THE CREATION

In the spirit of Johnson's poetic voice, which Ransome describes as ``influenced by the...imagery of nineteenth-century African-American plantation preachers,'' the romantic, sun- dappled paintings here are more literal than Carla Golembe's striking, boldly stylized art for her edition (1993) of this splendid verse retelling by the well-loved poet. Pictures of an African-American preacher and his rapt audience of children alternate with handsome full-bleed spreads depicting the six days of creation: what might be the Grand Canyon; a stream rushing through rocks; a blossom-strewn forest floor beside the stream; and so on, to a dark man among the flowers. Rhythmic friezes of animals adorn the text pages of this carefully structured, realistic presentation. The style could hardly be more different from Golembe's: less provocative, more conventional and accessible, yet also painted with real artistry and conviction. It's a measure of the poem's quality that it inspires such a rich variety of responses. (Poetry/Picture book. 4+)

Pub Date: April 15, 1994

ISBN: 0-8234-1069-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1994

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LETTERS FROM RIFKA

Beginning in Russia in 1919, this epistolary novel, based on experiences of the author's great-aunt, tells how 12-year-old Rifka Nebrot and her family fled the anti-Semitism of post-revolutionary Russia and emigrated to the US. The letters, each prefaced by a few telling lines of Pushkin, tell of the fear, indignities, privation, and disease endured as they traveled through Poland and into Belgium, where Rifka had to be left behind for several months because she was unacceptable as a steamship passenger: she had ringworm. Finally reaching Ellis Island, she was held in quarantine because the ringworm had left her bald—making her an undesirable immigrant because it was thought that she'd be unable to find a husband to support her. Eventually, Rifka talked her way into the country; her energy, cleverness, and flair for languages convinced officials that she wouldn't become a ward of the state. Told with unusual grace and simplicity, an unforgettable picture of immigrant courage, ingenuity, and perseverance. (Fiction. 10+)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-8050-1964-2

Page Count: 148

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1992

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With a universal message of love and community, this book offers a beautiful representation of a too-often-overlooked...

MOMMY'S KHIMAR

From a debut author-and-illustrator team comes a glimpse into a young American Muslim girl’s family and community as she walks around in “Mommy’s khimar,” or headscarf.

The star of this sunny picture book is a young girl who finds joy in wearing her mother’s khimar, imagining it transforms her into a queen, a star, a mama bird, a superhero. At the core of the story is the love between the girl and her mother. The family appears to be African-American, with brown skin and textured hair. The girl’s braids and twists “form a bumpy crown” under the khimar, which smells of coconut oil and cocoa butter. Adults in her life delight in her appearance in the bright yellow khimar, including her Arabic teacher at the mosque, who calls it a “hijab,” and her grandmother, who visits after Sunday service and calls out “Sweet Jesus!” as she scoops her granddaughter into her arms. Her grandmother is, apparently, a Christian, but “We are a family and we love each other just the same.” The illustrations feature soft pastel colors with dynamic lines and gently patterned backgrounds that complement the story’s joyful tone. The words are often lyrical, and the story artfully includes many cultural details that will delight readers who share the cheerful protagonist’s culture and enlighten readers who don’t.

With a universal message of love and community, this book offers a beautiful representation of a too-often-overlooked cultural group . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0059-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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