For any fan of Earth.

READ REVIEW

EARTHRISE

APOLLO 8 AND THE PHOTO THAT CHANGED THE WORLD

A compelling look at the history of one of NASA’s most iconic photographs.

In 1968, at a time of worldwide instability, NASA’s Apollo 8 mission accomplished the historic feat of the first manned spacecraft not only to leave Earth’s orbit, but also to enter that of the moon. And from that most distant and alien of perspectives, the three white astronauts snapped a color photo of their planet Earth. Called Earthrise, the photograph stirred the imaginations of people around the globe as they looked at themselves for the first time as inhabitants of one world from over 220,000 miles away. Gladstone’s prose is factual but richly so, as he puts historical record and mission transcripts to effective use to recapture the amazement and unity inspired by this momentous first in space travel. Not to be outdone, Lundy’s illustrations are almost minimalist in their simple lines and shading and swathes of color that nonetheless provide intricate emotional detail, from the tension of mission control to the inky wonder of space to the exhilaration of the racially diverse public, including one young, brown-skinned space enthusiast in afro puffs. An understated but arresting double-page spread presents Earthrise as a visual climax even as a figurative hush falls over the narrative. Despite what feels like a slightly obvious attempt at relevance with not-so-subtle messages of unity in the face of global unrest, the book’s whole far outweighs the sum of its parts.

For any fan of Earth. (Nonfiction picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77147-316-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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It’s a bit sketchy of historical detail, but it’s coherent, inspirational, and engaging without indulging in rapturous...

ROSA PARKS

From the Little People, BIG DREAMS series

A first introduction to the iconic civil rights activist.

“She was very little and very brave, and she always tried to do what was right.” Without many names or any dates, Kaiser traces Parks’ life and career from childhood to later fights for “fair schools, jobs, and houses for black people” as well as “voting rights, women’s rights and the rights of people in prison.” Though her refusal to change seats and the ensuing bus boycott are misleadingly presented as spontaneous acts of protest, young readers will come away with a clear picture of her worth as a role model. Though recognizable thanks to the large wire-rimmed glasses Parks sports from the outset as she marches confidently through Antelo’s stylized illustrations, she looks childlike throughout (as characteristic of this series), and her skin is unrealistically darkened to match the most common shade visible on other African-American figures. In her co-published Emmeline Pankhurst (illustrated by Ana Sanfelippo), Kaiser likewise simplistically implies that Great Britain led the way in granting universal women’s suffrage but highlights her subject’s courageous quest for justice, and Isabel Sánchez Vegara caps her profile of Audrey Hepburn (illustrated by Amaia Arrazola) with the moot but laudable claim that “helping people across the globe” (all of whom in the pictures are dark-skinned children) made Hepburn “happier than acting or dancing ever had.” All three titles end with photographs and timelines over more-detailed recaps plus at least one lead to further information.

It’s a bit sketchy of historical detail, but it’s coherent, inspirational, and engaging without indulging in rapturous flights of hyperbole. (Picture book/biography. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-78603-018-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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Pretty but substance-free—which is probably not how any of this book’s subjects would like to be remembered.

SHE PERSISTED

13 AMERICAN WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE WORLD

Inspired by Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s stand against the appointment of Sen. Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general—and titled for Sen. Mitch McConnell’s stifling of same—glancing introductions to 13 American women who “persisted.”

Among the figures relatively familiar to the audience are Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, and Ruby Bridges; among the more obscure are union organizer Clara Lemlich, physician Virginia Apgar, and Olympian Florence Griffith Joyner. Sonia Sotomayor and Oprah Winfrey are two readers may already have some consciousness of. The women have clearly been carefully selected to represent American diversity, although there are significant gaps—there are no Asian-American women, for instance—and the extreme brevity of the coverage leads to reductivism and erasure: Osage dancer Maria Tallchief is identified only as “Native American,” and lesbian Sally Ride’s sexual orientation is elided completely. Clinton’s prose is almost bloodless, running to such uninspiring lines as, about Margaret Chase Smith, “she persisted in championing women’s rights and more opportunities for women in the military, standing up for free speech and supporting space exploration.” Boiger does her best to compensate, creating airy watercolors full of movement for each double-page spread. Quotations are incorporated into illustrations—although the absence of dates and context leaves them unmoored. That’s the overall feeling readers will get, as the uniformity of presentation and near-total lack of detail makes this overview so broad as to be ineffectual. The failure to provide any sources for further information should the book manage to pique readers’ interests simply exacerbates the problem.

Pretty but substance-free—which is probably not how any of this book’s subjects would like to be remembered. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4172-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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