A great introduction to an architect, a feminist, and a leader who showed the world the impossible. (Picture book/biography....

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ZAHA HADID

From the Little People, BIG DREAMS series

An introduction for young readers focuses on the architect’s journey and how she became the “Queen of Curve.”

Readers are introduced to “little Zaha,” a “Muslim girl who lived with her family in Baghdad,” and learn that at 7 she was designing clothes. Sánchez Vegara leads readers through Zaha’s childhood and adulthood, covering her schooling, favorite subjects, and how she became the woman who experimented and dared to change architecture. Amar’s illustrations are simple, bright, and colorful, portraying Zaha in a space mostly occupied by men. Little details such as the letters “ZH” on construction helmets worn by men listening to Zaha’s project plan emphasize her role as a leader. When Sánchez Vegara points out that Zaha “changed the way that people thought about women—especially an Arab woman—in an industry run by men,” Amar dedicates a spread that draws attention to Zaha’s status with a wall of portraits of notable architects in which she is the only woman. Like other titles in the series, this one ends with more facts on Zaha and her family along with four black-and-white photos taken at different points in her life and suggested titles for further reading. Series companion Mary Shelley, also by Sánchez Vegara but illustrated by Yelena Bryksenkova, publishes simultaneously.

A great introduction to an architect, a feminist, and a leader who showed the world the impossible. (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-745-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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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

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An inspiring introduction to the young Nobel Peace Prize winner and a useful conversation starter

MALALA'S MAGIC PENCIL

The latest of many picture books about the young heroine from Pakistan, this one is narrated by Malala herself, with a frame that is accessible to young readers.

Malala introduces her story using a television show she used to watch about a boy with a magic pencil that he used to get himself and his friends out of trouble. Readers can easily follow Malala through her own discovery of troubles in her beloved home village, such as other children not attending school and soldiers taking over the village. Watercolor-and-ink illustrations give a strong sense of setting, while gold ink designs overlay Malala’s hopes onto her often dreary reality. The story makes clear Malala’s motivations for taking up the pen to tell the world about the hardships in her village and only alludes to the attempt on her life, with a black page (“the dangerous men tried to silence me. / But they failed”) and a hospital bracelet on her wrist the only hints of the harm that came to her. Crowds with signs join her call before she is shown giving her famous speech before the United Nations. Toward the end of the book, adult readers may need to help children understand Malala’s “work,” but the message of holding fast to courage and working together is powerful and clear.

An inspiring introduction to the young Nobel Peace Prize winner and a useful conversation starter . (Picture book/memoir. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-31957-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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