EQUALITY'S CALL

THE STORY OF VOTING RIGHTS IN AMERICA

A solid work of visual storytelling.

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. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

DEAR RUBY, HEAR OUR HEARTS

Anemic messages of hope from an iconic activist.

Civil rights legend Bridges encourages young people to persevere.

After becoming the face of school integration at just 6 years old, Bridges continued to further her legacy by visiting schools across the U.S. Over the past 25 years, she has received letters from thousands of students with “ideas and concerns that ran deeper than we grown-ups gave them credit for.” In her latest book for kids, Bridges responds to notes from children grappling with political and social crises, including anti-Asian racism, climate change, and gun violence. The issues that matter to young Americans come alive in Cabuay’s energetic illustrations, which make deft use of color and texture. On one spread, a short, brown-skinned child named Tala, bullied for being short, strides confidently down a school hallway past classmates who whisper and laugh. In the accompanying letter, Tala talks about drawing strength from Bridges’ bravery; Bridges’ reply emphasizes that “it’s okay to be different because what really matters is your heart and what’s inside!” The correspondences are brief, barely skimming the surface, and Bridges’ messages are too general to have a genuine impact. Backmatter, which includes a glossary with pronunciation guides, is helpful but does little to connect Bridges’ historic contributions to the issues young people are facing today. This picture book’s superficial discussion of important topics doesn’t live up to Bridges’ advocacy or Cabuay’s dynamic art.

Anemic messages of hope from an iconic activist. (more information on Bridges) (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781338753912

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023

HUMMINGBIRD

A sweet and endearing feathered migration.

A relationship between a Latina grandmother and her mixed-race granddaughter serves as the frame to depict the ruby-throated hummingbird migration pattern.

In Granny’s lap, a girl is encouraged to “keep still” as the intergenerational pair awaits the ruby-throated hummingbirds with bowls of water in their hands. But like the granddaughter, the tz’unun—“the word for hummingbird in several [Latin American] languages”—must soon fly north. Over the next several double-page spreads, readers follow the ruby-throated hummingbird’s migration pattern from Central America and Mexico through the United States all the way to Canada. Davies metaphorically reunites the granddaughter and grandmother when “a visitor from Granny’s garden” crosses paths with the girl in New York City. Ray provides delicately hashed lines in the illustrations that bring the hummingbirds’ erratic flight pattern to life as they travel north. The watercolor palette is injected with vibrancy by the addition of gold ink, mirroring the hummingbirds’ flashing feathers in the slants of light. The story is supplemented by notes on different pages with facts about the birds such as their nest size, diet, and flight schedule. In addition, a note about ruby-throated hummingbirds supplies readers with detailed information on how ornithologists study and keep track of these birds.

A sweet and endearing feathered migration. (bibliography, index) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0538-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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