A fun read and an uplifting story.

READ REVIEW

THE GIRL WITH A MIND FOR MATH

THE STORY OF RAYE MONTAGUE

From the Amazing Scientists series

The true story of an African-American woman who broke barriers by reaching her potential as an engineer.

When Raye Montague saw a submarine at age 7 and learned that an engineer had built it, she found her calling. Her mother told her to stay strong and not let those who looked down on her because of her race and her gender hold her back. She attended segregated schools, and in college she was told that engineering was not taught to black students, so she majored in business. She became a typist in a place where they built submarines, and although her boss underestimated her, Raye paid attention at work and took classes at night. When the flu had most of the staff out sick, Raye did the engineers’ work “from MEMORY.” She got promoted and went on to design the first ship by computer. It was not all smooth sailing, though; only white men were invited to the unveiling of the ship she had designed, and she was still treated with disrespect. The use of perspective and artful composition in the simple illustrations conveys Montague’s isolation and her determination. The text, in light rhyming verse, condemns the unfair treatment she received (“No invite?! / ABHORRIBLE!”)—a great model for building awareness of racism and solid inspiration for achieving against the odds. The author interviewed Montague for her research, and further information culled from the conversation appears in the backmatter.

A fun read and an uplifting story. (timeline, biographical note, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-943147-42-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: The Innovation Press

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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Sage, soothing ideas for a busy, loud, sometimes-divisive world.

GRANDMA'S GARDENS

In an inviting picture book, Chelsea and Hillary Clinton share personal revelations on how gardening with a grandmother, a mother, and children shapes and nurtures a love and respect for nature, beauty, and a general philosophy for life.

Grandma Dorothy, the former senator, secretary of state, and presidential candidate’s mother, loved gardens, appreciating the multiple benefits they yielded for herself and her family. The Clinton women reminisce about their beloved forebear and all she taught them in a color-coded, alternating text, blue for Chelsea and green for Hillary. Via brief yet explicit remembrances, they share what they learned, observed, and most of all enjoyed in gardens with her. Each double-page spread culminates in a declarative statement set in italicized red text invoking Dorothy’s wise words. Gardens can be many things: places for celebration, discovery and learning, vehicles for teaching responsibility in creating beauty, home to wildlife large and small, a place to share stories and develop memories. Though operating from very personal experience rooted in class privilege, the mother-daughter duo mostly succeeds in imparting a universally significant message: Whether visiting a public garden or working in the backyard, generations can cultivate a lasting bond. Lemniscates uses an appropriately floral palette to evoke the gardens explored by these three white women. A Spanish edition, Los jardines de la abuela, publishes simultaneously; Teresa Mlawer’s translation is fluid and pleasing, in at least one case improving on the original.

Sage, soothing ideas for a busy, loud, sometimes-divisive world. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-11535-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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Blandly laudatory.

I AM WALT DISNEY

From the Ordinary People Change the World series

The iconic animator introduces young readers to each “happy place” in his life.

The tally begins with his childhood home in Marceline, Missouri, and climaxes with Disneyland (carefully designed to be “the happiest place on Earth”), but the account really centers on finding his true happy place, not on a map but in drawing. In sketching out his early flubs and later rocket to the top, the fictive narrator gives Ub Iwerks and other Disney studio workers a nod (leaving his labor disputes with them unmentioned) and squeezes in quick references to his animated films, from Steamboat Willie to Winnie the Pooh (sans Fantasia and Song of the South). Eliopoulos incorporates stills from the films into his cartoon illustrations and, characteristically for this series, depicts Disney as a caricature, trademark mustache in place on outsized head even in childhood years and child sized even as an adult. Human figures default to white, with occasional people of color in crowd scenes and (ahistorically) in the animation studio. One unidentified animator builds up the role-modeling with an observation that Walt and Mickey were really the same (“Both fearless; both resourceful”). An assertion toward the end—“So when do you stop being a child? When you stop dreaming”—muddles the overall follow-your-bliss message. A timeline to the EPCOT Center’s 1982 opening offers photos of the man with select associates, rodent and otherwise. An additional series entry, I Am Marie Curie, publishes simultaneously, featuring a gowned, toddler-sized version of the groundbreaking physicist accepting her two Nobel prizes.

Blandly laudatory. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2875-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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