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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This well-told and exquisitely illustrated story of a musician with a steep career trajectory will inspire young readers to...

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  • Caldecott Honor Book

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TROMBONE SHORTY

An autobiographical tale of a young man who started making “musical gumbo” at age 4.

Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews relates how he grew up in Tremé in New Orleans, American’s oldest black neighborhood, where he heard music everywhere. Young Troy admires his big brother’s trumpet playing and makes music without instruments with his friends. After finding a discarded trombone, the little boy teaches himself to play. Troy narrates: “I was so small that sometimes I fell right over…because it was so heavy.” (Despite Collier’s illustrations of young “Shorty,” nothing prepares readers for his size in the parade photograph in the backmatter.) When Bo Diddley hears him playing in the crowd at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the jazz great invites him to the stage. An author’s note explains that Troy started a band at age 6 and joined Lenny Kravitz’s band at 19. Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, his band, tours the world, and Troy shares New Orleans music and culture through his foundation and music academy. Employing his unmistakable mixed-media collage images, Collier portrays the story of this living legend with energy and style, making visible the swirling sounds of jazz.

This well-told and exquisitely illustrated story of a musician with a steep career trajectory will inspire young readers to pursue their passions, despite the challenges. (illustrator’s note) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4197-1465-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2015

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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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