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An engaging look at scientific dedication and the timely development of effective vaccines.

The inspiring story of a passionate scientist whose persistence pays off.

A childhood on a farm in a Hungarian village might not seem a promising path to immunological fame, but Kati Karikó (b. 1955) strides undeterred toward her dreams. Her curiosity is empowering, and she knows that discipline (like choosing the Science Olympics over a vacation) is nonnegotiable. Asking unexpected questions, she embarks on a long-shot quest: enabling bodies to heal themselves via messenger RNA. Other (male) scientists deride the goal, but she is not discouraged, even when it means personal sacrifice. A chance meeting suggests a new approach, and it works. Karikó takes her research to BioNTech. Then Covid-19 breaks out, but Pfizer/BioNTech are able to quickly make millions of doses of reliable vaccine thanks to Karikó’s unswerving focus: As we’re told early on, “Making one small change could have a huge impact.” The restrained but realistic illustrations use lots of matte color, subtle linework, changes of perspective, and clever layout to provide visual interest and convey complex information. Quotes from Karikó and others in her field—including Anthony Fauci—are interspersed throughout. Karikó is White; background characters are diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An engaging look at scientific dedication and the timely development of effective vaccines. (timeline, vaccine-development stages, author’s note, glossary, source notes, further study) (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: March 7, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-72845-633-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Nov. 28, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2022

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Hundreds of pages of unbridled uplift boiled down to 40.

From two Nobel Peace Prize winners, an invitation to look past sadness and loneliness to the joy that surrounds us.

Bobbing in the wake of 2016’s heavyweight Book of Joy (2016), this brief but buoyant address to young readers offers an earnest insight: “If you just focus on the thing that is making / you sad, then the sadness is all you see. / But if you look around, you will / see that joy is everywhere.” López expands the simply delivered proposal in fresh and lyrical ways—beginning with paired scenes of the authors as solitary children growing up in very different circumstances on (as they put it) “opposite sides of the world,” then meeting as young friends bonded by streams of rainbow bunting and going on to share their exuberantly hued joy with a group of dancers diverse in terms of age, race, culture, and locale while urging readers to do the same. Though on the whole this comes off as a bit bland (the banter and hilarity that characterized the authors’ recorded interchanges are absent here) and their advice just to look away from the sad things may seem facile in view of what too many children are inescapably faced with, still, it’s hard to imagine anyone in the world more qualified to deliver such a message than these two. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Hundreds of pages of unbridled uplift boiled down to 40. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-48423-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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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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