More than a distinctive introduction to Albert Einstein, this book promotes both understanding of difference and scientific...

READ REVIEW

ALBIE'S FIRST WORD

A TALE INSPIRED BY ALBERT EINSTEIN'S CHILDHOOD

The fact that Albert Einstein uttered his first words later in life than most children inspired this quirky, endearing tribute to the famous scientist and humanitarian.

“Albie, as everyone called Albert, liked to do all the things other children did.” This sentence floats in white space above an intriguing piece of artwork, nicely framed within an oval shape: In muted tones of amber, a boy clad in 19th-century clothes is leaping over black-and-white tiles and then over a threshold into a just-barely-seen, brighter room. The artwork’s subliminal message compels readers to turn the page. Thereafter, the text intersperses its tale of a mute little boy with nuggets of historical and cultural reality describing the lives of the German upper middle class in the late 1800s. There are even some German words. The simple story is told with heart, suspense and gentle humor. The complementary artwork features appropriately detailed backgrounds and beautiful chiaroscuro juxtaposed with an Albie whose body exhibits exaggerated toddler proportions and whose face looks modeled in clay. Readers of all ages will enjoy the wise and witty climax, and older readers will appreciate the endpapers—reproduced from Einstein’s “Zürich Notebook”—and the thoughtful author’s note.

More than a distinctive introduction to Albert Einstein, this book promotes both understanding of difference and scientific curiosity. (glossary, photograph) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-307-97893-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Both a beautiful celebration of black culture and an excellent first black history book for young children.

BLACK IS A RAINBOW COLOR

A young black child ponders the colors in the rainbow and a crayon box and realizes that while black is not a color in the rainbow, black culture is a rainbow of its own.

In bright paints and collage, Holmes shows the rainbow of black skin tones on each page while Joy’s text describes what “Black is” physically and culturally. It ranges from the concrete, such as “the braids in my best friend’s hair,” to the conceptual: “Black is soft-singing, ‘Hush now, don’t explain’ ”—a reference to the song “Don’t Explain” made popular by Billie Holiday and Nina Simone, the former depicted in full song with her signature camellia and the latter at her piano. Joy alludes throughout the brief text to poetry, music, figures, and events in black history, and several pages of backmatter supply the necessary context for caregivers who need a little extra help explaining them to listeners. Additionally, there is a playlist of songs to accompany reading as well as three poems: “Harlem,” by Langston Hughes, and “We Wear the Mask” and “Sympathy,” by Paul Laurence Dunbar. The author also includes a historical timeline describing some of the names that have been used to describe and label black people in the United States since 1619.

Both a beautiful celebration of black culture and an excellent first black history book for young children. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62672-631-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A beautiful portrayal of a historic and arduous family journey northward

OVERGROUND RAILROAD

One family’s experience of the Great Migration.

Cline-Ransome and Ransome, a husband-and-wife author-and-illustrator team, have again collaborated on an important story from African American history. Narrator Ruth Ellen, Mama, and Daddy awaken early to travel to New York without the permission or knowledge of the landowner on whose land they sharecrop. (The author’s note mentions that landowners often used threats and violence to keep sharecroppers on the land and perpetually in debt.) The family boards the train with luggage, tickets, and food in a shoebox—since black folks cannot eat in the dining car and must sit in the colored section of the train. The conductor calls out the cities as they progress North. When the conductor removes the “whites only” sign near Baltimore, African Americans can sit wherever they want—though it takes some time before Ruth Ellen and her family find white riders who smile a welcome. Ruth Ellen reads Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass aloud to Mama on the train ride, a gift from her teacher that parallels her own family’s journey. Ransome’s watercolor-and-collage illustrations effectively capture both the historical setting and the trepidation of a family who though not enslaved, nevertheless must escape as if they were. Cotton bolls throughout the images accentuate cotton’s economic dominance in the sharecropping system.

A beautiful portrayal of a historic and arduous family journey northward . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3873-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more