THE ABCS OF AOC

ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ FROM A TO Z

Ocasio-Cortez may be a “trailblazer” who “walks her talk,” but this is addressed to readers who already know that.

An alphabetic double fanfare for the 116th Congress’ youngest elected member.

In a misapplied apparent effort to reach two tiers of future voters, Wilson runs through the alphabet twice, assigning a character trait or, more often, broad issue to each letter—“Democracy” and “Jobs” on up to “Xenophobia” and, finally, “Zeal”—and unpacking it…briefly at first, then later, on a second go-round, in slightly more detail but at the same general reading level. Thus, under A for “Advocate,” readers learn that “Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez works to enact laws that will change lives for the better” in her community, and then, in the second alphabet, that she has a progressive platform and a Green New Deal. Unfortunately, the author renders moot her own argument that AOC is a true “Revolutionary” rather than just a “reformer” by describing how she won election to “Congress” by gathering “Grassroots” support, backs at least most of her chosen party’s policies, and places high value on “Teamwork.” Aside from mentions of the Afro-Latinx representative’s Bronx childhood and Jewish forebears, her family and private life remain largely unexplored. Leaving the second alphabet a set of boxed narrative blocks, Quiles illustrates the first with scenes of Ocasio-Cortez dancing, speaking, or hanging out with racially diverse supporters in urban settings.

Ocasio-Cortez may be a “trailblazer” who “walks her talk,” but this is addressed to readers who already know that. (endnotes) (Informational picture book. 10-12, adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-49514-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2019

HARRIET TUBMAN AND THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD

Unassuming of aspect but judicious and illuminating of content.

Modest production values add appeal to this carefully researched account of “a life of courage, passion, and adventure.”

Young readers already have a plethora of Tubman titles to choose from, including the author’s own 1992 Picture Book of Harriet Tubman for younger readers, illustrated by Samuel Byrd. This one, though, offers an unusually coherent picture of her character as well as her place within both the major events of her times and the work of the Underground Railroad. Laying stress on her religious faith and her selfless nature, Adler covers her career as Union spy and nurse as well as “conductor” in deep-enough detail to make mention of her later involvement in a money swindle and her ambiguous relationship with “niece” (daughter? kidnap victim?) Margaret Stewart. Sheaves of small, period black-and-white portrait photos or engravings, plus occasional atrocity reports or editorials clipped from African-American newspapers give the pages a staid look overall. This is underscored by a typeface that, intentionally or otherwise, sometimes looks battered or too-lightly inked. Tubman’s exploits and struggles make absorbing reading nonetheless.

Unassuming of aspect but judicious and illuminating of content. (endnotes, bibliography, personal note about the author’s family in the Civil War) (Biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2365-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

MALALA YOUSAFZAI

SHOT BY THE TALIBAN, STILL FIGHTING FOR EQUAL EDUCATION

A portrait of a courageous and admirable young voice for change—but no substitute for the book that is its major source.

A cursory introduction to the Pakistani teenager who earned international attention (and a Nobel Peace Prize nomination) after surviving a Taliban gunman’s assassination attempt.

Doeden draws largely from Yousafzai’s 2013 autobiography and a handful of news reports to craft his account. He explains how she, as the eldest daughter of a dedicated founder of girls schools in Pakistan and co-author (at the age of 11) of a personal blog sponsored by the BBC Urdu, became a public face for Muslim girls’ education—and therefore a Taliban target. Silenced only temporarily by a bullet to the head in 2012, she has gone on not only to become an even more vocal advocate for equal (not to say any) education, but to challenge President Barack Obama face to face about the use of military drones in her country. It’s a straightforward account geared to those who aren’t ready to tackle longer, richer resources. Most of the cramped color photos, and all of the unhelpful pull quotes, serve to fill space more than anything else.

A portrait of a courageous and admirable young voice for change—but no substitute for the book that is its major source. (map, endnotes, bibliography) (Biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4677-4907-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Lerner

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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