A compelling introduction to an extraordinary leader.

PAIUTE PRINCESS

THE STORY OF SARAH WINNEMUCCA

Sarah Winnemucca’s fearless determination along with her talent for languages and her commitment to education for her people made her a striking spokesperson, lecturer and educator.

Ray’s biography encompasses Winnemucca’s life from childhood through her work with the Peabody School she founded in 1885 in Lovelock, Nev. The heartbreak and challenges Sarah’s Paiute people experienced as gold and silver mining brought English-speaking settlers in droves to the Great Basin of Utah, Nevada and California form the core of the narrative. A picture-book trim size allows for substantial blocks of text to accompany Ray’s luminous full-page paintings, each focusing on a chapter of Winnemucca’s life. Quotations from Winnemucca’s autobiography as well as from other contemporary writings augment the account. Extensive backmatter offers more information about Winnemucca’s life (Ray explains that the term “princess” was conferred by white journalists) and her people, extending the range for this work well into middle school. The lack of page numbers or index is a slight problem for navigating back through the work, but the clarity of the narrative will make this an excellent read-aloud for older listeners.  

A compelling introduction to an extraordinary leader. (author’s note, map, timeline, bibliography) (Biography. 9-13)

Pub Date: May 8, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-374-39897-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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A mighty portrait of poverty amid cruelty and optimism.

FREE LUNCH

Recounting his childhood experiences in sixth grade, Ogle’s memoir chronicles the punishing consequences of poverty and violence on himself and his family.

The start of middle school brings about unwanted changes in young Rex’s life. His old friendships devolve as his school friends join the football team and slowly edge him out. His new English teacher discriminates against him due to his dark skin (Rex is biracial, with a white absentee dad and a Mexican mom) and secondhand clothes, both too large and too small. Seemingly worse, his mom enrolls him in the school’s free-lunch program, much to his embarrassment. “Now everyone knows I’m nothing but trailer trash.” His painful home life proffers little sanctuary thanks to his mom, who swings from occasional caregiver to violent tyrant at the slightest provocation, and his white stepdad, an abusive racist whose aggression outrivals that of Rex’s mom. Balancing the persistent flashes of brutality, Ogle magnificently includes sprouts of hope, whether it’s the beginnings of a friendship with a “weird” schoolmate, joyful moments with his younger brother, or lessons of perseverance from Abuela. These slivers of relative levity counteract the toxic relationship between young Rex, a boy prone to heated outbursts and suppressed feelings, and his mother, a fully three-dimensional character who’s viciously thrashing against the burden of poverty. It’s a fine balance carried by the author’s outstanding, gracious writing and a clear eye for the penetrating truth.

A mighty portrait of poverty amid cruelty and optimism. (author’s note, author Q&A, discussion guide, writing guide, resources) (Memoir. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-324-00360-1

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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A visually striking, compelling recollection.

FROM THE TOPS OF THE TREES

The author recounts a formative childhood experience that continues to inspire her today.

Born to Hmong refugees, Kalia has only ever known the confines of the Ban Vinai refugee camp in Thailand. Even while playing with her cousins, reminders of the hardships of their life are always present. She overhears the aunties sharing their uncertainty and fear of the future. They are a people with no home country and are still trying to find peace. Kalia asks her father why they live behind a gate and wonders what lies beyond the fences that surround the camp. The next day they climb a tall tree, and he shows her the vast expanse around them, from familiar camp landmarks to distant mountains “where the sky meets earth.” This story of resilience and generational hope is told in an expressive, straightforward narrative style. The simplicity of the text adds a level of poignancy that moves readers to reflection. The layered and heavily textured illustrations complement the text while highlighting the humanity of the refugees and providing a quiet dignity to camp life. The militarylike color palette of olive greens, golden yellows, and rich browns reinforces the guarded atmosphere but also represents the transitional period from winter to spring, a time ripe with anticipation and promise.

A visually striking, compelling recollection. (author's note, glossary, map.) (Picture book/memoir. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5415-8130-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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Noncanonical entries make this a natural companion or follow-up for Kathleen Krull’s essential Lives of the Artists,...

KID ARTISTS

TRUE TALES OF CHILDHOOD FROM CREATIVE LEGENDS

From the Kid Legends series , Vol. 3

For budding artists, here’s a heartening reminder that 17 unconventional greats—not to mention all the rest—started out as children too.

The pseudonymous Stabler (Robert Schnakenberg in real life) adopts a liberal admissions policy for his latest gathering of anecdotal profiles (Kid Presidents, 2014, etc.). In a chapter on the influence of nature and wildlife on early artistic visions, Leonardo da Vinci and the young Vincent van Gogh rub shoulders with Beatrix Potter and Emily Carr; in another focusing on overcoming shyness or other personal, social, or economic obstacles, Jackson Pollock hangs out with Charles Schulz, Yoko Ono, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. In a third chapter that highlights the importance of a supportive parent, teacher, or other cheerleader, fathers do for prodigious young Pablo Picasso and polio-stricken Frida Kahlo, his mother for Andy Warhol, art instructors for Jacob Lawrence and Keith Haring. The author owns an easy, readable style, and though he leaves out quite a lot—Diego Rivera goes unmentioned in the Kahlo entry, nor do van Gogh’s suicide, Basquiat’s heroin addiction, or anyone’s sexual orientation come up—he’s chosen his subjects with an eye toward diversity of background, upbringing, and, eventually, style and media. Horner lightens the overall tone further with cartoon vignettes of caricatured but recognizable figures.

Noncanonical entries make this a natural companion or follow-up for Kathleen Krull’s essential Lives of the Artists, illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt (1995). (bibliography) (Collective biography. 10-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-59474-896-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2016

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