A solid work of visual storytelling.

READ REVIEW

EQUALITY'S CALL

THE STORY OF VOTING RIGHTS IN AMERICA

A poetic narrative charts the history of voting rights in the United States from the founders to the present, emphasizing that “A right isn’t right / Till it’s granted to all.”

A black woman at a blackboard instructs a class (and readers) in an inclusive “we” as the voices of democracy swell to affirm the expansion of voting rights. Diesen (in a dramatic departure from her Pout-Pout Fish series) and Mora effectively employ the drama of the turning page as, on each spread when the refrain is resounded, the number of people marching grows from two black women and a black man to a host of the historically disenfranchised. The final refrain is a crescendo, complemented by a double-page spread depicting a crowded, diverse line of marchers. As they march from left to right into the page turn, readers are reminded that “The journey’s not over / The work hasn’t ended / Democracy’s dream / Must be constantly tended.” The pages act as a timeline, and several illustrations depict historical figures, including Sojourner Truth, Abraham Lincoln, and John Lewis. (A backmatter key helps identify the many activists represented.) As an introduction, the volume focuses on the progress and not the obstacles, but caregivers can supplement the history, using the extensive backmatter addressed to them: information on related constitutional amendments and relevant legislation and a two-page list of voting rights activists.

A solid work of visual storytelling. (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3958-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments.

SUPERHEROES ARE EVERYWHERE

The junior senator from California introduces family and friends as everyday superheroes.

The endpapers are covered with cascades of, mostly, early childhood snapshots (“This is me contemplating the future”—caregivers of toddlers will recognize that abstracted look). In between, Harris introduces heroes in her life who have shaped her character: her mom and dad, whose superpowers were, respectively, to make her feel special and brave; an older neighbor known for her kindness; grandparents in India and Jamaica who “[stood] up for what’s right” (albeit in unspecified ways); other relatives and a teacher who opened her awareness to a wider world; and finally iconic figures such as Thurgood Marshall and Constance Baker Motley who “protected people by using the power of words and ideas” and whose examples inspired her to become a lawyer. “Heroes are…YOU!” she concludes, closing with a bulleted Hero Code and a timeline of her legal and political career that ends with her 2017 swearing-in as senator. In group scenes, some of the figures in the bright, simplistic digital illustrations have Asian features, some are in wheelchairs, nearly all are people of color. Almost all are smiling or grinning. Roe provides everyone identified as a role model with a cape and poses the author, who is seen at different ages wearing an identifying heart pin or decoration, next to each.

Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments. (Picture book/memoir. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-984837-49-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 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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