This book belongs in any child’s hands.

Celebrates the lives of 40 women who hail from all over Latin America and from the United States and who dreamed big and worked hard to follow their passion.

They are presented in chronological order, starting in 1651 with writer and philosopher Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz from Mexico and concluding with present-day U.S. Olympic gymnast Lauren Zoe Hernandez. Young readers will find artists, writers, poets, singers, musicians, dancers, engineers, astronauts, scientists, activists, a soccer star, a spy, and a Supreme Court justice, among others. The women represent different nationalities, ethnicities, races, cultural, and economic backgrounds, and life paths followed, but they are all highly successful role models that will inspire young children to follow their own dreams. Each minibiography appears in a double-page spread, with a charming illustration on the verso and the text on the recto. Capturing some essential quality for each person, the earth-toned, contemporary-feeling graphic illustrations have a folk-art sensibility. The biographies are meant to provide but a glimpse into the life of each person. The author thoughtfully connects with her reading audience by including childhood events and influences that sparked lifelong pursuits—hence the diminutive used in the title of the book. A further 10 women are introduced in the backmatter, with a small portrait and sentence of explanation. There is a sprinkling of Spanish words throughout the text; though there is no glossary included, readers unfamiliar with the language should have no problem understanding.

This book belongs in any child’s hands. (selected sources) (Collective biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-23462-9

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Godwin Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020



It’s an often-told story, but the author is still in a position to give it a unique perspective.

The author of Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America (2004) tells her father’s tale again, for younger readers.

Though using a less personal tone this time and referring to herself in the third person, Robinson still devotes as much attention to his family life, youth and post-baseball career as she does to his achievements on the field. Writing in short sentences and simple language, she presents a clear picture of the era’s racial attitudes and the pressures he faced both in the military service and in baseball—offering plenty of clear reasons to regard him not just as a champion athlete, but as a hero too. An early remark about how he ran with “a bunch of black, Japanese, and Mexican boys” while growing up in Pasadena is insensitively phrased, and a sweeping claim that by 1949 “[t]he racial tension was broken” in baseball is simplistic. Nevertheless, by and large her account covers the bases adequately. The many photos include an admixture of family snapshots, and a closing Q-and-A allows the author to announce the imminent release of a new feature film about Robinson.

It’s an often-told story, but the author is still in a position to give it a unique perspective. (Biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-54006-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013



A squeaky-clean biography of the original Mouseketeer.

Scollon begins with the (to say the least) arguable claim that Disney grew up to “define and shape what would come to be known as the American Century.” Following this, he retraces Disney’s life and career, characterizing him as a visionary whose only real setbacks came from excess ambition or at the hands of unscrupulous film distributors. Disney’s brother Roy appears repeatedly to switch between roles as encourager and lead doubter, but except in chapters covering his childhood, the rest of his family only puts in occasional cameos. Unsurprisingly, there is no mention of Disney’s post–World War II redbaiting, and his most controversial film, Song of the South, gets only a single reference (and that with a positive slant). More puzzling is the absence of Mary Poppins from the tally of Disney triumphs. Still, readers will come away with a good general picture of the filmmaking and animation techniques that Disney pioneered, as well as a highlight history of his studio, television work and amusement parks. Discussion questions are appended: “What do you think were Walt Disney’s greatest accomplishments and why?” Brown’s illustrations not seen. An iconic success story that has often been told before but rarely so one-dimensionally or with such firm adherence to the company line. (bibliography) (Biography. 8-10)


Pub Date: July 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9647-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Disney Press

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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