This powerful biography is a boon for all children and is particularly valuable for children outside of the mainstream who...

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THE WORLD IS NOT A RECTANGLE

A PORTRAIT OF ARCHITECT ZAHA HADID

A visionary architect from Iraq gets well-deserved attention in Winter’s new picture-book biography about a woman of courage whose ideas and persistence influenced the world.

Zaha Hadid, a native of Baghdad, grows up admiring nature and patterns. She designs her own clothes, wonders at the ruins in her homeland, and dreams of designing cities. “Zaha has ideas.” Zaha studies math, then leaves home to study architecture in London. She then sets to work planning and designing what the world has never seen: buildings conceived after the shapes and patterns of nature. Working past the initial rejection and discrimination she faces, Zaha grows her firm from one room to an entire building. Eventually, her designs are built all over the world. Her architects continued “making models of her visions” even after her death, which is gently portrayed in this book for young readers. The illustrations in this portrait are fresh and spare, highlighting the concepts behind Zaha’s designs. As in Winter’s other picture books, the use of color, shape, and pattern in the artwork pairs beautifully with the straightforward text to tell this intriguing story. The text makes a delightful read-aloud, and it’s engaging enough to grab the attention of independent readers as well.

This powerful biography is a boon for all children and is particularly valuable for children outside of the mainstream who have large visions and dreams of their own. (author’s note, sources.) (Picture book/biography. 5-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4669-3

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE

            The legions of fans who over the years have enjoyed dePaola’s autobiographical picture books will welcome this longer gathering of reminiscences.  Writing in an authentically childlike voice, he describes watching the new house his father was building go up despite a succession of disasters, from a brush fire to the hurricane of 1938.  Meanwhile, he also introduces family, friends, and neighbors, adds Nana Fall River to his already well-known Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, remembers his first day of school (“ ‘ When do we learn to read?’  I asked.  ‘Oh, we don’t learn how to read in kindergarten.  We learn to read next year, in first grade.’  ‘Fine,’ I said.  ‘I’ll be back next year.’  And I walked right out of school.”), recalls holidays, and explains his indignation when the plot of Disney’s “Snow White” doesn’t match the story he knows.  Generously illustrated with vignettes and larger scenes, this cheery, well-knit narrative proves that an old dog can learn new tricks, and learn them surpassingly well.  (Autobiography.  7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23246-X

Page Count: 58

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1999

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Stirring encouragement for all “little people” with “big dreams.” (Picture book/biography. 5-7)

MAYA ANGELOU

From the Little People, BIG DREAMS series

“There’s nothing I can’t be,” young Maya thinks, and then shows, in this profile for newly independent readers, imported from Spain.

The inspirational message is conveyed through a fine skein of biographical details. It begins with her birth in St. Louis and the prejudice she experienced growing up in a small Arkansas town and closes with her reading of a poem “about her favorite thing: hope” at Bill Clinton’s presidential inauguration. In between, it mentions the (unspecified) “attack” by her mother’s boyfriend and subsequent elective muteness she experienced as a child, as well as some of the varied pursuits that preceded her eventual decision to become a writer. Kaiser goes on in a closing spread to recap Angelou’s life and career, with dates, beneath a quartet of portrait photos. Salaberria’s simple illustrations, filled with brown-skinned figures, are more idealized than photorealistic, but, though only in the cover image do they make direct contact with readers’, Angelou’s huge eyes are an effective focal point in each scene. The message is similar in the co-published Amelia Earhart, written by Ma Isabel Sánchez Vegara (and also translated by Pitt), but the pictures are more fanciful as illustrator Mariadiamantes endows the aviator with a mane of incandescent orange hair and sends her flying westward (in contradiction of the text and history) on her final around-the-world flight.

Stirring encouragement for all “little people” with “big dreams.” (Picture book/biography. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-84780-889-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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