WHEN THUNDER COMES

POEMS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS

The Children’s Poet Laureate salutes 15 men and women, including one child, who spoke out and acted for equality and liberty, several at the cost of their lives.

The names are familiar: Mohandas Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Jackie Robinson, Harvey Milk, Josh Gibson, Aung San Suu Kyi. They are less well-known: Mitsuye Endo, Helen Zia, Sylvia Mendez, Dennis James Banks, Muhammad Yunus. They are wives or mothers: Coretta Scott King, Mamie Carthan Till. One is a child, Sylvia Mendez, who wanted to attend a whites-only school in California. Three died too young on a dark road in Mississippi: Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Cheney. All receive a stirring page of rhymed verse accompanied by a single- or double-page spread painting created by one of five artists: Jim Burke, R. Gregory Christie, Tonya Engel, John Parra and Meilo So. So’s bright colors against a white background speak of affirmation and pride for Kyi, Zia and Milk, while Burke’s somber palette evokes the fear of the three civil rights workers and the “nightmare world” of Mandela’s imprisonment. Parra decorates his pages with details from the lives of Mendez, Yunus and Endo. From political activists to an astronaut and from baseball legends to a typist in a World War II internment camp, they raised their voices and sometimes their fists.

Somber and inspirational. (thumbnail sketches) (Poetry. 10-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0119-4

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2012

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A slim volume big on historical information and insight.

COME ON IN, AMERICA

THE UNITED STATES IN WORLD WAR I

A wide-ranging exploration of World War I and how it changed the United States forever.

Students who know anything about history tend to know other wars better—the Civil War, World War II, Vietnam. But it was World War I that changed America and ushered in a new role for the United States as a world political and economic leader. Two million Americans were sent to the war, and in the 19 months of involvement in Europe, 53,000 Americans were killed in battle, part of the staggering total death toll of 10 million, a war of such magnitude that it transformed the governments and economies of every major participant. Osborne’s straightforward text is a clear account of the war itself and various related topics—African-American soldiers, the Woman’s Peace Party, the use of airplanes as weapons for the first time, trench warfare, and the sinking of the Lusitania. Many archival photographs complement the text, as does a map of Europe (though some countries are lost in the gutter). A thorough bibliography includes several works for young readers. A study of World War I offers a context for discussing world events today, so this volume is a good bet for libraries and classrooms—a well-written treatment that can replace dry textbook accounts.

A slim volume big on historical information and insight. (timeline, source notes, credits) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2378-0

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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An enticing entree to the glories of Shakespeare’s verse.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

From the Poetry for Kids series

In the fifth installment of the illuminating Poetry for Kids series, the spotlight shifts from U.S. luminaries—Dickinson, Whitman, Sandburg, Frost—across the Atlantic to perhaps the most famous writer of English.

Again pairing an accomplished academician with a gifted illustrator, the resulting collection features 31 poetic selections curated by Shakespearean scholar Tassi (English, Univ. Nebraska-Kearney) and accompanied by atmospheric artwork from Spanish illustrator López. Though the Shakespearean oeuvre contains 154 sonnets and some longer poems, speeches from his plays dominate Tassi’s carefully crafted portrait, highlighting many famous reflections on love and desire, calls to arms, and musings on power. Interestingly, one must look to the volume’s explanatory “What William Was Thinking” section to learn not only the dramatic context behind, for example, “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears,” from Julius Caesar, but why Mark Antony’s observation that “The evil that men do lives after them; / The good is oft interred with their bones” carries such weight. More immediately, alongside Macbeth’s timeless “To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow” soliloquy, López’s eerie and evocative visualization wonderfully sketches the outline of the stages of life being alluded to in the smoky vapor of a snuffed-out candle. Shakespeare’s intricate syntax and Elizabethan vocabulary will warrant additional coaching for younger readers, facilitated by marginal notes.

An enticing entree to the glories of Shakespeare’s verse. (index) (Picture book/poetry. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63322-504-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Moondance/Quarto

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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