A salutary, mission-driven tribute to hard work and persistence.

READ REVIEW

DREAM BIG

A TRUE STORY OF COURAGE AND DETERMINATION

There are many ways to meet a challenge, and they all don’t have to come from inside.

Two of the great fruits of McGillivray’s story are that it applies to so many people and it is true. True stories let us know that our dreams really can come true. Dave is a small white kid, and the games for big bruisers are just out of his league. But then he catches the running bug. Dave has dreams of standing tall on the podium, but his first marathon, at 17, is a bust (he’d only been training for a year and hadn’t touched 26.2 miles). Dave is crestfallen, but his grandpa counsels, “You didn’t fail. You discovered something…you discovered that big dreams don’t just come true. They take work, hard work.” Well, Grandpa isn’t there to see it, but Dave does train hard, and although he breaks down on his second try, he also gets up with the memory of hard work and completes the marathon. In a wonderful turnaround, today Dave is race director of the Boston Marathon. “And guess what? I always come in last.” It’s a consciously inspiring story, straightforwardly told with the help of Feeher. The mostly-white cast of Himler’s rather washed-out watercolor illustrations says a lot about how the sport has grown both more international and more diverse.

A salutary, mission-driven tribute to hard work and persistence. (map) (Picture book/memoir. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61930-618-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nomad Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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A sanitized version of a too-short life.

I AM ANNE FRANK

From the Ordinary People Change the World series

A bobblehead avatar of the teenage writer and symbol of the Holocaust presents her life as an inspiration.

From a big-eared babyhood and a childhood spent “writing stories” to fleeing Germany for Amsterdam, Anne’s pre-Annex life is sketched. Narrating in the first person, the cartoon Anne explains that Nazis “didn’t like those of us who were Jewish or other groups who were different from them.” Hitler is presented as a leader “who blamed the Jews for all of Germany’s problems, even though we hadn’t done anything wrong.” Then in short order Anne receives her diary as a birthday present, the family goes into hiding, and Anne finds solace in the attic looking at the chestnut tree and writing. Effectively, Annex scenes are squeezed between broad black borders. Illustrations present four snippets of quotes from her diary, including “I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.” Narrator Anne says, “You can always find light in the darkest places. That’s what hope is,” as she clutches the diary with Shabbat candles on one side and a menorah burning brightly on the other. In the next double-page spread, an international array of modern-day visitors standing outside the Anne Frank House briefly, in speech bubbles, wraps up the story of the Holocaust, the diary, the Annex, and the chestnut tree. Anne’s wretched death in a concentration camp is mentioned only in a concluding timeline. I Am Benjamin Franklin publishes simultaneously. (This book was reviewed digitally with 7.5-by-15-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

A sanitized version of a too-short life. (photos, sources, further reading) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-55594-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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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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