A stellar introduction to an important and ongoing social issue.

Winter focuses on Mother Jones’ Children’s Crusade to introduce young readers to the history of protests against child labor.

“My name is Mother Jones and I’m MAD. And you’d be MAD, too, if you’d seen what I’ve seen.” Thus begins Mother Jones’ first-person narrative about her long career fighting child labor practices in the early 20th century. The first pages depict Mother Jones in front of smoky factories, in West Virginia coal mines, and in Philadelphia fabric mills, where white and brown children toil “for TEN HOURS STRAIGHT.” Her anger at what she saw led Mother Jones to organize the central event of the volume, a children’s march from Philadelphia to New York City to dramatize the plight of child laborers. The march proved unsuccessful, but was it a failure? “HECK, NO!” Mother Jones assures readers. But Winter is careful to have Mother Jones state on the penultimate page that “the wheels of justice grind slowly” and that it took 40 more years of work to get laws changed. His protagonist/subject speaks with fervor in a folksy idiom with the occasional dropped G and a great many capital letters. Carpenter depicts Jones as an apple-cheeked, silver-haired white woman in full-length black dress, white lace collar, and an aura of indestructibility. There is racial diversity among both child marchers and onlookers.

A stellar introduction to an important and ongoing social issue. (author’s note, photographs, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-449-81291-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019


Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses.

An NBA star pays tribute to the influence of his grandfather.

In the same vein as his Long Shot (2009), illustrated by Frank Morrison, this latest from Paul prioritizes values and character: “My granddad Papa Chilly had dreams that came true,” he writes, “so maybe if I listen and watch him, / mine will too.” So it is that the wide-eyed Black child in the simply drawn illustrations rises early to get to the playground hoops before anyone else, watches his elder working hard and respecting others, hears him cheering along with the rest of the family from the stands during games, and recalls in a prose afterword that his grandfather wasn’t one to lecture but taught by example. Paul mentions in both the text and the backmatter that Papa Chilly was the first African American to own a service station in North Carolina (his presumed dream) but not that he was killed in a robbery, which has the effect of keeping the overall tone positive and the instructional content one-dimensional. Figures in the pictures are mostly dark-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-81003-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022


A picture book more than worthy of sharing the shelf with Alan Schroeder and Jerry Pinkney’s Minty (1996) and Carole Boston...

A memorable, lyrical reverse-chronological walk through the life of an American icon.

In free verse, Cline-Ransome narrates the life of Harriet Tubman, starting and ending with a train ride Tubman takes as an old woman. “But before wrinkles formed / and her eyes failed,” Tubman could walk tirelessly under a starlit sky. Cline-Ransome then describes the array of roles Tubman played throughout her life, including suffragist, abolitionist, Union spy, and conductor on the Underground Railroad. By framing the story around a literal train ride, the Ransomes juxtapose the privilege of traveling by rail against Harriet’s earlier modes of travel, when she repeatedly ran for her life. Racism still abounds, however, for she rides in a segregated train. While the text introduces readers to the details of Tubman’s life, Ransome’s use of watercolor—such a striking departure from his oil illustrations in many of his other picture books—reveals Tubman’s humanity, determination, drive, and hope. Ransome’s lavishly detailed and expansive double-page spreads situate young readers in each time and place as the text takes them further into the past.

A picture book more than worthy of sharing the shelf with Alan Schroeder and Jerry Pinkney’s Minty (1996) and Carole Boston Weatherford and Kadir Nelson’s Moses (2006). (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2047-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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