Captures the excitement of space travel while creating a warm portrait of an innovative explorer.

READ REVIEW

FLY HIGH, JOHN GLENN

THE STORY OF AN AMERICAN HERO

What makes a hero?

This lively and informative selection presents a thorough overview of Glenn’s life: his childhood; attempts to learn to fly; support from his wife, Annie, who herself dealt with stuttering and became a speech pathologist; the thousands of flying hours he clocked; military service during World War II; life as an astronaut; subsequent political career; and flight at age 77 as the oldest man to fly in space. With all this, Krull focuses on his accomplishments as an astronaut, in particular on his Project Mercury mission on the Friendship 7, when he became the first American to orbit the Earth during the United States' space race with the former Soviet Union. The energetic text thoroughly describes Glenn’s experiences while flying while realistic, sweeping oils offer a sense of space and capture some of the bliss Glenn must have experienced. Tales of his less-than-successful endeavors (his failed presidential bid, for example) are not mentioned, which seems a lost opportunity to discuss how setbacks are an inevitable part of success. Regardless, this vivid portrayal is full of exhilaration and suspense and will doubtlessly create new fans and inspire or increase a love of space exploration.

Captures the excitement of space travel while creating a warm portrait of an innovative explorer. (timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-274714-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments.

SUPERHEROES ARE EVERYWHERE

The junior senator from California introduces family and friends as everyday superheroes.

The endpapers are covered with cascades of, mostly, early childhood snapshots (“This is me contemplating the future”—caregivers of toddlers will recognize that abstracted look). In between, Harris introduces heroes in her life who have shaped her character: her mom and dad, whose superpowers were, respectively, to make her feel special and brave; an older neighbor known for her kindness; grandparents in India and Jamaica who “[stood] up for what’s right” (albeit in unspecified ways); other relatives and a teacher who opened her awareness to a wider world; and finally iconic figures such as Thurgood Marshall and Constance Baker Motley who “protected people by using the power of words and ideas” and whose examples inspired her to become a lawyer. “Heroes are…YOU!” she concludes, closing with a bulleted Hero Code and a timeline of her legal and political career that ends with her 2017 swearing-in as senator. In group scenes, some of the figures in the bright, simplistic digital illustrations have Asian features, some are in wheelchairs, nearly all are people of color. Almost all are smiling or grinning. Roe provides everyone identified as a role model with a cape and poses the author, who is seen at different ages wearing an identifying heart pin or decoration, next to each.

Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments. (Picture book/memoir. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-984837-49-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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An inspiring introduction to the young Nobel Peace Prize winner and a useful conversation starter

MALALA'S MAGIC PENCIL

The latest of many picture books about the young heroine from Pakistan, this one is narrated by Malala herself, with a frame that is accessible to young readers.

Malala introduces her story using a television show she used to watch about a boy with a magic pencil that he used to get himself and his friends out of trouble. Readers can easily follow Malala through her own discovery of troubles in her beloved home village, such as other children not attending school and soldiers taking over the village. Watercolor-and-ink illustrations give a strong sense of setting, while gold ink designs overlay Malala’s hopes onto her often dreary reality. The story makes clear Malala’s motivations for taking up the pen to tell the world about the hardships in her village and only alludes to the attempt on her life, with a black page (“the dangerous men tried to silence me. / But they failed”) and a hospital bracelet on her wrist the only hints of the harm that came to her. Crowds with signs join her call before she is shown giving her famous speech before the United Nations. Toward the end of the book, adult readers may need to help children understand Malala’s “work,” but the message of holding fast to courage and working together is powerful and clear.

An inspiring introduction to the young Nobel Peace Prize winner and a useful conversation starter . (Picture book/memoir. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-31957-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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