Powerful, moving, necessary.

SO TALL WITHIN

SOJOURNER TRUTH'S LONG WALK TOWARD FREEDOM

The life and work of Sojourner Truth are detailed in this lyrical picture book by Schmidt (Martín de Porres, illustrated by David Diaz, 2012).

The book begins “In Slavery Time, when Hope was a seed waiting to be planted.” Most of Isabella’s brothers and sisters were sold away before she could remember, but her mother told her that the same moon and stars looked down upon them all. Then Isabella was sold and separated from her mother. She was made to work hard, then made to marry, then promised freedom but not granted it, so finally she “seized Freedom with her own hands.” Her son was sold away from her, and she used the law to get him back. After reuniting with some of her own siblings, she decided to make “a journey—a sojourn—to tell the truth about Slavery.” Schmidt details the states she stopped in and quotes words she used to speak her truth. (The bibliography describes the manuscript from which her words are quoted.) The poetic text highlights her inner journey, giving readers not just a strong historical figure, but a human being in insufferable circumstances, a feat not often accomplished in books for young readers, particularly about enslaved people. Minter’s art is emotional and haunting, with colors of blue and auburn, near-transparent silhouettes, faces that have seen too much, and nature looking on. The art itself tells stories of stolen childhood, torn families, and finding purpose.

Powerful, moving, necessary. (biographical note, artist’s note) (Picture book/biography. 6-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-872-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A unique angle on a watershed moment in the civil rights era.

I AM RUBY BRIDGES

The New Orleans school child who famously broke the color line in 1960 while surrounded by federal marshals describes the early days of her experience from a 6-year-old’s perspective.

Bridges told her tale to younger children in 2009’s Ruby Bridges Goes to School, but here the sensibility is more personal, and the sometimes-shocking historical photos have been replaced by uplifting painted scenes. “I didn’t find out what being ‘the first’ really meant until the day I arrived at this new school,” she writes. Unfrightened by the crowd of “screaming white people” that greets her at the school’s door (she thinks it’s like Mardi Gras) but surprised to find herself the only child in her classroom, and even the entire building, she gradually realizes the significance of her act as (in Smith’s illustration) she compares a small personal photo to the all-White class photos posted on a bulletin board and sees the difference. As she reflects on her new understanding, symbolic scenes first depict other dark-skinned children marching into classes in her wake to friendly greetings from lighter-skinned classmates (“School is just school,” she sensibly concludes, “and kids are just kids”) and finally an image of the bright-eyed icon posed next to a soaring bridge of reconciliation. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A unique angle on a watershed moment in the civil rights era. (author and illustrator notes, glossary) (Autobiographical picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-75388-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

IF YOU LIVED DURING THE PLIMOTH THANKSGIVING

A measured corrective to pervasive myths about what is often referred to as the “first Thanksgiving.”

Contextualizing them within a Native perspective, Newell (Passamaquoddy) touches on the all-too-familiar elements of the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving and its origins and the history of English colonization in the territory now known as New England. In addition to the voyage and landfall of the Mayflower, readers learn about the Doctrine of Discovery that arrogated the lands of non-Christian peoples to European settlers; earlier encounters between the Indigenous peoples of the region and Europeans; and the Great Dying of 1616-1619, which emptied the village of Patuxet by 1620. Short, two- to six-page chapters alternate between the story of the English settlers and exploring the complex political makeup of the region and the culture, agriculture, and technology of the Wampanoag—all before covering the evolution of the holiday. Refreshingly, the lens Newell offers is a Native one, describing how the Wampanoag and other Native peoples received the English rather than the other way around. Key words ranging from estuary to discover are printed in boldface in the narrative and defined in a closing glossary. Nelson (a member of the Leech Lake Band of Minnesota Chippewa) contributes soft line-and-color illustrations of the proceedings. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Essential. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-72637-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Scholastic Nonfiction

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

more