An American story that is at once personal, timeless and universal. Lovely and uplifting.

ANNA & SOLOMON

A young man immigrates to America at the turn of the 20th century and works and saves so his wife can join him.

Russia was not a good place for a young Jewish couple to thrive, no matter how hard they worked. The czar’s soldiers attacked their town, destroyed homes and religious books, and stole their possessions. Solomon and Anna decide that he should go to America and save up money to buy Anna a ticket. He arrives in New York and works as a housepainter, and months later, he is able to send the money. But when he meets the ship, Anna’s brother is there instead. They work together to send money again, and this time another brother arrives. Next time, it is Anna’s mother who gets off the ship. Finally Anna arrives, and they are reunited. The whole family continues to work and grow and prosper in their adopted land of freedom and opportunity. This tale of the author’s grandparents was passed down through the generations of her family. Snyder relates the events with obvious pride and love, in a conversational tone filled with descriptive details that highlight her ancestors’ determination, courage and compassion. Bliss’ illustrations beautifully complement the text, capturing time, place and emotions.

An American story that is at once personal, timeless and universal. Lovely and uplifting. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: May 20, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-374-30362-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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A picture book worth reading about a historical figure worth remembering.

THE AMAZING AGE OF JOHN ROY LYNCH

An honestly told biography of an important politician whose name every American should know.

Published while the United States has its first African-American president, this story of John Roy Lynch, the first African-American speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives, lays bare the long and arduous path black Americans have walked to obtain equality. The title’s first three words—“The Amazing Age”—emphasize how many more freedoms African-Americans had during Reconstruction than for decades afterward. Barton and Tate do not shy away from honest depictions of slavery, floggings, the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow laws, or the various means of intimidation that whites employed to prevent blacks from voting and living lives equal to those of whites. Like President Barack Obama, Lynch was of biracial descent; born to an enslaved mother and an Irish father, he did not know hard labor until his slave mistress asked him a question that he answered honestly. Freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, Lynch had a long and varied career that points to his resilience and perseverance. Tate’s bright watercolor illustrations often belie the harshness of what takes place within them; though this sometimes creates a visual conflict, it may also make the book more palatable for young readers unaware of the violence African-Americans have suffered than fully graphic images would. A historical note, timeline, author’s and illustrator’s notes, bibliography and map are appended.

A picture book worth reading about a historical figure worth remembering. (Picture book biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5379-0

Page Count: 50

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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A resplendent masterpiece.

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DREAMERS

Based on her experience of leaving Mexico for the United States, Morales’ latest offers an immigrant’s tale steeped in hope, dreams, and love.

This story begins with a union between mother and son, with arms outstretched in the midst of a new beginning. Soon after, mother and son step on a bridge, expansive “like the universe,” to cross to the other side, to become immigrants. An ethereal city appears, enfolded in fog. The brown-skinned woman and her child walk through this strange new land, unwilling to speak, unaccustomed to “words unlike those of our ancestors.” But soon their journey takes them to the most marvelous of places: the library. In a series of stunning double-page spreads, Morales fully captures the sheer bliss of discovery as their imaginations take flight. The vibrant, surreal mixed-media artwork, including Mexican fabric, metal sheets, “the comal where I grill my quesadillas,” childhood drawings, and leaves and plants, represents a spectacular culmination of the author’s work thus far. Presented in both English and Spanish editions (the latter in Teresa Mlawer’s translation), equal in evocative language, the text moves with purpose. No word is unnecessary, each a deliberate steppingstone onto the next. Details in the art provide cultural markers specific to the U.S., but the story ultimately belongs to one immigrant mother and her son. Thanks to books and stories (some of her favorites are appended), the pair find their voices as “soñadores of the world.”

A resplendent masterpiece. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4055-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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