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HER NAME WAS MARY KATHARINE

THE ONLY WOMAN WHOSE NAME IS ON THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

A solid resource for examining historical perspectives and concepts of inclusion, exclusion, justice, and fairness.

The story of the printer, postmaster, and patriot whose choices played a significant role in American history.

This informative book captures the life of Mary Katharine Goddard, born under British rule in 1738 in Connecticut. Readers learn about the education her parents provided to not just their son, but also their daughter (which was unusual for that time); her involvement in the printmaking/newspaper industry, initially to help her distractible brother; her dedication to providing colonists with information that supported the American Revolution; her 14-year stint as Baltimore’s postmaster; and her decision to include her name when she was asked to print the Declaration of Independence, a brave choice that could have resulted in her death. Accessible and engaging text, quotations from her publications, and italicized statements that sum up relevant personality characteristics tell what is known of her story and provide historical context, bringing the uniqueness of her accomplishments as a colonial woman to light. Evocative, sepia-toned illustrations, which primarily feature White colonists, show additional details of a life in early America. An author’s note provides supplementary information about the lack of recognition Goddard received as well as additional details about her life, not all positive; an enslaved woman, to whom Goddard granted freedom in her will, helped run Goddard’s business and home. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A solid resource for examining historical perspectives and concepts of inclusion, exclusion, justice, and fairness. (glossary, sources) (Picture book/biography. 5-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 25, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-29832-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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BASKETBALL DREAMS

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses.

An NBA star pays tribute to the influence of his grandfather.

In the same vein as his Long Shot (2009), illustrated by Frank Morrison, this latest from Paul prioritizes values and character: “My granddad Papa Chilly had dreams that came true,” he writes, “so maybe if I listen and watch him, / mine will too.” So it is that the wide-eyed Black child in the simply drawn illustrations rises early to get to the playground hoops before anyone else, watches his elder working hard and respecting others, hears him cheering along with the rest of the family from the stands during games, and recalls in a prose afterword that his grandfather wasn’t one to lecture but taught by example. Paul mentions in both the text and the backmatter that Papa Chilly was the first African American to own a service station in North Carolina (his presumed dream) but not that he was killed in a robbery, which has the effect of keeping the overall tone positive and the instructional content one-dimensional. Figures in the pictures are mostly dark-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-81003-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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BEFORE SHE WAS HARRIET

A picture book more than worthy of sharing the shelf with Alan Schroeder and Jerry Pinkney’s Minty (1996) and Carole Boston...

A memorable, lyrical reverse-chronological walk through the life of an American icon.

In free verse, Cline-Ransome narrates the life of Harriet Tubman, starting and ending with a train ride Tubman takes as an old woman. “But before wrinkles formed / and her eyes failed,” Tubman could walk tirelessly under a starlit sky. Cline-Ransome then describes the array of roles Tubman played throughout her life, including suffragist, abolitionist, Union spy, and conductor on the Underground Railroad. By framing the story around a literal train ride, the Ransomes juxtapose the privilege of traveling by rail against Harriet’s earlier modes of travel, when she repeatedly ran for her life. Racism still abounds, however, for she rides in a segregated train. While the text introduces readers to the details of Tubman’s life, Ransome’s use of watercolor—such a striking departure from his oil illustrations in many of his other picture books—reveals Tubman’s humanity, determination, drive, and hope. Ransome’s lavishly detailed and expansive double-page spreads situate young readers in each time and place as the text takes them further into the past.

A picture book more than worthy of sharing the shelf with Alan Schroeder and Jerry Pinkney’s Minty (1996) and Carole Boston Weatherford and Kadir Nelson’s Moses (2006). (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2047-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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