ANSWERING THE CRY FOR FREEDOM

STORIES OF AFRICAN AMERICANS AND THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

Accessible, inspiring accounts of courageous men and women.

Biographical sketches tell of 13 remarkable black men and women, including a double agent, a traveling female preacher, an admired poet, and a successful whaling captain.

While some may be known to readers, most will not. Information on John Kizell, for example, has only recently been uncovered. Many of their civic or military accomplishments are impressive, making it unclear why Sally Hemings is among the 13; although her story is notable, her primary contribution was ensuring the freedom of her children. Divided into four parts, the book moves from three men who fought in the Revolution to three slaves in Boston, three female slaves in the South, and, finally, four men and women who were born or became free and went on to advocate for others’ rights. Almost all overcame great odds to influence their world. Elizabeth Freeman sued for and won her freedom from slavery in 1781 Massachusetts. Prince Hall, a former slave, organized the first branch of black Freemasons, of which there are now 300,000 in lodges named after him. Richard Allen bought his freedom for $2,000, received the first copyright granted to an African-American, and founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The well-told stories, illustrated with striking silhouettes by Christie, can be read independently of one another. An open design, pull-quotes, and frequent headings add to the appeal.

Accessible, inspiring accounts of courageous men and women. (notes, timelines, bibliography, index) (Collective biography. 9-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62979-306-1

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

50 IMPRESSIVE KIDS AND THEIR AMAZING (AND TRUE!) STORIES

From the They Did What? series

A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats.

Why should grown-ups get all the historical, scientific, athletic, cinematic, and artistic glory?

Choosing exemplars from both past and present, Mitchell includes but goes well beyond Alexander the Great, Anne Frank, and like usual suspects to introduce a host of lesser-known luminaries. These include Shapur II, who was formally crowned king of Persia before he was born, Indian dancer/professional architect Sheila Sri Prakash, transgender spokesperson Jazz Jennings, inventor Param Jaggi, and an international host of other teen or preteen activists and prodigies. The individual portraits range from one paragraph to several pages in length, and they are interspersed with group tributes to, for instance, the Nazi-resisting “Swingkinder,” the striking New York City newsboys, and the marchers of the Birmingham Children’s Crusade. Mitchell even offers would-be villains a role model in Elagabalus, “boy emperor of Rome,” though she notes that he, at least, came to an awful end: “Then, then! They dumped his remains in the Tiber River, to be nommed by fish for all eternity.” The entries are arranged in no evident order, and though the backmatter includes multiple booklists, a personality quiz, a glossary, and even a quick Braille primer (with Braille jokes to decode), there is no index. Still, for readers whose fires need lighting, there’s motivational kindling on nearly every page.

A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats. (finished illustrations not seen) (Collective biography. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-14-751813-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Puffin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

PLAY LIKE A GIRL

A sincere, genuine, and uplifting book that affirms the importance of being true to yourself.

Middle school drama hits hard in this coming-of-age graphic memoir.

Natural competitor Misty has faced off against the boys for years, always coming out on top, but now they’re moving on without her into the land of full-contact football. Never one to back away from a challenge, Misty resolves to join the team and convinces her best friend, Bree, to join her. While Misty pours herself into practicing, obviously uninterested Bree—who was motivated more by getting to be around boys than doing sports—drifts toward popular queen bee Ava, creating an uneasy dynamic. Feeling estranged from Bree, Misty, who typically doesn’t think much about her appearance, tries to navigate seventh grade—even experimenting with a more traditionally feminine gender expression—while also mastering her newfound talent for tackling and facing hostility from some boys on the team. Readers with uncommon interests will relate to the theme of being the odd one out. Social exclusion and cutting remarks can be traumatic, so it’s therapeutic to see Misty begin to embrace her differences instead of trying to fit in with frenemies who don’t value her. The illustrations are alive with color and rich emotional details, pairing perfectly with the heartfelt storytelling. The husband-and-wife duo’s combined efforts will appeal to fans of Raina Telgemeier and Shannon Hale. Main characters present as White; some background characters read as Black.

A sincere, genuine, and uplifting book that affirms the importance of being true to yourself. (Graphic memoir. 9-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-306469-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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