Makes magic out of a true moment, as the best picture books do.

WE WAIT FOR THE SUN

Adapted from Roundtree and McCabe’s book for adults, Mighty Justice (2019), a powerful episode from the childhood of the real-life activist is presented as an adventure.

Dovey Mae and Grandma Rachel slip out of the house in the hour before dawn, when “the midsummer night is dark and cool.” They walk toward the woods to pick blackberries, and the girl thinks they are the only ones awake in the world—but, quietly, more women join their “silent march, [their] secret mission, [their] berry picking.” Her grandma teaches her to walk in the dark. They follow the birds and stay close together. They taste, and they pick, and soon enough, they watch together as the sky turns colors, and the sun rises to usher in the day. With nighttime scenes bathed in deep purples and a final scene of daybreak in golden hues, this touching tale successfully conveys special moments of hushed expectation and quiet exhilaration between a child and her strong, loving adult. Reading co-author McCabe’s note about the story behind the girl, Dovey Mae Johnson Roundtree, and her grandmother, Rachel Graham, will make the story even more significant. At a time when domestic terrorism against African Americans was rampant, here was a relationship in which a young Black girl felt safe. The aftermatter details the importance of that relationship on Roundtree’s later work as a civil rights attorney. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 67.5% of actual size.)

Makes magic out of a true moment, as the best picture books do. (timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/memoir. 3-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-22902-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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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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This heartwarming story of a boy and his beloved dog opens the door for further study of our 16th president.

HONEY, THE DOG WHO SAVED ABE LINCOLN

A slice of Abraham Lincoln’s childhood life is explored through a fictionalized anecdote about his dog Honey.

When 7-year-old Abe rescues a golden-brown dog with a broken leg, he takes the pup home to the Lincolns’ cabin in Knob Creek, Kentucky. Honey follows Abe everywhere, including trailing after his owner into a deep cave. When Abe gets stuck between rocks, Honey goes for help and leads a search party back to the trapped boy for a dramatic rescue. The source for this story was a book incorporating the memories of Abe’s boyhood friend, explained in an author’s note. The well-paced text includes invented dialogue attributed to Abe and his parents. Abe’s older sister, Sarah, is not mentioned in the text and is shown in the illustrations as a little girl younger than Abe. All the characters present white save for one black man in the rescue crew. An oversized format and multiple double-page spreads provide plenty of space for cartoon-style illustrations of the Lincoln cabin, the surrounding countryside, and the spooky cave where Abe was trapped. This story focuses on the incident in the cave and Abe’s rescue; a more complete look at Lincoln’s life is included in an appended timeline and the author’s note, both of which include references to Lincoln’s kindness to animals and to other pets he owned.

This heartwarming story of a boy and his beloved dog opens the door for further study of our 16th president. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-269900-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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