A superior telling of Yousafzai’s life and work thus far.

MALALA YOUSAFZAI

WARRIOR WITH WORDS

This detailed picture book celebrating Malala Yousafzai shows how she has used her position in the global spotlight to advocate for children’s rights.

The story opens with Yousafzai’s speech at the U.N. in 2013: “Our words can change the world.” It then moves back in time to ask, “Where did Malala learn that her voice and words could change the world?” With a beautiful collage of green land rising to purple and white mountaintops, her upbringing in the Swat Valley of Pakistan is described as nourishing and happy, with a strong family unit. Her words from the blog the BBC began to host in 2009 appear, as do words from her later writings, to describe life under Taliban rule. The latter are pictured as rows and crowds of men in baggy shalwar kameez with scarves tied around their faces and dark holes for eyes. Her family’s brief move out of Swat is included, as is her National Youth Peace Prize awarded in Pakistan, details that show both the devastation within Pakistan and her own country’s appreciation of her work. The text appears on ruled notebook paper, and paper-and-fabric–collage artwork alternates between focusing on Yousafzai and crowd scenes that show her impact. The cloudy black around the eyes on some faces may be a bit distracting, but the illustrations work well overall, with strong use of color and shadow to convey emotion and energy. A Spanish version is available as well, in a translation by Eida de la Vega. An earlier version of the text was published under the same title in 2014 with illustrations by L.C. Wheatley.

A superior telling of Yousafzai’s life and work thus far. (historical notes, activist resources, sources) (Picture book/biography. 5-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62014-838-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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 Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

more