Overall, a fine celebration of a renowned woman artist.

MAYA LIN

ARTIST-ARCHITECT OF LIGHT AND LINES

A concise biography introduces the Chinese-American artist and designer Maya Lin, best known for her architectural plan for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Lin, the child of a ceramic artist and a poet who “had fled China at a time when people were told…how to think,” spends hours as a child playing in the nearby woods and building miniature towns of “paper and scraps.” Lin is in her last year of college when she enters a competition to design a proposed memorial to Vietnam War veterans, to be built on the National Mall. The design had to include the 58,000 names of those soldiers who had died in Vietnam. Lin’s design was chosen in the anonymous competition but was not without controversy when her name was revealed. The illustration of the completed memorial focuses on the wall and Lin’s original concept, built into the earth, rising and falling with the landscape, rather than the compromised result, with statues representing soldiers. Phumiruk’s clean-lined, crisp illustrations, done in Photoshop, and light palette emphasize connections between Lin’s concepts and the strong influences of nature on Lin’s art. The margins of the page containing Harvey’s author’s note about Lin’s work are filled with artists’ and architects’ tools, neatly labeled: ink pens, blueprints, pastels. Harvey provides websites for further information but no specific sources for her work.

Overall, a fine celebration of a renowned woman artist. (Picture book/biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-11249-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared.

IMAGINE

Former Poet Laureate Herrera encourages his young readers to imagine all they might be in his new picture book.

Herrera’s free verse tells his own story, starting as a young boy who loves the plants and animals he finds outdoors in the California fields and is then thrust into the barren, concrete city. In the city he begins to learn to read and write, learning English and discovering a love for words and the way ink flows “like tiny rivers” across the page as he applies pen to paper. Words soon become sentences, poems, lyrics, and a means of escape. This love of the word ultimately leads him to make writing his vocation and to become the first Chicano Poet Laureate of the United States, an honor Herrera received in 2015. Through this story of hardship to success, expressed in a series of conditional statements that all begin “If I,” Herrera implores his readers to “imagine what you could do.” Castillo’s ink and foam monoprint illustrations are a tender accompaniment to Herrera’s verse, the black lines of her illustrations flowing across the page in rhythm with the author’s poetry. Together this makes for a charming read-aloud for groups or a child snuggled in a lap.

A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared. (Picture book/memoir. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9052-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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A resplendent masterpiece.

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DREAMERS

Based on her experience of leaving Mexico for the United States, Morales’ latest offers an immigrant’s tale steeped in hope, dreams, and love.

This story begins with a union between mother and son, with arms outstretched in the midst of a new beginning. Soon after, mother and son step on a bridge, expansive “like the universe,” to cross to the other side, to become immigrants. An ethereal city appears, enfolded in fog. The brown-skinned woman and her child walk through this strange new land, unwilling to speak, unaccustomed to “words unlike those of our ancestors.” But soon their journey takes them to the most marvelous of places: the library. In a series of stunning double-page spreads, Morales fully captures the sheer bliss of discovery as their imaginations take flight. The vibrant, surreal mixed-media artwork, including Mexican fabric, metal sheets, “the comal where I grill my quesadillas,” childhood drawings, and leaves and plants, represents a spectacular culmination of the author’s work thus far. Presented in both English and Spanish editions (the latter in Teresa Mlawer’s translation), equal in evocative language, the text moves with purpose. No word is unnecessary, each a deliberate steppingstone onto the next. Details in the art provide cultural markers specific to the U.S., but the story ultimately belongs to one immigrant mother and her son. Thanks to books and stories (some of her favorites are appended), the pair find their voices as “soñadores of the world.”

A resplendent masterpiece. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4055-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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