.

Basing her account on a 1977 case in Texas and adding dialogue but using real names, Levinson tells the tale from 9-year-old Alfredo’s point of view. Traveling north from Zacatecas, Mexico, with his tío, Alfredo slips past the Border Patrol and joins his loving Amá and Apá at last in Tyler. But he’s forced to watch sadly from his window as other children go to school—until the morning his parents pack up the car (in case they have to flee afterward) and sneak into the local federal courthouse to testify before a judge. There the Lopez family hears their lawyer argue that a new state law barring undocumented children from free public schooling is neither fair nor, according to the 14th Amendment’s guarantee that everyone is subject to equal treatment under the law, legal. As the author notes in her more detailed afterword, the latter argument not only convinced the judge but also held all the way through multiple appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, giving Alfredo and millions of other undocumented students since then the right to attend school in every state. Most of the figures in Ortega’s warm illustrations (the judge and lawyers excepted) are brown-skinned; Alfredo, bright-eyed and usually smiling, looks equally comfortable in both Mexico and the U.S. and (at last) in school.

Frank and sympathetic in presenting a lesser-known landmark in the struggle for human rights. (notes, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781665904278

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2024

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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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From the Ordinary People Change the World series

Blandly laudatory.

The iconic animator introduces young readers to each “happy place” in his life.

The tally begins with his childhood home in Marceline, Missouri, and climaxes with Disneyland (carefully designed to be “the happiest place on Earth”), but the account really centers on finding his true happy place, not on a map but in drawing. In sketching out his early flubs and later rocket to the top, the fictive narrator gives Ub Iwerks and other Disney studio workers a nod (leaving his labor disputes with them unmentioned) and squeezes in quick references to his animated films, from Steamboat Willie to Winnie the Pooh (sans Fantasia and Song of the South). Eliopoulos incorporates stills from the films into his cartoon illustrations and, characteristically for this series, depicts Disney as a caricature, trademark mustache in place on outsized head even in childhood years and child sized even as an adult. Human figures default to white, with occasional people of color in crowd scenes and (ahistorically) in the animation studio. One unidentified animator builds up the role-modeling with an observation that Walt and Mickey were really the same (“Both fearless; both resourceful”). An assertion toward the end—“So when do you stop being a child? When you stop dreaming”—muddles the overall follow-your-bliss message. A timeline to the EPCOT Center’s 1982 opening offers photos of the man with select associates, rodent and otherwise. An additional series entry, I Am Marie Curie, publishes simultaneously, featuring a gowned, toddler-sized version of the groundbreaking physicist accepting her two Nobel prizes.

Blandly laudatory. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2875-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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