This beautifully illustrated book of wisdom serves as a good introduction to maxims and also acts against the many prevalent...

FROM THE HEART OF AFRICA

A BOOK OF WISDOM

A book of African proverbs illustrated by a variety of artists.

The 15 proverbs highlighted in this book come from different African peoples and regions, and each features a captivating full-page illustration. The aphorisms range from the well-known—“It takes a village to raise a child”—to those that may be new to most readers. Walters offers origin information for each proverb, as well as its meaning, making the book accessible to a variety of ages. The saying “When in the middle of a river, do not insult the crocodile,” from the Baoulé people of Côte d’Ivoire, is glossed as, “You probably don’t have to battle crocodiles, but you can apply this to any situation: always think before you act.” The fact that the texts are linked only by continent of origin allows for an array of creative pictorial interpretations of the adages, with styles that run the gamut. Ghanaian artist Eva Campbell provides a bright oil painting of a happy village scene; Cuban-American illustrator Tom Gonzalez offers a striking image of a fire at nighttime; South African artist Sindiso “R!OT” Nyoni contributes a cartoonlike image of a black woman in a spacesuit standing on the moon, with the Earth over her shoulder.

This beautifully illustrated book of wisdom serves as a good introduction to maxims and also acts against the many prevalent negative stereotypes of African cultures and people—lovely and illuminating. (introduction, foreword, artist bios) (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77049-719-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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A reasonably solid grounding in constitutional rights, their flexibility, lacunae, and hard-won corrections, despite a few...

WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT FREEDOM

Shamir offers an investigation of the foundations of freedoms in the United States via its founding documents, as well as movements and individuals who had great impacts on shaping and reshaping those institutions.

The opening pages of this picture book get off to a wobbly start with comments such as “You know that feeling you get…when you see a wide open field that you can run through without worrying about traffic or cars? That’s freedom.” But as the book progresses, Shamir slowly steadies the craft toward that wide-open field of freedom. She notes the many obvious-to-us-now exclusivities that the founding political documents embodied—that the entitled, white, male authors did not extend freedom to enslaved African-Americans, Native Americans, and women—and encourages readers to learn to exercise vigilance and foresight. The gradual inclusion of these left-behind people paints a modestly rosy picture of their circumstances today, and the text seems to give up on explaining how Native Americans continue to be left behind. Still, a vital part of what makes freedom daunting is its constant motion, and that is ably expressed. Numerous boxed tidbits give substance to the bigger political picture. Who were the abolitionists and the suffragists, what were the Montgomery bus boycott and the “Uprising of 20,000”? Faulkner’s artwork conveys settings and emotions quite well, and his drawing of Ruby Bridges is about as darling as it gets. A helpful timeline and bibliography appear as endnotes.

A reasonably solid grounding in constitutional rights, their flexibility, lacunae, and hard-won corrections, despite a few misfires. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-54728-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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Forceful and exhilarating.

V IS FOR VOTING

An alphabet picture book that presents the ideal of a democratic society.

Seeing its standard ABC formula—“A is for…” etc.—and a rhyming text, readers may be inclined to think that nothing substantial is in the offing. They would be wrong. If ever an alphabet book packed a punch, this one is it. Leaving no effort to empower unturned, the text goes from, well, A to Z with an energetic propulsion that will educate readers to become informed, engaged citizens. Exhortations (“Z is for zeal. Please bring yours!”), nods to bastions of a democratic society (“F for a free press to find facts and share”), and celebrations of diversity (“D is for difference—our strength and our beauty”) share space with history (“S is for suffrage”) and critical thinking (“R is for represent. They work for me!”). They all combine to deliver a timely message of citizen empowerment. This lively activist theme is visually echoed by bold, full-color illustrations depicting a diversity of humans whose skin colors range from white to all shades of brown and include, prominently and frequently, a woman in a hijab. The people in the illustrations often face directly forward, engaging—almost confronting—readers. Many historical figures are illustrated, and the backmatter both names them and encourages readers to learn more on their own. Backmatter also gives suggestions to young readers for contributing to voter empowerment and includes a voting rights timeline.

Forceful and exhilarating. (Informational picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: July 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-23125-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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