Young readers need the lessons offered here, but this poorly written attempt is more likely to confuse and bore than inspire.

THE WEDDING PORTRAIT

Nagara’s newest activist story (Counting on Community, 2016, etc.) uses the author’s wedding portrait to introduce civil disobedience.

“When kids visit our house,” starts Nagara, “they often ask about a particular photo that hangs on the wall.” It’s of his wedding. “But as you can see, there is something different about this wedding portrait!” (He and his wife smooch in front of a riot squad.) The following pages attempt to explain various protests around the world, from the Colombian oil blockades to the campaign for Indian independence to Black Lives Matter. Such terms as SIT-IN and SOLIDARITY are capitalized and loosely defined, though this technique is inconsistently applied. The illustrations are powerful and attractive but cannot save the text from cloying didacticism, a dizzying lack of structure, and too much complicated information combined with not enough developmentally appropriate depth. For example, a discussion of farmworkers’ rights asks, “If someone offered you a cheap tomato, but it was cheap because it was picked by a kid just like you who had to work all day for no pay and wasn’t allowed to go home, would you buy it anyway? I didn’t think so.” But children usually don’t control their groceries, and most Americans benefit daily from the exploitation of others; readers are given no opportunity to reflect on this reality.

Young readers need the lessons offered here, but this poorly written attempt is more likely to confuse and bore than inspire. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-60980-802-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Triangle Square Books for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An inspirational look at one girl’s quest to make sure that all skin tones are visible and available in the classroom.

MORE THAN PEACH

A Black girl’s simple observation propels her into activism.

Woodard, who launched the More Than Peach Project—which arranges for classrooms and children in need to receive kits that include art supplies and boxes of multicultural crayons (crayons in a variety of skin tones)—relates the incident that sparked her journey. As the book begins, she is dropped off at school and notices that her family’s skin tone differs from that of her classmates. While it is clear that she is one of a few children of color at school, that difference isn’t really felt until her friends start asking for the “skin-color” crayon when they mean peach. She’s bothered that no one else seems to notice that skin comes in many colors, so she devises a unique way of bringing everyone’s attention to that fact. With support from her family and her school, she encourages her fellow classmates to rethink their language and starts an initiative to ensure that everyone’s skin tone is represented in each crayon box. Appealing, realistic artwork depicts Woodard’s experiences, while endpapers feature More Than Peach crayon boxes and childlike illustrations of kids of different ethnicities doing various activities. The story is stirring and will motivate budding activists. (This book was reviewed digitally; the review has been updated for factual accuracy.)

An inspirational look at one girl’s quest to make sure that all skin tones are visible and available in the classroom. (note from Woodard, information on Woodard’s journey into activism, instructions on starting a drive) (Picture-book biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-80927-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

Blandly laudatory.

I AM WALT DISNEY

From the Ordinary People Change the World series

The iconic animator introduces young readers to each “happy place” in his life.

The tally begins with his childhood home in Marceline, Missouri, and climaxes with Disneyland (carefully designed to be “the happiest place on Earth”), but the account really centers on finding his true happy place, not on a map but in drawing. In sketching out his early flubs and later rocket to the top, the fictive narrator gives Ub Iwerks and other Disney studio workers a nod (leaving his labor disputes with them unmentioned) and squeezes in quick references to his animated films, from Steamboat Willie to Winnie the Pooh (sans Fantasia and Song of the South). Eliopoulos incorporates stills from the films into his cartoon illustrations and, characteristically for this series, depicts Disney as a caricature, trademark mustache in place on outsized head even in childhood years and child sized even as an adult. Human figures default to white, with occasional people of color in crowd scenes and (ahistorically) in the animation studio. One unidentified animator builds up the role-modeling with an observation that Walt and Mickey were really the same (“Both fearless; both resourceful”). An assertion toward the end—“So when do you stop being a child? When you stop dreaming”—muddles the overall follow-your-bliss message. A timeline to the EPCOT Center’s 1982 opening offers photos of the man with select associates, rodent and otherwise. An additional series entry, I Am Marie Curie, publishes simultaneously, featuring a gowned, toddler-sized version of the groundbreaking physicist accepting her two Nobel prizes.

Blandly laudatory. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2875-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

more